Self-Esteem and Faith Part 2
How do you feel about yourself?
What Truly Matters
One of the problems affecting people with low self-esteem is that they value what they cannot attain more than they should. A hairstylist, for example, may feel inferior to a doctor because she does not make as much money as a medical doctor makes, nor does she save lives. If we are to evaluate people by the amount of money they make and the amount of lives they save, there is no doubt that the doctor will be of much more value than the hairstylist. Quite a problem!
And yet, how many people out there really do depend on the hairstylist! How many women feel so much better about themselves after visiting their hairstylist, getting their hair done, and being able to interact with another person who has over time built a little relationship with them! And here we find two very important lessons: we must figure out what truly matters in life, and we must learn to be content with our place in life.
Over the years, I have seen teenagers obsess over good looks, popularity, athletic skills, social skills, artistic skills, the latest gadgets, and good grades. While all of these things matter to certain extent, they should not matter to point that we define ourselves by them (as I mentioned in my previous hub, we must discover that our true worth is intrinsically related to us bearing the image of God). All of us need to realize that there is more to life than what the regular teenager obsesses over.
Here’s how the Bible puts it:
“For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.” (1 John 2:16-17, KJV)
The fact is that we should not overvalue what we can easily lose. Good looks can be lost with age or an accident; popularity can be lost with a social blunder; athletic skills can be lost with age or an accident; social skills seem more enduring, but without practice or the correct context they can also lose their effect; artistic skills, material things, and good grades—all of these can be gone in an instant.
On the other hand, the following things are of greater value than anything mentioned above: health, a good relationship with one’s loved ones, having close friends, making a difference in someone’s life, having a clean conscience, doing what is right, and doing God’s will. When we compare this second list to the first, we realize that the first list falls short in value against the second one. Why? It is because the second is for the most part spiritual, transcendent, more universal, and more common to what every human being needs to feel happy and content.
Therefore, we need to give serious consideration to what truly matters in life, and we must be careful not neglect those things in order to attain more vain goals.
Our Place in Life
Second, it is important also that we accept our place in life.
None of us had any control over where and when we would be born, or over what family we would belong to. We all had to make choices in life, some of which proved beneficial and some of which didn’t. Moreover, neither of us is made the same. Not only do we each have different sets of fingerprints, but we all have our own personalities, skills, strengths, and weaknesses. The best we can do (without giving up a healthy portion of ambition) is accept who we are and who God created us to be.
If all people were doctors, who would help us look our best? If all people were firemen, who would teach our children? If all people worked in the business sector, who would take care of the animals’ rights? We are all valuable to society in different ways, and we all contribute to everyone’s quality of life in one way or another. Our role is to make the best we can make of what has been given to us!
Here’s a verse from the Bible that seems to express this idea:
“Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus?” (Romans 9:20, KJV)
We really must learn to be humble before God because most of us who are reading this article thinking we are nothing have so much more than most people all over the world. When we truly realize how blessed we are and how much others lack, we discover that we have been too greedy for our own selves.
What we need is a return to simplicity. I often find myself thinking about the common human experience. Here is how my thinking goes: the benefits of the modern world have benefitted people around the world for the last two-hundred years or so, but if I go further in time, I realize that most people did not have everything I have today.
Most people ate the same thing every day. Most people only had two changes of clothes, or one. Most people in history did not have air conditioner, television, medical services, computers, Netflix, and all the other things that make my life comfortable. The fact is that most human beings in history have not been as blessed as I have been!
I realize that this way of thinking may sound crazy to most of us in the modern world, living in the U.S. But if you can take time to explore how other people in the world and throughout history have lived, you will understand how truly blessed you are. It is for this reason that we must cultivate a thankful attitude and gain a better understanding of what truly matters in life.
Poll of Objective Self-Assessment
How do you compare to the poor and hopeless in the world?
Questions for Reflection
If you’re struggling with a low self-esteem, you need to sit down and ask yourself this question: What do I feel I need that I cannot have? Do I really need it? What is truly important in life? How much priority am I giving to what truly matters in life?
The second set of questions you should answer is this: Do I understand that there are things in life that I absolutely have no control over? Am I ready to accept my place in society and in the history of humanity? Do I know what my place is? Am I doing the best I can with the time, the talents, and the resources God has given me?
Finally, I encourage you to investigate carefully into how people in other countries, particularly underdeveloped countries, live. How do they survive? What kinds of problems do they face? What kind of help do they need? What would you do if you were in their shoes?
If you are suffering of low self-esteem, I hope this message challenges you to take a more objective look at yourself and discover that there is plenty of hope for you, and that there are plenty of reasons for you to be happy. Overall, I hope this message sets you on the right path to finding and dedicating yourself to what truly matters in life.
© 2015 Marcelo Carcach