Morpheus : You said it yourself, you act a certain way because of your upbringing, so do others to an extent.
Before seeing the differences, see the common denominators of all behaviour.
Survival and reproduction.
Now see how upbringing affect the ways people act to 'achieve' these.
From the guy who lowers his head on the telephone (in your recent history if I recall) to EVERY behaviour, it is linked to these two aspects, and how their upbringings influence people to achieve those (well my father taught me to be nice to women so that I could have them, so the opposite and reverse must be true : If someone acts a certain way, we can deduce how he was educated, what he believes).
I'm not different from others, maybe you are, but I know my beliefs influence my actions (or non actions), and my beliefs were 'created' / reinforced / pushed onto me by my parents, school, comrades, all those I gave credit (firstly because I had to to survive, but now, why do I still listen to other people ?)
If you know WHY you act a certain way, why do you say you struggle to understand others ?
Different beliefs cause different actions.
What you speak of makes it sounds like your saying self-esteem is nothing more than a mirage of the ego. Am I in the stadium with that statement? If that's the case then what Moose was writing of speaks larger volume.
If I have to define what 'self-esteem' is for me, I would say that I stopped trying to define what it is.
I am what (big, skinny, dumb, smart, ...) I am.
What I could change ? I changed. What I couldn't ? I accepted it (because IT IS THE ONLY THING YOU CAN DO).
See Sniper's recollection of relevant posts dealing with 'the problem' (forgot to look for it yesterday)
I agree with moose (even though I don't remember having done this), you simplify (going deeper and deeper to see the root cause) the problem, and see what you can do about it.
What I said is that Self-Esteem is 'something' that nobody can give. (or it wouldn't be self-esteem, it would be esteem of the others, and what others give, others can take away)
Do you agree you're the only one influencing your self-esteem ?
So in your opinion (I don't want answers, just you ask the questions to yourself), why do everyone link their self-esteem on others (things they own, opinions of others, what they have accomplished ...) ?
If you don't link it to something 'tangible' (things you can 'see' (beautiful car outside), 'hear' (compliments of beautiful women), 'taste' (nuf said), 'smell', 'touch'), on what do you link it ?
I realize that me answering may be confusing.
I only have one question :
WHY DO YOU ASK OTHERS HOW TO INCREASE YOUR SELF-ESTEEM ?