Ramblings on Self-Esteem
Self – Esteem comes from honoring your healing journey. For most, healing is a process, and I say a journey because we often go through peaks and valleys and there are many learning experiences along the way ….
My life is not perfect. I make a lot of mistakes. Sometimes, I stumble and fall. God’s Word tells us we all fall short … “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). I am a work in progress, as we all are. It requires courage to continue on the path daily. And when I remember that simple fact, I am better for the experience.
It’s easy to start on a path of change to healing and geeting well, and get so busy doing what we need to do that we forget to pause, breathe, and acknowledge the effort we’ve already made, and most importantly, how far God has brought us thus far. We forget to honor our healing journey …. Every day that we do not repeat our mistakes, suffer from crippling anxiety or fear, or listen to the accusing voices within our heads, we have made progress on our journey, therefore we have achieved some manner of growth, and our self-esteem should receive a boost knowing that God is working in our lives ….
There are times when I have to be reminded to do for myself what I do for others. Encourage myself, and pray for myself ….
The other day, a friend caught me putting myself down for some work I put into a project I was working on because it wasn’t done perfectly. When she asked how it was coming along, I said, “I can’t seem to do anything right … it’s just horrible.” And I then spent ten minutes – which was as long as she could tolerate my ranting – downplaying the work I had achieved so far. She couldn’t believe she was listening to me. She responded with, “how can you think so lowly of yourself… Can’t you see what God is doing through you? ” And how right she was. I needed to be reminded at that moment in time. And after our conversation, I went to pray and thank Him …
Healing is hard work. It takes great effort to stay on a path that leads to purposeful self-discovery. It takes energy ~ persistent energy ~ to be an active participant in the healing of our lives. A healing path requires having the courage to shine a light or allow a light to shine on parts of ourselves that we’d rather keep private. It means having the courage to see the work that still needs to be done. Honoring our healing journey invites us to appreciate the effort that has been made by our Master’s hand, and ever be mindful not to callously fall back into negative thought processes. We are not victims. We are all warriors. It is important to allow healing, but just as important to remember to honor the journey we have already walked in achieving that healing ….
Self-esteem is really a spiritual discipline that is based upon a spiritual principal that we ought to adapt. Of all the judgments we pass in life, none is more important than the judgment we pass on ourselves: it touches the very core of our existence. I think some part of us knows this. We should know and understand that more fateful by far than what others think of us, or what we think of ourselves, is what God thinks of us ….
Self-esteem is sometimes used interchangeably with the word self-image, which is unfortunate, because the concept is much deeper than any “image” we might have of ourselves. Self-esteem is a particular way of experiencing the self. It is more complex than any mental picture of ourselves, because our responses to other people, to the challenges we face in life; at work, to the sight of suffering or beauty, or simply to the atrocities and unfairness of life are all affected by our deepest sense of who and what we think we are, what we are capable of, and what we think we deserve.
What we tell ourselves about our self-esteem, and what it actually is, may be quite different. It may please us to believe that our self-esteem is relatively high when in fact it is seriously troubled. Nothing is more common than to deny or avoid our fears and self-doubts, thereby preventing them from ever being resolved. If I am willing fully to confront my self-esteem problems, to face and accept reality, I create the possibility of change and growth. If I deny my problems, I sentence myself to being stuck in the very pain I wish to escape.
I do not wish to imply that if only we are willing to face our problems, solutions will always come easily; as this is not a realistic mindset. Jesus told us we would face things. He never promised the journey would be easy; only that we’d never have to walk it alone. Nonetheless, it is safe to say that the way we respond to discomfiting realities reveals a great deal about our deepest vision of who we are, and how secure or insecure we feel. It also reveals what kind of future we are likely to ensure for ourselves by what we believe He can achieve in our lives.
Just as a healthy immune system does not guarantee that one will never become ill, but makes one less vulnerable to disease and better equipped to overcome it; so a healthy self-esteem does not guarantee that one will never suffer anxiety or depression in the face of life’s difficulties, but makes one less susceptible and better equipped to cope, rebound, and we find our self-esteem in the Word of God. From a spiritual perspective, low self-esteem is a selfish state of mind. This may sound harsh, but when we’re suffering from low self-esteem, who are we thinking about? We’re always thinking about “me”….. Thoughts such as “I’m not good enough”…. “I’m not pretty enough” …. “I’m not smart enough” ….
This is self-centered instead of God-centered thinking, and the only way to break free of that trap is to get outside ourselves. The only thing that can make us feel good about ourselves and bring true self-esteem in this world is sharing; that’s the spiritual principle at work here. Sharing gets us outside ourselves and emphasizes what we have to offer others, not what we have for ourselves. What I mean by sharing is that we should be sharing the gospel, sharing our testimony, and sharing the good that God has done in our lives. When we focus on what He says about us, who He says we are, and what He says that we can do; we begin to feel better, think better, and the more we instil this into our spirit we grow, and as we share this with others and see their lives changing we feel good about ourselves. Our self- esteem grows in our own eyes, but more important it grows in others too. They see God in us and and thereby we give someone else hope….
Therefore, begin to speak life into your spirit. What the mind can conceive, the heart will believe, and then the body will achieve… God loves you. You are made perfect in His image: beautiful, smart, funny, and so much more. You are not inadequate or insufficient. What He says and what He thinks is vastly more important than what we or anyone else thinks …..