Self-esteem is the way we think about ourselves and the value we place on ourselves.
When we have healthy self-esteem we tend to feel positive about ourselves and life in general, and we’re better able to deal with life’s ups and downs.
When our self-esteem is low, we tend to see ourselves and our life in a negative light and feel less able to take on life’s challenges.
Low self-esteem often stems from experiences in childhood that lead us to believe negative things about ourselves.
These experiences could be things like:
There are two types of positive self-esteem:
This one is destined for failure because self-generated self-esteem is shored up with flimsy beams at best.
The Bible says “Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the Lord. For he shall be like the heath in the desert, and shall not see when good cometh; but shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, in a salt land and not inhabited.” Jeremiah 17:5,6 (KJV)
2. The other kind of positive self-esteem is based on what God says about you. We can believe what God says about us because He speaks truth. A self-esteem based on this creates stability and peace and gives purpose in life.
“Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is. For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit.” Jeremiah 17:7,8 (KJV)
Here are some signs of low self-esteem:
Still not sure if you have low self-esteem? Do the Rosenberg Self Esteem Test and see how you score.
Related: How to boost self-esteem in kids
Let’s take a look at how to overcome low self-esteem in a way that pleases God.
The place to find the truth about your value is the Bible. What does God say about you?
The self-help gurus will tell you to look yourself in the mirror every morning and use “I am” statements like, “I am beautiful”, “I am successful”, “I am a winner”.
Instead, use God’s truth to formulate your own “I am” statements:
You get the idea. Write some of your own and put them in places you will see them often throughout the day.
As you speak God’s truth to yourself daily, you will notice a change in your emotional and mental state, and how you feel about yourself.
Think about what you are thinking about.
Whenever you feel something negative, ask yourself what you are thinking and then compare that to what God’s word says about you.
Maybe you feel useless when you compare yourself to the achievements of others.
Ask yourself, “Is it true that I am useless?” No. “My talents and abilities are different to those of others. I can be and do what God wants me to be and do without feeling less than others.”
Sometimes we have to have a little “talk” to ourselves to adjust our thinking.
When you develop yourself you will give your self-esteem a boost.
Make a list of things you’d like to accomplish and create a plan to start working on those things.
Do you want to learn a new skill, change a bad habit, or overcome a fear? It brings glory to God and makes us like ourselves more, when we improve ourselves.
Related: Developing yourself
Exercise has a huge impact on your mental and physical well-being. As you exercise, your body will feel more “together” and able to move.
You will immediately feel better about yourself.
Do you need to drink more water, exercise, read daily, get outside, or start a gratitude journal?
Print out this free habit tracker to help you stay committed to developing your new habit.
Gratitude has a huge impact on mental health. Take time to write down at least 3 things you are thankful for – every day (perhaps at night, just before going to sleep).
If you really want to challenge yourself, look for 10 things you can be thankful for every day. This “prescription” will have you feeling better about yourself and your life in a few days.
It is always more blessed to give than to receive, and helping someone else will take the attention off yourself.
Look for ways to be a blessing to others and then choose to bless them – whether you feel like it or not.
We’ve all made mistakes and wish we could reverse certain actions and choices we made. Unless you forgive yourself, you will stay chained to your mistakes forever and they will prevent you from moving forward with your life.
If God forgives you, who are you to not forgive yourself?
The Bible tells us that when we compare ourselves with others, we are not wise (2 Corinthians 10:12).
God created you with unique talents and abilities and He delights in you (Zechariah 3:17). Yes, you may need some developing, but comparison with others will only keep you stuck in negativity and self-loathing.
It’s far better to compare yourself with God and find out what He wants of you, and then cooperate with Him to grow personally and become the person He wants you to be.
We all have times we don’t feel great about ourselves, but when low self-esteem becomes a long-term problem it can have harmful effects on both mental and physical health, as well as wreak havoc in relationships.
Healthy relationships are formed by healthy individuals. If your relationships are toxic, chaotic or filled with drama, then it’s likely that one of you is not healthy.
Get the free health assessment below to find out how healthy you and your relationships are.
Do you struggle with low self-esteem? Which of these things should you implement?