Rising Above Low Self Esteem
by Shavonta Arline
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For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and
wonderfully made; your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
“I love you.” “You are so smart.” “You are so pretty.” “You can do and be anything you want to.” These were the words that I heard my mother tell me on an almost daily basis when I was a child. She constantly affirmed me whenever she could. Hearing words like those, one might think that I would grow up to be one of the most confident, esteemed women…but for a long time I wasn’t. You see, although my mother was always there to say kind words to me, someone else I was dying to hear them from wasn’t: my father.
The issues I had with him were two-fold. For one my father was absent physically from my life for the most part, which made me feel unwanted, as if he had other places and people he’d rather be with. For two, he never seemed to love the things about me that made me who I was: my creative side that loved to make things and sing, or my loving and caring ways towards people, which kind of reinforced his perceived desire to be away from me in my mind.
I always felt that he wanted to change me in some way. He always had a way of letting me know that someone else was doing better than me, more than me or that I just didn’t measure up, and it really damaged my sense of self-esteem. Half of me was rational and level headed when it came to the way I saw myself in some areas of my life, but the other half, the side that had to do with my value to men, was very broken.
I wanted so badly to feel like I made him proud, and because I never seemed to feel that I did, I would later look for that approval in the men I dated once I became a woman. I’m sure I don’t have to tell you how many times that didn’t work.
My story is not unique, however. There are women all over this world who, for whatever reason, struggle with not having a healthy sense of self-worth and it affects so much of their lives, from the choices they make while dating, to the way they allow people to treat them, or the way they treat themselves. Maybe you too are a woman who is battling with low self-esteem and if so, there are a few things you should know.
1.Low self-esteem was not created by God. The lies that the enemy tries to tell us about ourselves, even those that come from people who should be loving us, are just that…lies, and they are meant to tear you down, not build you up. However, that is not God’s design for your life because His promises are not built on lies. God made you, and He isn’t in the business of making any trash! He has an awesome plan for you, and He also loves you very much, so much that He was willing to send His son Jesus die for you and that’s saying a lot!
2.Low self-esteem cannot be healed through anyone or anything except God. That’s right, there is no man, no amount of money, attention, success, status or anything else in this world that can truly fix what is broken within you if you are suffering from low self-esteem. The things of this earth may distract you from your real pain for a time, but only God can permanently mend those wounds. The first step comes with us acknowledging God’s sovereign place as the Healer of our hearts and handing our pain over to Him. When we focus our attention on starting or growing a relationship with the Lord, instead of trying to fill our voids through other means, we truly set ourselves up for success!
3.It’s important to distance ourselves from those sources of negative self-image. It’s a bit cliché, but the idea that hurt people hurt people is really true a lot of times. Those people in your life who may be telling you that you aren’t worth much may be feeling that way about themselves on the inside and they superimpose their negativity onto you. Sometimes they do it on purpose and sometimes they do it because that’s the only way they know how to relate to you, perhaps someone else did the same thing to them. Although it isn’t your place to try and “fix” them, it is important to recognize them for who they are and what they are bringing to your life at this time. You should still love and pray for them but understand that it is God’s view of you, not theirs that really matters.
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Great article. I too feel that this can be applied to men. I know a man who needs to read this. I hope he can apply it to himself, and feel stronger for reading it. Thank you.
Low self esteem can happen in men too. It can negatively impact people's lives without them even being aware of it. Thanks for sharing.
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