I struggled with low self esteem for most of my life. When I was young, most of the feedback I got from my mother was “You could do better”. If I got a ‘B’ on my report card I was told “You could do better”. It didn’t matter what household chore: dusting, washing dishes, cleaning my room. It was always “You could do better” followed by a series of corrections. Sometimes her reaction was “Can’t you do anything right?”
The meaning I gave to these events was that “I’m not good enough”, “I can never be good enough”, “I’m stupid”, “I’m incompetent”. No wonder I had low self-esteem! It took me years to realize that the negative meanings I gave things were wrong.