This month we turn our attention to the issue of self-esteem. So many people have grown up wounded and hurt and are searching for a sense of self-esteem. Failures, past hurts, rejections, challenges, and criticisms from others have caused all of us at one time or another to doubt ourselves. This doubt leaves many with deep feelings of inferiority and a sense of inadequacy and many question their value and significance to God, the church, their families and to society. Those with low self-esteem allow other’s desires to take preference over theirs. The result includes inner criticism — that nagging, annoying voice of disapproval inside that causes one to stumble at every challenge. On the other hand, self-esteem increases your confidence. Building healthy self-esteem can help to improve one’s relationships, happiness, and personal performance whether at home or in church.
A twelve-step process has been developed by David E. Carlson entitled Counseling and Self-Esteem* which is designed to help people build their self-esteem. Due to space restrictions, I will only introduce 8 of the 12 steps in this two-part series.
1. Acknowledge The Problems Low Self-Esteem Produces. Low self-esteem develops because of what others say to us, how others look at us, what others feel toward us, and how others act toward us. These responses shape our own views, feelings, and behavior toward ourselves. Some of the common problems of low self-esteem are guilt, over-sensitivity to criticism, shyness, blaming others, embarrassment, etc. While this is not an exhaustive list, keep in mind that all people with low self-esteem do not necessarily exhibit them all.
2. Believe that Loving Yourself Is Acceptable to God. Self-love is not selfishness; self-affirmation is not self-conceit; self worth is not self-worship; self-awareness is not self-absorption; humility is not humiliation; putting off one’s sinful self is not putting oneself down; self-denial is not self-degradation; and unworthiness is not worthlessness. Self-love is the result of surrendering one’s narcissism (“I am the center of my world”) and accepting oneself as a reflection of God’s image. A biblical basis for believing that loving yourself is acceptable to God is found in Matthew 22:39 “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
3. Believe God Chooses to Need You. Does God need people? God chooses to use people to be part of his redemption plan. Although this may sound heretical, because God is self-sufficient, yet he has chosen to involve humans in the process of making Himself known to the world. This is not only exciting but also awesome. We are the physical representations of God to the world. When they see us, they see the place where God dwells. This is a sobering thought especially when we consider that what we say and do reflects the God who lives in us. Yet this truth gives all of us who believe in Him significance. Affirmation that God chooses humans to do his redemptive work is found in the Sermon on the Mount: “Ye are the salt of the earth…You are the light of the world” (Matthew 5:13, 14). Accepting oneself as part of God’s redemptive plan is a crucial step in the process of developing a healthy self-esteem.
*David E. Carlson, Counseling and Self-Esteem, Vol. 13, (Word, Inc., 1988).
Next Month: Building Healthy Self-Esteem (Part 2)
The writer does not assume responsibility in any way for readers’ efforts to apply or utilize information or recommendations made in these articles, as they may not be necessarily appropriate for every situation to which they may refer. Rather, the objective is strictly informative and educational. If you would like to contact Rev. Lester, write to her c/o Fellowship of Love M.B.C. at P.O. Box 121, Brookfield, WI. 53008.
August 19, 2012 //
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