As I was writing the #russiabynatives post about parenting in Russia, I got myself thinking about self-image - in particular, what kind of self-image children in Russia form.
When I first went to school, I had barely any self-image, but even then I knew that I should work my ass off to please people around me, or my work is useless. If I fail at something, it's my fault, I should be ashamed of my effort and of the decisions and thoughts that led to this point, no matter how close to succeeding I was.
Then I got to see other people, and pieces started to fall apart. I don't remember exactly what started the process, but I was starting to slowly realize that... maybe other people don't blame themselves for failures - or, not as much as I do. Maybe, even though they know they may be at fault, people don't take it to heart and let those mistakes define them or shame them into changing or working harder. Maybe other people actually have a certain base of personality that they rely on that tells them they may not be perfect, but they certainly aren't the worst if they made Mommy sad.
The lack of self-image early on is something that still echoes in my life, so clearly, it is important that children form an idea of themselves the earlier to better.
What kind of self-image did you have growing up? What parental actions made that self-image for you? Was there something specific, or was it a constant presence of something?
I had a pretty non-existent self image at least consciously. I always found it really weird when people would talk about the kind of internal dialogue they have going on surrounding self image. Realistically I have a negative self image but I don't really identify with the self loathing part so people always assume it's great. For example I've never connected with those girls who always have to have their make up done or freak out over a less than perfect picture yet my self esteem isn't really that much higher than theirs. I don't have much confidence in groups but I've never actually consciously avoided them. I have crazy problems with self doubt but I step into roles all the time that I normally doubt myself over. I've gathered that I'm like this because although I have a crappy self-image I'm very disconnected from my self and therefore self-image.
I remember being bullied for a short amount of time when I was younger, at the time it never seemed like it bothered me so I decided that maybe I just didn't have the attention span for this. Even the bullying that did bother me didn't bother me in a conscious way. Like other people would think "I'm going to avoid this situation" where as I'm pretty sure if it was a cube that shocked me I would keep picking it up. The mind is freakishly capable at protecting us.