Okay… its been a while, so let’s recap! Before I went on my not so brief hiatus I was talking about something called the faulty corner. A faulty corner is a mental dwelling space where flaws, errors, mistakes and weaknesses are made most prominent and strengths, merits, and goods are belittled and made to look like nothing, about oneself and/or others. The facilitator already touched upon was Comparison, and we spoke about how it’s a thief of Joy, and is actually making you bitter and stagnant (read the last post guys, someone said it was interesting 🤷🏽♀️🤔).
Another facilitator that unfortunately puts us in that faulty corner is low self-esteem. This one i’m very sure we have heard a lot about. Every and anybody can experience low self-esteem, as there is no age, gender, culture or ethnic restrictions. We can have little short lived moments when our self-esteem can be low for whatever circumstantial reason, but then we can also have a constant dwelling with low, and getting lower, self-esteem. Now this low and getting lower self esteem is the one I want to talk about.
Self esteem is defined as one’s own subjective evaluation and perception of their worth; it is what we believe about ourselves for various reasons and occurrences. Other similar words are self-integrity, self-worth, self-respect (fellow university students will understand the importance of synonyms). Having low self esteem therefore would mean that your thoughts, beliefs and perceptions about yourself are low. As in, below standards, and this is evident from the way you think about yourself, the things you say about yourself, the things you do to yourself and of equal importance, the things you allow others to do and say about you. The not so funny thing about this is, people could actually esteem you highly, and this still wouldn’t make a difference to how you esteem yourself. Low-SELF esteem, is your own personal perception of your self, which unfortunately happens to be false, belittling and self demeaning.
I said to a friend of mine a few days ago that I use to have low self-esteem, and she literally looked at me like I was speaking gibberish. Actually, she looked at me like it was going to be written on my fore-head or something. No it isn’t, it never is and sadly a lot of young people suffer from low self-esteem and just like I did, it all starts from the inside. Sometimes it stays inside, as in within the mind and sometimes it can extend to the outside because self esteem actually influences so much in our lives; from our health, to our achievements, relationships and our well-being.
Just like the way you cannot physically see the process of a seed in the soil, you can also not see low self esteem being planted, germinating, until it starts to show its fruits. Just like the way loneliness is a creeper, low self-esteem can also creep up on you. If we start to see our bodies as soil and everything we allow into our minds, heart, spirit and soul is a seed that will eventually produce fruit, a lot of things start to make sense.
Living in the faulty corner would be a fruit (consequence) of having low self-esteem. Other consequences are things like anxiety, a likelihood of depression, loneliness, being overwhelmed, the list could go on. I could also go on to list symptoms of having low self-esteem, but I genuinely do not think there is a one-size-fits-all list of symptoms for low self-esteem, however there are some obvious ones, like being very conformist all the time, apologizing and feeling guilty unnecessarily, thinking you are incapable or undeserving, lowering standards, inability to prioritize own needs or speak for one self and the major one that nobody can see, is a long script of negative internal dialogue. Now a lot of people don’t show all these symptoms, its not a diagnostic tool where you tick a box, you could have one very extremely and that would actually mean you may have low self-esteem.
For me personally I was never a conformist, even the thought of conforming annoys me, i sometimes knew how to prioritize my own needs and happiness, I knew I had Gods strength to be capable to do things. I never over apologised, tbh i’m lost in thought so much I might even forget to apologize (if I have actually offended you in the past, I do sincerely apologise) but as for a long script of negative internal dialogue and feeling undeserving of love, I was the queen. Sometimes I would be so negative to myself that it would even make me cry, and I wouldn’t stop until I got tired of crying. Ahhh! Its a blessing to look back and be able to thank God and write about this.
In the words of Joyce Meyer, “I’M NOT WHERE I NEED TO BE, BUT THANK GOD I’M NOT WHERE I USED TO BE”
A lot of people are so unkind to themselves, and when you add on this wicked world, a lot of bad things can happen.
Low self-esteem gradually hinders your own wholeness, you just don’t esteem yourself all that well, and when your own wholeness is lacking, or you are feeling half mentally, we start to look outside, to others to fill us up, and if that doesn’t work (it never flipping does), we start to pick on others for their mistakes, flaws and imperfections; the same ones that we actually have.
"why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?
Matt 7:3, Luke 6:41.
This bible verse is interesting, cos we can easily ask ‘WHY‘, but in reality, a lot of people, previously me, would rather look at others and correct them when they say hurtful things or wrong things about themselves and pretend like we don’t say the same or similar things to ourselves. It’s like we are so good at spotting signs that someone has low self-esteem, but we are blind to the fact that we have the same. ‘BUT WHY’ ? I don’t know really, we all have our WHYs, but for me, it was like I would have rather poured out love and care to everyone else but myself, I was so eager to help people, but not similarly eager to help myself. The effort and sacrifice it would take and require to change all my negative internal dialogue and to know deep within me that I was deserving of love just seemed like a lot. I must have forgotten to cast all my burdens upon Him.
'Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you'
1 pet 5:7
' For the spirit that God has given us does not make us timid; instead, His spirit fills us with POWER, LOVE and SELF-DISCIPLINE'
2 Tim 1:7
Low self-esteem is not something to be trivialised, generations has been changed as a consequence of someone having low self-esteem. I know this sounds very extreme, but every of our actions impact the next generation, whether we’d like to believe it or not. Yes we are one person in the 8 billion in the planet, but God has placed each and everyone of us, exactly where we are, at this exact moment, for a particular reason, and this world is tinyyyyy.
Psalm 139: 1-18.
I don’t know if it is possible to flip the switch overnight from having low self-esteem to not, but for me it was a gradual learning curve. It took learning to see my self through the eyes of the creator, He made us all wonderfully and beautifully and He could not love us any less. It took me asking and praying to live in Gods purpose as often as it crosses my mind, in His purpose we have the best self-esteem. It took me learning to let God shower me with His love in so many ways, and through so many people. Sometimes it takes as little as loving yourself and just being kind to your yourself; don’t say things that hurt you, don’t do things that hurt you, prioritise yourself just a little bit more; don’t expect anybody to do that for you. Fight to see the good in everything, everybody and every situation. Now the devil will try… but that shouldn’t stop you from determining deep within yourself to not slip back into your old ways, and if you do, don’t dwell, pick yourself up, thank God and go again.
Check your damn circle!
Some friends are just not good for you, and it might take you a while to admit it, but please do it sooner rather than later. If you have people around you that are constantly picking on your flaws, and making light of your insecurities or jesting or mocking and definitely not in a way to help or improve you, shun them for it, and if they don’t stop please pack your bags and relocate. Some people are just naturally negative, they struggle to see the positive in things, and my personal advise is to skedaddle.
The way the bible says ‘flee sexual immoralities’, flee these kind of friends 🏃♀️🏃♂️ (I wouldn’t even call them friends). You don’t necessarily have to cut them off, but do whatever is best for you. Just make sure that the people that have the most influence on you are people that don’t make you doubt who you are, ROYALTY, what you stand for, your worth and your capabilities.
Families, close and extended, can sometimes not be great for self-esteem. I genuinely feel like a lot of parents can do a lot better to help our self esteem especially when we are younger. Please dont cut your family off, but let them know what they are doing and how it is impacting you.
Nobody should be worth causing you to be mentally overwhelmed.
Check the inputs to your senses !
SOCIAL bloody MEDIA – a lot of us do our selves a lot of harm, from the sites and things we allow and tolerate online. If its not helping you grow, you’re just increasing these negatives internal dialogues. Please do yourself a favour and either exit, limit or fast from it.
The music and films we watch, sometimes the lyrics, scenes and just everything isn’t good for our mental well-being, some of these things are leaving you second guessing yourself, your self-worth, self- respect and self-integrity. CUT IT OFF! ✂️ ✂️ ✂️
If your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away! It is much better for you to lose one of your limbs than to have your whole body go off to hell.
Matthew 5:30 GNT
I’m sure some music or movie is something minor we can just CUT OFF! ✂️ ✂️ ✂️
Maybe the food we eat (I love food too much to blame food, but maybe). If your self esteem fluctuates based on your looks, weight and size, then be extra mindful of what is going in your stomach.
Create a list of positive
Take time to write down the good, the great and the amazing things about you. It can be something as little as “I have a lovely smile”, “I can cook”, to something as great as “God loves me tooo much”, “I AM ENOUGH” or “I have great friends” (these are all mine). Always ‘remember’, ‘rehearse’ and ‘re-affirm’ your list of positive qualities; we should all have a list, dont belittle them. But dont also over big them up so pride doesn’t sneak in.
A negative flip side to this could be having an overly High self-esteem. This is when you are not humble about yourself at all, and you just think every one else is beneath you.
Stop that! If you put yourself on such an unnecessarily high pedestal, God would have to humble you. SIGH!
'Whoever exalts himself [with haughtiness and empty pride] shall be humbled (brought low), and whoever humbles himself [whoever has a modest opinion of himself and behaves accordingly] shall be raised to honor.'
Matthew 23:12 AMPC
'he has brought down the mighty from their thrones and exalted those of humble estate;'
Luke 1:52 ESV