Women often suffer from low self-esteem. While their issues are perhaps more visible than men's because of their willingness to own them, there are cultural differences that contribute to this sexual disparity.
The two components of self esteem are self-efficacy and self-respect. Self-efficacy is one's feeling of being able to trouble-shoot and control one's life. Self-respect refers to one's belief in one's own self-worth and right to happiness. If either of these factors is deficient, self-esteem will suffer.
Cultural norms play a major role in eroding female self-esteem via undermining self-efficacy. Boys are encouraged to aggressively act upon the world, to take an active role in their life. Girls are more often conditioned to be nurturing and conciliatory in anticipation of future family life. The boot camp of life tends to teach and cultivate boys' power in the world. Girls don't typically have such an arena to hone their life skills, so they are more easily dominated.
Biology reinforces these roles. Feminine energy throughout nature tends to be more nurturing and conciliatory, while masculine energy tends to be more aggressive and dominant. But self-actualization is equally important to women as it is to men. Women need to learn to embrace their feminine energy while remaining true to their unique direction. By maintaining self-efficacy and therefore their self-esteem, women will be less likely to fall into the trap of co-dependent relationships.
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