Ethics can define who you are. Before falling asleep, you will have to find a way to tell yourself that you are a good person. But there are some moral failures that are so harmful that it becomes very difficult to maintain your self-esteem.

Betraying Someone You Love

“Love” is defined by social psychologist Robert Sternberg as the intersection between commitment, intimacy, and passion. When any one of those three elements is missing, the relationship can become unbalanced and toxic. In some cases, couples are tempted to seek outside help to fulfill emotional or physical needs, which always has a detrimental effect on relationships and self-esteem.

Infidelity is more than just sharing sexual experiences outside of marriage. There are subtler forms of infidelity that can be every bit as detrimental to your relationships, your confidence, and your sense of self-worth. Especially common is financial infidelity, where one spouse spends money outside of the agreed budget, either without considering the other spouses feelings, or sometimes to spite those feelings. Other destructive forms of disloyalty include digital infidelity, family infidelity, and emotional infidelity. All of these should be avoided – no – even the appearance of these should be avoided at all costs.

Avoiding Responsibility

Facing up to our mistakes is uncomfortable 100% of the time, so we can all understand the motivation behind coping mechanisms such as blaming and making excuses. However, we know in our very souls when we are being dishonest about fault. Taking ownership of our situation (even extreme ownership, as taught by the US Navy Seals) empowers us to take the driver’s seat on the road of our lives. I’m not going to pretend this is easy; it could be the hardest thing you ever do. It may require making a painful apology, turning yourself in for a DUI or a hit and run, admitting failures to loved ones, or other distasteful consequences. However, owning up to your responsibilities is an indispensable element in building self-esteem.

Temper Tantrums

The current generation (and I would argue every generation since and including Gen X) has developed a reputation for infantile personality. When emotional fragility is coupled with a deep sense of entitlement, the result are ugly temper tantrums. Your confidence in your ability to work or have relationships will be compromised. There is a concept known as emotional maturity, which includes the ability to delay pleasure, resilience in the face of opposition and adversity, the ability to receive criticism, and acceptance of circumstances when things don’t go your way. Sadly, failed parenting strategies have emotionally crippled much of western society, but it’s never too late to learn and to grow, and – in this case – to grow up.

Neglecting Parental Responsibilities

Children put their trust into their parents. A parent can sometimes betray that trust. It can be a betrayal as simple as missing a soccer game or saying a few harsh words. Even more common in the digital age is overuse of digital technology – not by tech-addicted teens, but by their tech-addicted parents! If you have had a few too many of these incidents, it could have damaged your most important relationship. But children are usually open to reconciling with parents. If you make the effort and keep your promises, it can be restored.

Failing To Trust Your Spouse

Emotions can be helpful. But when they are abused, they can distort your judgment. As a spouse, you might become too jealous to see things clearly. This will make you question your own instincts and thoughts. But as your marriage progresses, you will harbor trust for one another.

These moral failures should not be downplayed. But there are ways to mitigate the damage and prevent future shortcomings.

Author's Bio: 

Rachael Murphey is an entrepreneur and blogger on topics of personal success, fashion, business, marketing, personal finance, and health. She graduated from the University of Colorado Boulder with her Associates in English, and from the University of Colorado Denver with her Bachelors in Business Management. She currently lives in Denver with her dog Charlie.