“Childhood experiences that contribute to healthy self-esteem include being listened to, being spoken to respectfully, receiving appropriate attention and affection and having accomplishments recognized and mistakes or failures acknowledged and accepted. Experiences that contribute to low self-esteem include being harshly criticized, being physically, sexually or emotionally abused, being ignored, ridiculed or teased or being expected to be “perfect” all the time.”
I agree with that analysis. It also explains why I have struggled with self-esteem for as long as I can remember.
– My self-esteem depends on me and not on others. People play a part in building my self-esteem but I shouldn’t have to be dependent on it. It’s up to me.
– I don’t have to fix everything in order to have good self-esteem. I will always be a work in progress so, if I wait until I get to where I want to be, I will never have it.
– The Bible says I am “fearfully and wonderfully” made. It doesn’t say that only certain people are. It means everyone is. My self-esteem should be rooted and grounded in who I am in Christ. God doesn’t make mistakes.
– Having good self-esteem doesn’t mean I don’t have insecurities or fears or doubts. It just means I don’t give those things the power to negatively impact my self-worth.
It’s easy to see the deficits in myself. I think too much, worry too much, I’m too hard on myself. I’m afraid of failure, of rejection, of not measuring up. Of spiders, thunder and lightening, and being alone in the dark. I’m pretty good at a few things but not particularly great at anything. I’m far, far far from being perfect.
Those things are only a part of my life. They’re not my entire life. I am so much more than the sum of my deficits. And I refuse to be defined by them. I refuse to let them determine my self-worth.
I can honestly say that I have better self-esteem now than ever before. It wavers from time to time but I still have it.
I’m glad I’m me. I wouldn’t want to be anyone else. I might have my faults but I also have my strengths. I have self-worth.
So, sorry… if you want my self-esteem, you can’t have it.