Self-esteem

October 23, 2014

You know what? I’m pretty great! I mean I’m good… really good. There are things I can do that few people on the planet can do. It feels good to be me. I’m sure as you look at me you probably feel the same way about me that I do. You probably want to even be me. Yeah, it’s really fulfilling to be as excellent as I am. What? Oh, did I say that out loud? Did I put that into print? Yowza! Uh… just kidding… yeah… didn’t really mean that… don’t really think that… um…

Sadly, the truth for too many of us is just the opposite of what I wrote above. We don’t feel good about ourselves at all. We wonder if there is anything we can do or any abilities that we have that cause us to be worth the skin that we lug around. Our thoughts are filled with, “I’m too heavy; I’m too skinny; I want curly hair; I want straight hair; I’m too tall; I’m too short; I wish I were more organized; I wish I was less obsessive; I wish I had accomplished ___________, then I would feel like less of a failure, etc.…” And maybe the one that haunts us all: “If people really knew me… if they knew my inmost thoughts… they would not like me at all. Heck, I don’t even like me, so how could they?”

I’m not really sure why we are plagued with feelings of self loathing in our culture. I suspect it has something to do with prosperity (though not entirely), i.e., prosperity begets more prosperity. There is always something out there that we can have that we don’t have now. That may also translate to who we are as people. “I can always (and should) be better than I am. I can never be content with who I am because there are always people paraded before me who are so great. And since I’m not getting better and different, then I am a failure at being me.” I also wonder, for those who are not “cursed” with prosperity, I suspect there is little time for self reflection and “navel gazing,” i.e., “Woe is me.”

I cannot solve this dilemma for you any more than I can solve it for myself but I have two observations. First, if we can work toward the place where we recognize that the world is not about us, we will likely be better off. The truth is the universe and all of the planets and stars do not revolve around our lives. I know right?! When we are in the midst of self hatred it’s hard to remember that there are actually things going on in the Cosmos that are probably way more important and worthy of consideration than our issues. And it’s possible – just possible – that God might be a part of that.

Second, you were formed by God before the creation of the world, with the gifts that you have. And yes, you… even you… have gifts and abilities that far exceed many around you. I don’t know about you, but I know for me it’s not a good place to be when I am complaining to God about how He created me. Just sayin…

Please understand that I know many of these issues in our lives are way more complex than I have portrayed here. For some who have been told their whole lives that they are less than adequate… well, it is a huge mountain to overcome. And simple platitudes from me or anyone else only make things worse on some level. And honestly, I am sorry and frankly somewhat angry toward those who have made you feel bad about yourself. But I would encourage you, as best you are able, to be reminded on occasion that you are deeply loved by God. So much so that He suffered and died for you. NO!!! Don’t do that! Don’t dismiss what I just said with a simple, “Yeah, I know.” GOD LOVES YOU AND DIED FOR YOU… GOD LOVES YOU AND DIED FOR YOU… GOD LOVES YOU AND DIED FOR YOU. Stop listening to those other voices in your past.

You are blessed to be loved by God. Revel in that for a while.

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