1 Peter 3:3-4

Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewellery or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight. - 1 Peter 3:3,4

Thursday, September 1, 2011

What is low self-esteem?

Hi everyone. I hope you enjoy our first article together.

What is low self-esteem? Why does it seem to ruin our lives? The question most girls ask and I find myself asking most of all is ‘how can we just get rid of it!?’ But (yep- there’s the but) perhaps if we all understood better what low self-esteem is, maybe we would know how to battle against it? You don’t go into battle blindly, without any idea of what you are fighting.
Because that is what low self-esteem is. It’s a battle, a battle that most girls lose.

Note: From my own personal experience, I have found this is the root of the problem of low self-esteem. There are so many angles you can take on it, and if you feel this post doesn’t answer every question you have- why not look into it? See the bottom of this post for further reading on this subject that will give you greater a understanding of all of the different angles.
Imagine this. Your walking through a shopping centre, and you see a group of absolutely stunning girls, photos pop up at every store of super-slim girls in the latest fashions that makes you wriggle inside. You look down out your own ratty hair, protruding stomach and your average t-shirt hanging about you, and you feel the instinct to run and lock yourself up - or go buy everything in sight hoping that it will make you look like them.

As your life goes on, you find more cosmetic solutions, different foundations, more boyfriends- all of which makes you feel so much better about yourself, you finally feel beautiful, cherished, loved and (dare I say it?) …accepted.

Wait a moment. Stop the tape. Have you ever felt content after painting your face up to look like the next top model? Have you ever felt pure, happy joy with a boyfriend who is going to ditch you next month for someone 'better'? Have you honestly ever felt perfectly happy with who you are?
Are you happy with your body?

When we sinned (think Adam and Eve), man no longer held the close, intimate relationship with God. What used to be a walk in the park with Him (literally) - was ruined because we were selfish. When man took the forbidden fruit we broke that intimacy that God offered. The more generations that passed, the further people parted from Him, but they felt incomplete, like they needed something more. They tried to fill that emptiness with something else. Unfortunately that is still the case today. Now we look for love from other people, we fight for acceptance by trying being the best, the most beautiful, the smartest, or the sportiest. It's a constant battle with ourselves, others and God. And it gets exhausting.
What we are all searching for in these things, our looks and possessions, became our priority and our idols. But we're never satisfied so we move on to the next thing. We should be looking for God, and trying to earn His love. We are looking for an earthly love in other everyday, sinful people. But the only thing that can fully complete us is the heavenly love of the Father.

Maybe this quote will help make these thoughts be a little more clearer:

“Even as a little girl, love and beauty, in my mind, were always braided together. I always wanted to be beautiful because I thought that would eventually bring me love. Yet as time passed, the more I compared myself to the beauty of others, the less I found myself measuring up. There are so many drop-dead gorgeous girls in the world, I knew I didn’t stand a chance.” – Uncompromising by Hannah Farver (pg. 51).

This is what makes me feel like I am not beautiful, because I am not loved in the way that fills me. This is what personally makes me feel low self-esteem. I want people to love me. That place in my heart throbs so bad to be loved and fulfilled, and I look at my body and see I have no chance. I want to hide under a thick layer of cosmetics, hoping that someone will notice me and love me, accept me. That’s what low self-esteem is. It's what we feel like when we think we're not beautiful enough… and we automatically come to the conclusion that we're not loved unless we are the prettiest and have the latest accessories. And we feel like we don't matter, like we are the girl in the gutter. But we are looking for love in the wrong place.

We search for a love that says:

"No matter what you look like, or what you have done I love you." (Proverbs 10:12)
"I will always love you." ( 1 Corinthians 13:8)
"Love means I would give my own life for you." (John 15:13)

Now lets get this straight. Sinners were the ones who put Christ on the cross. Who are we? We are all sinners, nobody's perfect. We were the ones who made a mockery of Him, who brought Him to His death. Our sins are what brought Him to the earth. We are so unworthy of His love, but He offers it to us anyway - it's ours if we choose to accept it. God chose to love us because He wants to love us. Do you want to love Him? The God who "...sent His one and only begotten that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life..."? (John 3:16)

“If we think Christ died just to say, “I love you,” we miss the big picture. There was a greater reason. He died , not because He couldn’t decide between giving chocolate, roses, or crucifixion to His beloved ones- but because we needed Him to die.” – Uncompromising, Hannah Farver, pg. 46.

I want to end on this quote below:

"Love yourself. Be true to yourself. Live to yourself. Some of these messages even go as far as to say that by living this way you will bring glory to God."
But what is the pattern of scripture? Christ said, “Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me”. (Mark 8:34) The word deny literally tanslates: to forget one’s self, lose sight of one’s self and one’s own interests. We are meant to let all thoughts of self become swallowed up in Him. – The Lost Art of True Beauty, Leslie Ludy.

More Reading: Books - The Lost Art of True Beauty by Leslie Ludy (Chapter 2: Selfless Beauty), Uncompromising by Hannah Farver (Chapters 1-3), How to Ruin your Life by Forty by Steve Farrar (Chapter 5: Quite a Piece of Work).
Articles – Johnny Lingo’s Eight Cow Wife, and Distorted Beauty.
Other - Song: Beautiful by Bethany Dillon

Next weeks article: Low self-esteem comes out of us looking for a real love, and finding we cannot attain it because we feel we aren't beautiful. But when we realise that Christ in Heaven loves us, that we need to give up all thoughts of our own beauty, all thoughts of ourselves up to Him, and present ourselves as living sacrifices - that is when low self-esteem gets driven back, and the defeat of it begins. With Christs love we can battle against low self-esteem. 

If you have any questions, or don’t completely understand, please ask in the comments!

~Taleisha & Meggie

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