Sunday, July 29, 2012
Strength in Weakness: Self-Esteem Issues
This is a picture of me in high school. What? You don't believe me? Well, let's take into consideration that I have what many consider to be a nose at least slightly too large for my face. As we know, if you have spent more than five minutes in high school, people will make fun of you for something, and it's going to be the first thing they think of. Day one (literally) of my freshman year, I was told 1) I had a big nose and people were now going to call me Schnoz for the next four years, 2) I had a mustache, and 3) I had become very ugly since the last time they saw me (which was in 5th grade... I changed schools for three years, then came back.)
I reiterate: this was DAY ONE of high school.
This did not just set the bar for how the next four years were going to play out, but it put in place a slew of self-esteem issues that would haunt me for the rest of my life. I have allowed myself to be plagued with it. I won't walk into a room full of people I don't know unless someone else walks in front of me. I don't want to be looked at. Ironically, I enjoy being on stage -- this is because I can be someone else. Someone who is not me. Someone who is a character. Then, if they laugh -- it's the character, not me. If they hate -- it's the character, not me.
The simple truth is this: I hate myself.
This post is not one where I desire pity, or where I need you to build me up. This is something I've dealt with for decades, and I'm not sharing it because I want or need people to make me feel better. I'm sharing it because I know there are plenty of others out there who have been plagued the same way their entire lives. I'm sharing it because I hope that you see a bit of yourself in this story as well.
I second guess myself constantly. There is not a day that goes by when I don't look at my husband and think, "What is this guy doing with me? He's going to leave me someday when he wises up." There is not a day that goes by that I don't look at someone else's life and think, "I'll never have that. That grace, that poise, that composure. Those looks, that style, that class." If something comes out of my mouth, I'll spend the next two days replaying it in my head to be sure I didn't say something dumb, or hurtful, or that might be misconstrued. I am my own worst critic. I expect the worst from myself, and I often get it.
But here's something interesting. A lot of times we see the verse where Jesus commands us to love others as only loving others. The actual verse, however, reads, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength...and Love your neighbor as yourself." (Mark 12: 30-31)
Love your neighbor as yourself.
Inherently, we are to have love for ourselves as well. Humility is different from self-hate. We are to recognize the talents, abilities, beauty, and uniqueness that God has bestowed upon us. After all, we, too, are His creation. He made ALL things beautiful (Ecclesiastes 3:11) and we are also a part of all things. How can we have love for our neighbor if we don't even love ourselves? How can we recognize the beauty and special things about anyone else if we can't see them in ourselves?
If we get tripped up only seeing what the world sees, and we let that hinder us, we're not going to get very far on our Journey. People will always try to hold you back. Whether it's out of fear, jealousy, or just plain different taste, they will put us down. In turn, we need to lift them up.
Take some time today to talk to God about helping you recognize the ways He's blessed you. Ask Him to help you see the good He's put inside of you, and the ways that you might help others on this Journey instead of hindering them.
I'm rather hoping that eventually I can start seeing myself in a different light: