Self-Esteem: It begins and ends with you

One of the greatest lies we tell ourselves, or we hear others say, is “You’re not good enough.” One of the first times we hear this is when we get cut from a sports team during tryouts…usually coming at a pivotal moment in our lives – middle school. The time in our lives when we look the funniest, smell the worst, and are incredibly awkward! (Come on, we all have that one picture where we just cringe!) On the same hand, this is the time when we are given a little more freedom to grow into the person we have been created to be. The time when we begin to develop a sense of identity and self-awareness. Middle School is always a pivotal moment in either our growth or diminishment of self-esteem as well. Unfortunately, whether our self-esteem grows or decreases during this time, it usually impacts much of our lives – if we let it. To be honest, I don’t think I ever heard someone say, “Kristi, you aren’t good enough.” Usually the answer is in the form of rejection – “No.” For instance, the first time I did not make the basketball team in fifth grade was one of the most significant moments of rejection in my life. Being cut from the team, separated from my friends who were good enough to make it, made me feel for the first time that I was not good enough. If I could go back in time, I’d tell 5th grade Kristi, “There’s going to be a lot more no’s in your life, but those no’s do not define you.” But let me tell you, I’ve heard “You’re not good enough” echo throughout my brain most of my life – and honestly, it’s always been me who has said it. Someone can tell me, “Kristi, you did such a great job, thanks for that.” And the lies in my own mind begin creeping in, “You messed up here. You should have done this. You are not capable…equipped…strong enough…pretty enough…smart enough…” et cetera, et cetera. How sad is it we are often our own worst critics and the very one telling ourselves we are not good enough!? One of my favorite places to go when I’m struggling with this lie is to scripture. I am constantly reminded that God created humans in His image and likeness. If we are created in God’s image and likeness, and He has always been good enough, then aren’t we good enough? Take a second right now and look at Genesis 1:26-31. God creates us, male and female in HIS image and likeness, and then gives us “dominion” over all the creatures and land. He sees us as capable and equipped. But then, we get to my favorite part. Genesis 1:31 (NRSV) says, “God saw everything that he had made, and indeed, it was very good.” Do you hear those words? God even calls us “very good.” I have learned over the years not to listen to a lot of the naysayers, but when the Creator of earth, God Almighty says something, I listen. Please hear that today. God, the Creator of your very being, looks at you yesterday, today, and everyday and sees you as very good. When we look at this word “self-esteem” we see that some synonyms are “confidence,” “self-assurance,” “worth,” “pride,” and “self-respect.” The only word I personally struggle with is “pride.” For so long I was told that pride is a poor characteristic to have and even sinful. But over the last year, I’ve been on a journey to gain some self-esteem. Throughout this journey, I found a healthy dose of pride is actually a positive thing. Whether we know it or not, discovering confidence in one’s self, being sure of who you are and who you have been created to be, finding worth in your own human-ness, and learning to love and respect yourself are all aspects of life I think we all seek. What I have discovered through my own journey to seek self-esteem, is no one – not one single person – can change my amount of self-esteem, only I can. As I started this blog, I shared with you how I realized while I was being rejected by others, it was always my own voice inside my head telling me I was not good enough. With each rejection, with each lie I told myself, I lost more and more confidence in myself. Just like we are often times the ones who diminish our own self-esteem, I strongly believe we are the ones who build up our own self-esteem. Don’t get me wrong – others can do things and say things damaging to our self-esteem. If you have experienced these kinds of damaging things, I am so sorry. Others can also speak into our lives and help build our self-esteem, but if we are waiting on them, this may take a while. It begins with you. You understanding, knowing, grasping on to the fact that when God looks at you, God says “[Insert your name here], my beloved, you are very good.” Understanding God knows you better than you know yourself…knows all your flaws, weaknesses, mess ups, and shortcomings, and yet God still says you are very good! There’s a reason we call it “self-esteem,” it begins and ends with you. One of the best pieces of advice I’ve come across is that we are to nourish our self-esteem. Here are some ways I think we can do this: Claim that God calls us very good. Seek God’s Word for the truth that is lavished upon you. Truly look at yourself and see the areas where you need to boost your self-esteem. Focus in on these areas. Do things that push you beyond your comfort zone and you’ll find new confidence! Find out what you are passionate about, and good at, and do those things! Every day, either at the beginning or end of the day, name 1-3 things that you like about yourself. Seek out someone you can talk to (for me it was a counselor) who can help you uncover all your layers and discover some confidence in who you are. Surround yourself with friends/family/community who encourage you, speak life to you, and are not afraid to be honest with you. More than anything friend, do not let others, or your own self, speak lies into your life. Seek the truth. Claim the truth upon your life and walk with this self-esteem. Walk in confidence knowing that the Creator of this very earth, and all human beings, calls you very good. – Kristi