The dearth of self esteem

Why are there so many people with a horribly negative self image?

I have been noticing how many beautiful people (being a single 28-year-old heterosexual man, especially noticing women!) are living a life hamstrung by their negative self-image. Sometimes that negative self-image leaves a talented, beautiful and charming artist unwilling to bless the world by letting her talents shine, instead avoiding competition and distracting herself with alcohol, drugs and sex. Other times it leaves a brilliant mind so overwhelmed with structured activity (with university, work, church, family responsibilities and volunteering in her ‘spare’ time) – being productive, but not allowing herself the time to really deal with the issues that matter – that she is left being busy to the point of exhaustion without making progress. Still other women will immerse themselves in their work, using their sense of achievement or perhaps contribution to grant themselves the vain hope that future external validation will overcome their lack of inner worth.

Men do it too… often using work, power, sex, alcohol and other drugs to distract themselves from their lack of self-acceptance. While achievement is great – and I believe that sex is an essential part of the continuation of the species – surely we are not placed upon this earth to merely exist as nodes of interaction within a complex chaotic system. Whether you believe that God created us, that we are the product of immense probabilities becoming inevitable over an infinite time period, or whatever the source, surely happiness and peace must be part of the plan.

Every spiritual path offers peace… how does our Affluenza-infested world run by psychotic corporations help us actually live a life of peace and fulfillment?

So many women long for a Mr Darcy without ever believing that they are worthy of one… though this is but a symptom of a larger problem.
(Thanks heaps for your help, Helen :D)