You are so pretty, so talented so smart, so ________ (go ahead, fill in the blank). No matter how much others encourage us we simply don’t see it. Somewhere in our journey, no matter how long or how short, the link has been broken, we have become in our own eyes damaged goods.
How we view ourselves molds how we think, what we do and how we do it. It’s all about our self-esteem. I’m not sure I know anyone who isn’t critical of themselves; people who seemingly have everything going for them yet they never see themselves as other see them.
I have struggled with self-esteem issues since I was very young, even though I have been able to shed most of the baggage, and really, that’s exactly what it is, tons of baggage that we have allowed someone else to burden us with. Most often it is a person close to us whose approval we desperately want. We long to be loved, to be accepted, needed, to fit in.
When we are told that we are stupid, fat, ugly, worthless _______ (again, fill in the blank) we began to act in a negative manner. We begin living “down” to the other person’s view of ourselves. I find it interesting and baffling that instead of trying to prove the negativity wrong by demonstrating the opposite behavior, we began to act out the label(s) given to us. It is not the “facts” about us but rather what we believe to be true about our self.
We began to self-destruct with alcohol, drugs, extreme anger, self-mutilation, promiscuity, over-eating, the list is endless. The more we do what we hate doing, the more we do it, and if we manage to live through the self-destruction we finally hit our bottom.
The road to recovery can be long and painful if one chooses to remain a victim. I realize that may sound harsh, but our entire life is about choices.
Two critical things which helped me enormously were forgiveness and refusing to remain a victim. I have experienced despicable things in my life and the way I responded to them nearly killed me. It took me many years to realize that all of my hate and anger was not affecting the abuser at all; instead I realized it only meant they still controlled me.
We live in a society which seems to pride itself on putting others down. Demeaning others is so out of hand that it is now referred to as bullying. Elementary kids all the way to high-school are being taunted, some to the point of suicide.
We can all make a difference and hopefully someday turn things around. We can start by carefully choosing how we speak to each other. Words are powerful and they can hurt us and do severe damage to our self-esteem. Even things said in a joking manner can scar a person. Be examples, especially in front of your children. Always try to use words that build up, not tear down and teach your children the importance of using words in an encouraging way.
May Jesus himself and God our Father, who reached out in love and surprised you with gifts of unending help and confidence, put a fresh heart in you, invigorate your work, enliven your speech.
2 Thess 2:16-17 (from THE MESSAGE)