Self-esteem is defined as confidence in one’s own worth or abilities. When we have high self-esteem, we view ourselves as capable. We consider ourselves to be worthy of love, to be paid a proper wage, and to be treated with respect.
If we have low self-esteem, we question why anyone would love us. We believe that we are too dumb or too unskilled to be successful. And we think that if people are mean to us, we must have done something to deserve it.
We all have periods when we suffer from low self-esteem. At times in my life, I have wondered whether I had the courage to face the challenges before me. And there have been moments when I have wondered, “Am I worthy of being loved by another human being?”
Our self-esteem can be attacked by others, and sometimes it can be attacked by our own misguided thinking. That is why it is important to bulletproof your self-esteem. You want to protect it so that you can feel confident at all times.
Below are some approaches that help you bulletproof your self-esteem and keep it always high and intact.
Remember that you were created by God.
God created you with a certain height, skin tone, hair color, and personality. He made you that way for a reason. If someone chooses to criticize your appearance or personality, don’t listen to them. Listen to God. He is the one who created you. He thinks you are perfect just the way you are. More importantly, He made you in a certain way so that you could carry out His purpose for your life.
It took me a long time to understand this fact. So often in my life, I’ve wished that I was different than I am. When I was a teenager, I wished that I looked like one of the popular girls in our high school. When I was in law school, I wished that I was smart enough and ambitious enough to be chosen someday to be on the Supreme Court. Then, as I got older and my body started aging, I wished that I could look young again. None of that wishing was good for my self-esteem.
Now that I am older, I appreciate how God has made me. I can see that He has made me in a certain way for certain reasons. I no longer question His handiwork. I just try my best to use the gifts and talents that I’ve been given to serve Him.
Set reasonable standards for yourself.
Part of why our self-esteem sometimes takes a nose-dive is that we feel that we didn’t meet our own standards. We set a goal that we didn’t achieve, and instead of giving ourselves a pat on the back for trying, we feel bad about ourselves for having failed.
For me, this happens every Lent. During Lent, I typically make an unrealistic commitment to give up something that I can’t possibly give up. Then I inevitably fail and beat myself up for not succeeding. For instance, this past year I decided to give up rice, pasta, and bread. That lasted for about two weeks. It was completely unrealistic to think that I could survive without some type of carbohydrates. As my husband was quick to point out, giving up one of those items would have been fine. Trying to give up all three was silly.
Holding yourself to high standards is a good thing! When we hold ourselves to high standards, we naturally perform better in all areas of our lives. But holding ourselves to impossible standards of either beauty or accomplishment is a recipe for destroying our self-esteem.
Run your own race.
Comparing ourselves to others is another way in which we undermine our self-esteem. You are never going to be the smartest, most beautiful or richest person in the world. So instead of comparing yourself with others, run your own race.
God has blessed you with a unique set of qualities so that you can fulfill His purpose for you on this earth. He is having you run a race that only you can complete. So, when it comes to fulfilling God’s purpose for your life, you have no competition.
Once I truly understood that God had created me to run my own, very unique race, my self-esteem skyrocketed. It was a relief to stop feeling like I was in competition with the rest of the world. Now I no longer feel envious about the gifts and talents of others. I know that God has equipped me with the talents that I need to run My Race.
If your self-esteem is low, consider incorporating some of the above suggestions in your life. Remember that you have been made perfectly by God to fulfill His purpose for your life. You don’t lack anything. Feel good about yourself! You are perfect, as is.