We’ve all had our self esteem touched on, haven’t we?
Simply put, self-esteem is how you see yourself, think of yourself, and feel about yourself.
At some point in our lives, we’ve had our identity tampered with, either by our parents, siblings, friends or our favorite celebrities, to mention a few. (If your self-esteem has never been touched on, lucky you!!)
I mean… the “identity battle”, whether visible or not, is real!
How do you even keep your shoulders high in a society that makes you believe that you have to look or behave in a specific way, possess some certain things, become wealthy at a certain age, before you can live a fulfilled life or even be accepted. How?
It takes the conviction of your identity in Christ which is independent of any factor and a conscious and consistent reminder of that identity.
Wait a minute, Can we be honest with ourselves? Many factors are capable of making us lose sight of our identity and it’s quite logical and easier to hide our weaknesses when we don’t meet up to a particular standard (right?)
But… trying to be perfect by hiding our weaknesses will drastically lower our self-esteem and leave us without room to work on them and bring the beauty out of them.
See, don’t be deceived. Everyone has their weaknesses and no one is perfect; most people have mastered the art of concealing them and just a few have taken the courage to refurbish them.
One thing I really dislike about low self-esteem is that it makes us walk (and work) with our heads down and the bitter truth is, we can’t reach our full potential and be who God has made us with our heads down.
Now, tell me… Have you ever seen anybody climb a ladder with their heads down?
The answer is obviously “No”
The truth is,You may be suffering from a low self-esteem due to the words said to you (especially by people close to your heart) while growing up, your past/current failures and mistakes, your inability to meet up to a particular standard, your lack of contentment, comparison, unrealistic expectations, lack of the knowledge and conviction of your identity in Christ and (tell yourself the truth _fill the gap!)
And if you don’t take the courage to accept and deal with your esteem issues now, you may end up obsessed with how people view you, and allow your past experiences or the “what if” and “I don’t think I can” syndrome become an invisible chain that keeps pulling you back whenever you want to take any step for growth!
I hope you won’t find it surprising that, “Older adults”, including parents, battle with low self-esteem. Some parents unknowingly suffer from low self-esteem due to societal or economical pressure and may probably not know how to do handle it and as a result, they transfer (consciously or not) the traits and insecurities that come with having a low self-esteem to their kids
Our parents and the people in our inner circle are loving, right? But in the process of trying to make us better, they unconsciously hurt our emotions. It’s either because of the way they were brought up or the external pressures that are affecting their self-esteem.
Permit me to elucidate the just stated point (above) with a personal experience…
While growing up, my mum and I used to have issues. She called me names that hurt my feelings so bad; she would say she trusted me and at the same time, say she didn’t. What a paradox! Looking back now, I know that she really loved me (and still does), but she communicated that love in a way that wasn’t too good. I can see things through her lens now and I understand that she was made to see life in a certain way that hurt her and she unconsciously transferred the hurt to me. She didn’t have to ask for my forgiveness before I forgave her. The knowledge of who I am in Christ and my ‘non-judgmental’ attitude made me glean wisdom from this experience and also made me see things from a different perspective. My mum and I are buddies now because I’ve learned to forgive, to let go and to see things from different perspectives.
I know, because I’ve been there, that words said hurt a lot but holding on to the words said and refusing to let go hurts more. You should learn to see things from different perspectives and forgive even without being asked to because holding on the hurt/the (denigrating) words said does more harm than good.
How do you deal with low self-esteem?
I want you to know that the first and major step to overcoming low self-esteem is acceptance. Your self-esteem cannot be worked on if you do not admit that it needs to be worked on. God said: “My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness”. His grace is made perfect in the weakness that admits that it’s weak.
Secondly, you have to forgive whosoever it is, including yourself, that you think has affected your self-esteem. You may even be seeing them every day and the more you see them, the more you remember the words that were said to you, and angrier you are at yourself. Unforgiveness is a weight that slows down easily. I know it hurts, that’s why you need a greater power to let go. Forgiveness is a fruit of the Spirit, so depend on God to help you forgive whosoever it is that has hurt your feelings and see the beauty in ashes.
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, LET US STRIP OFF EVERY WEIGHT THAT SLOWS US DOWN, especially the sin that so easily hinders our progress. And let us run with endurance the race that God has set before us.” Hebrews 12:1 [NLT]
Remember : “Chasing after the poisonous snake that bites us will only drive the poison through our entire system. It is far better to take measures immediately to get the poison out” Steven Harvey
Finally, the anchor of all: your identity. If you keep defining yourself based on external factors–human and societal–your identity will keep fluctuating. Your identity shouldn’t be depend on things that change but on the Word of God that never fails. Basically, what I’m saying is that the way you see, think, and feel about yourself should be in alignment with that of Christ (the Word of God).
Please note that knowing and being convinced about your identity in Christ isn’t enough, you have to make conscious efforts to guide your self-esteem by reminding yourself of who you are in Christ Jesus. Here’s an example: whenever you have a replay of your past experiences in your mind or whenever it looks like your thoughts are going against His thoughts towards you, you should immediately declare and affirm who you are in Christ and in some cases, avoid those situations.
“The critical mistake we make isn’t usually because we have the wrong information. It’s because we engage in the wrong conversation” Steven FurtickYou should also learn to limit your relationship with some people and avoid some certain conversations
Below are some day-to-day steps on how low self-esteem be elevated
- Write out, in clear terms, what you like about yourself, boast about it(to yourself), appreciate it, and build on it. Don’t wait for people to see and affirm the beauty in you.
- Write out, in clear terms, what you don’t like about yourself, talk to God about it, brainstorm ways to provide a solution to it, and never try to hide them or pretend like they don’t exist. If you have innate conditions that you don’t like, laugh at them. Be like Nick Vujicic who says “I take pleasure in laughing at my limbless body”.
- Develop atomic habits that would make you feel better about yourself e.g letter to self, reading, exercising, giving someone a compliment, eating healthily, honing your skills.
- Avoid comparison and naysayers as much as you can _Run your race with diligence and focus..
- Try things that you were afraid to try and if you fail, be happy you tried and brainstorm ways to do it better next time.
- Be realistic when making decisions and be optimistic when facing challenges.
- Have a positive affirmation that you read out loud to yourself every day. If you don’t like your height, you can have a declaration that says “I am this tall because God wanted me to see things from a higher perspective. I am God’s choice and spec. I am beautiful in God’s eyes. Society’s definition of beauty changes but God’s definition doesn’t change”. Dress nice, Take yourself out for a treat; don’t wait for someone to do that.
- Appreciate your little wins and unfollow people or social media stars who have the proclivity to make you feel bad or “not good enough”.
- Pay attention to your emotions especially when people talk about some areas of your life and learn to manage them either by writing or by affirming who you are
- . Get rooted in the word of God. Know who God says you are. See yourself the way God sees you. Develop your relationship with God through prayer, worship, openness and bible study. Let His voice be the loudest in your ears.
Having read this article, you might have experienced a surge in your self-esteem_ which isn’t bad at all.
But before you go , let me tell you this so you won’t get disappointed
I want you to know that a high self-esteem isn’t a constant that can’t be affected or touched on_ As long as you breathe and interact with people , no matter how mature or knowledgeable you are, circumstances , people and things will always want to tamper with your identity. Those thoughts won’t stop coming but It’s your sole responsibility to fight them back with who God says you are.
The truth is, the closer you get to God through prayer and worship and hide God’s Word in your heart, the higher power you’d have to resist any thing or body that wants to tamper with your Identity _This is a principle that has really worked in my life. ( You might also need to read a personal story of how a reader and volunteer overcame low self-esteem : https://wunmithegreat.com/overcoming-low-self-esteem-the-major-challenge-)
So tell me: what steps do you need to take today to heighten your self-esteem? Who do you need to forgive? what do you need to let go?
If you happen to need more help/clarity or someone to confide in, kindly reach out to me on Instagram @wunmithegreat or send an email to me @[email protected] I honestly can’t wait to hear from you and be of help.
see you soon!
Your special friend, Wunmi😊