Thursday, September 20, 2012

Self- Esteem and God

I wrote this because it has been on my heart the last few days. I know how relevant it is and how many people (including myself) struggle with it. I am always trying to build people up, and having these thoughts combined and synthesized was helpful for me. The truth is, I did six years of college so that I would have the chance to encourage, build up, and help people draw closer to the living God. I hope this is helpful to anyone who chances to stumble across this. :) 


Not only do most people deal with self-esteem issues, it is especially a hard area for young people.  Self-esteem often plays a role in issues like depression, substance use, aggression, and anxiety. The company Dove did some research on woman and self-esteem, and found some surprising facts.
-Only 4% of woman ages 18-29 (much lower if you broaden the age range), worldwide consider themselves beautiful
-Also, it was largely found, that especially for woman, how one is treated and feels loved has an impact on how beautiful they feel (being loved was 88% of 100%)
-Their respondents felt that despite how harshly they judged themselves, that internal beauty was more important, and that there are many kinds of beauty.

I found very little research on self-esteem and boys, and I am sorry for that. It seems to be must harder to research, however, from what I did find, and have personally seen, self-esteem is definitely an issue for guys as well. While guys seem to joke a lot, there is a definite stigma and an expectation that guys feel they have to be met to be respected and worth while.
We, as Christians, believe that every person is a unique and beautiful creation of God. Everyone is worth loving and has something to give to the world. This is something we need to be communicating with those around us.

So here are four things to think about and use when helping others with self-esteem:
-First, use the Bible: There are tons of great bible verses on how much God loves us. More than that, the whole Bible really is telling a story about how God so loved each and every one of us. If God loved us enough to die to save us, we are worth Jesus own life to God, we are precious. Here are some verses you can give to a person struggling with self-esteem:
    -Psalm 139
    -Isaiah 64:8
    -1 Jn 3:1-2
    -1 Cor 6:20
These are SO important because they will help combat those things a person tells themself. Each person has beliefs and thoughts about themselves, who they are, and what they are worth, these “automatic thoughts” are constantly coming. These thoughts can be constructive or destructive. If the thoughts are constantly degrading, having scriptures ready to combat the thoughts will be instrumental in changing a person’s attitude about themself.

-Second, start with yourself. It will be hard to help someone else do something you have no done. We all have areas of ourselves that we feel weak in, but we need to give these to God. The Bible says that in our weakness, he is strong, so it is through our own lack that God can work (2 Cor. 12:9). Take some time this week to sit and think about your own self-esteem. What areas would you like to change? Can you/do you love yourself anyway? Do you believe Jesus really loves you just the way you are? Can you love yourself the way Jesus loves you? Think about what sort of images you saw as a child and thought were perfection. How do you measure up to those? Remember, self-esteem is not a one-time thing. Situations all week will lead us to question our worth, keep going back to God and letting those concerns go to Him. Ask him to help you build your self-esteem; your feelings of self-worth.

-Also, encourage health. Again, this will start with you. People who act and feel healthy tend to have much better self-esteem. Encourage being active, eating healthy, and having quality relationships with the people around them.

-Lastly, when you are talking with a person, be ready to take them the way they are. You can’t force someone to see their own worth, but they will start to see it through how you see them. Encourage them, more than just what they wear or what they do, but for who they are and the unique talents they have. If they tell you that they play basketball pretty well, be ready to compliment them as a person for being skilled, dedicated, or athletic. If they look nice, say they are a very stylish person, opposed to just telling them having a nice outfit. If they are helpful, thank them, and tell them what a cool person they are.

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