Self-esteem is a fragile thing. Let’s talk about it.

What is esteem? I consulted two friends (Webster’s Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary and my computer Thesaurus) for synonyms, intending to discuss my struggle with low self-esteem, explain how I overcame it, and give a how-to package with a pretty bow on top.

But my victory in this area is fairly recent, and scanning a multitude of notes recorded over many years reminded me of great anguish and heartbreak from living most of my life battling low self-esteem.

Webster defines self-esteem, “confidence and satisfaction in oneself,” and gives a synonym, self-respect, “proper respect for oneself as a human being, regard for one’s own standing or position.” Synonyms for self-esteem include self-worth, sense of worth, self-respect, confidence.

Obviously, low self-esteem means less than the above.

My definition of low self-esteem: feeling I don’t measure up.

My definition of low self-esteem: feeling I don’t measure up. Click To Tweet

Here’s my story.

I was the last-born child in my family—the only girl after four boys—and I grew up cherished and lavished with praise. That should have given me a solid self-esteem.

We lived on a tiny farm just outside the city limits and attended a large church in town. My dad had a small produce business, and we often traveled to church in his rumbling produce truck. Among the church members were a few wealthy, influential people. I didn’t consciously compare myself, but my modest background set me up for feelings of inferiority.

After I finished elementary school, my mother decided I would attend a rather prestigious high school. Many of my classmates came from wealthy homes, and their parents were professional people—doctors, lawyers, successful business owners. I made friends, but overall, I didn’t feel I measured up.

Although my family wasn’t wealthy, we had everything we needed…or wanted. My mom’s greatest delight was making sure I had beautiful clothes and every advantage, including piano lessons.

But this feeling thing continually tripped me. Feeling inferior…feeling I didn’t measure up.

That changed when I landed my dream job writing for the local newspaper while attending college. Interviewing celebrities, mingling with the elite of the community, receiving admiration and recognition boosted my esteem. I felt good about myself and confident.

After nine years of basking in the limelight, I left the newspaper for an awesome new position—mom. After nine years of marriage, the Lord sent us a baby girl and nineteen months later, a little boy.

I loved making a nest for my sweet family, but low self-esteem began to cripple me. I’d left a flourishing journalism career—something I did well—for something I felt I wasn’t doing well. I had no baby-sitting experience and knew nothing about parenting. I felt totally inadequate for the most important role of my life.

Have you noticed those italicized words—feel, feeling, felt?

In last week’s post I said, “the heart feels what the mind is thinking.” My feelings were the result of negative thinking. I don’t measure up.

Taking control of my thoughts eventually placed me in a position for the Lord to do something about my low self-esteem.

Taking control of my thoughts eventually placed me in a position for the Lord to do something about my low self-esteem. Click To Tweet

I learned transforming truth about what he thinks of me.

  • He knows me by name (Isaiah 43:1).
  • He says I am precious in his sight (Isaiah 43:4).
  • He loves me with an everlasting love (Jeremiah 31:3).
  • He delights in me (Psalm 18:19).
  • He has imprinted me on his heart (Psalm 136:23 Amplified).
  • He has engraved me on the palms of his hands (Isaiah 49:16).
  • He takes care of sparrows, and he considers me of greater worth than many sparrows (Matthew 10:29-31).

Next week I’ll continue my story. If you relate to my struggle with low self-esteem, I’d appreciate your leaving a comment. And consider sharing this with your friend-list!

© Dianne Barker 2018