"Self-esteem" is a term that most of us are familiar with. It is a salient topic that evokes much discussion--healthy self-esteem, low self-esteem, pretension, arrogance, narcissism, poor self-esteem--especially as it relates to children and young adults. However, self-esteem effects us all.
What is Self-Esteem? Self-esteem is simply is an evaluation of our self-worth, or how we see ourselves, based upon core beliefs and personal value systems. Our core beliefs and value systems stem from experiences that begin in early childhood. Even in the formative years, children begin to form an opinion of themselves and their self-worth. These views and opinions begin to shape our sense of self.
These early experiences begin in our family of origin with our parents. Parents can never underestimate the power of their influence in the life of a young child. Parents create the environment of the home, which serves as an incubator. What happens within that incubator is vital to the development of healthy self-esteem. An environment/incubator of warmth, love, acceptance, nurturing, protection, guidance, training, and correcting are foundationally critical key ingredients as they are the building blocks of healthy self-esteem. These elements communicate positive messages to the child ("I am loved.", "I am important.", "My life has worth and meaning." "I am safe.", etc.) because the child feels and draws from the atmosphere of the environment. Conversely, an environment of criticism, anger, disregard, hostility, fear, anxiety, despair, or lack of rules and boundaries communicates a very different message. These elements create a sense of self-worthlessness, helplessness, and sadness. Because of the negativity of the environment, feelings of inadequacy begin to form.
Overcoming Low Self-Esteem and Feelings of Inferiority Low self-esteem and feelings of inferiority go hand-in-hand. Inferiority often embodies feelings of shame, incompetence, helplessness, and an inability to "measure up" in one's own eyes. It is feeling "less than".
Consider the story of Mephibosheth in 2 Kings 9. Here we find King David looking for any member of King Saul's family that he can show kindness toward. We learn that there is one person from King Saul's family, Mephibosheth, who is described as "lame". When Mephibosheth is informed that he has been called to eat at the King's table, he is in disbelief! He could not believe that the King would want to have anything to do with a "dead dog" (2 Kings 9:8). This self-abasing and derogatory term gives us a vivid description of Mephibosheth's sense of self and feelings of inferiority. No matter what King David said, nor how kind and generous he was to him, or what he was given based upon his royal lineage, Mephibosheth was unable to see himself as anything more than a dead dog. Although he ate at the king's table and had all the riches that money could buy, his low sense of self and feelings of inferiority did not change.
Prayer for Overcoming Low Self-Esteem and Feelings of Inferiority Low self-esteem and feelings of inferiority are debilitating obstacles that can impede us from reaching our destiny. We need the truth of God's Word to overcome them. Truth is what refutes lies and helps us to have a healthy sense of self. It is imperative that we know what God says about us.
"God saw all that He made and it was very good."--Genesis 1:31
"...I have summoned you by name, you are mine..." Isaiah 43:1 (NIV)
"I will praise You for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are your works..."
--Psalm 139:14 (NIV)
Father, in the name of Jesus, I believe what your Word says about me. I pray that you would uproot the negative view of self and every feeling of inadequacy that began in my youth. Help me to see myself as you see me. I thank you for doing it now. Amen.