Seeking Balance Regarding Self-Esteem (Part 2)

On this week’s post, we continue to dive into practical advice Seeking Balance Regarding Self-Esteem (Part 1)

Challenge your inner critic.  Your inner critic is evident when you beat yourself up in your own mind.  For example, after making a mistake, you might say to yourself “You stupid idiot!”  Gaining strength to combat our own inner critic through rational questioning can be beneficial. Often we think we have failed when the reality is quite different.  Rational challenges to the inner critic need to be balanced with self-acceptance, even after mistakes. This way, we find the inner peace we really desire. Tell yourself, “Mistakes are normal and I want to accept and learn from them.”

Reflect on: Romans 7:24 – 8:1; I John 1:8-10; II Corinthians 10:3-5; Hebrews 4:16; John 14:27

Challenge external critics.  These are people who tear you down.  Rather than allowing criticism to belittle your self-worth, imagine an inner shield defending you against the exploding darts from others that could hurt you deeply.  It is good to be open to positive input and even helpful negative feedback which can guide you toward positive growth.  However, if the criticisms are not valid, dismiss them as quickly as possible.

Reflect on: Ephesians 6:10-18; Hebrews 11:25-12:3; Acts 4:12-22

Embrace forgiveness.  First, seek to understand yourself and what led you to sin or make the mistake.  Second, accept what has already taken place since you cannot change the past. Finally, choose to forgive yourself and let go of what you cannot change.  The same is true when you deal with others who have hurt you.  It is amazing how liberating forgiving others can be, even though it can be a process that takes time. 

Reflect on: Matthew 6:12-15; Luke 17:3-5; 23:33-34; Colossians 3:13; I John 1:7-9

Accept conflicting views.  When you are inwardly secure, you can listen to opposing perspectives without them threatening your self-esteem.  You can evaluate them objectively, and they may or may not influence your own opinions. You are not inferior as a person, and your perspective may be equally valid.  Your self-esteem is not based on how many people agree with you on various topics of interest.  

Reflect on:  Proverbs 18:13; Ecclesiastes 7:5; Acts 18:24-26

Enjoy compliments.  Low self-esteem often causes people to negate compliments and minimize their importance.  Instead, try accepting and enjoying them, acknowledging that the real glory goes to God Himself.  Make a special place in your journal for these praises. Balance really involves being a fully activated instrument, tuned in to our creator for the mission and purposes for which we were created.  Be thankful and accepting of your successes, knowing God is at work in you. You will see your self-esteem grow in a healthier and more positive direction as you trust, obey, and give glory to Him.

Reflect on:  Daniel 2:23; Psalm 100:1-5; Philippians 2:13;  I Thessalonians2:13; 5:16-18

This article was originally published on the Hammonton Gazette, February 2019 and has been modified into a new format.

Seeking Balance to Maintain Hope (Part 1)

Hope has been called an anchor of the soul, because anchors provide stability to help us survive the storms of life.  We all need hope, and the losses and challenges many have experienced due to COVID-19 are creating new storms for most of us.  

What follows are some tips to help in times like these:

Accept positive pessimism.  This is rationally approaching the possible things that could go wrong, and then planning how you would deal with each option in a calm and thoughtful manner.  It is not getting stuck in fearful thinking, catastrophic thought processes or a helpless mindset, but rather planning for positive action steps.    

Meditate on Acts 27:14-44

Reinforce your courage.  Courage is not the absence of fear, but is discovered in the overcoming of it.  It is facing a world full of difficulties, and tackling the problems one by one in a manner that believes you will find victory with God’s help, if you show persistence.  

Meditate on II Samuel 23:8-39

Seek solutions.  Avoid getting stuck focusing on problems and fears of the future, but instead, embrace the idea that solutions are available for those who seek them.  Learn to be assertive about exploring God’s gift to you of creative options.  Think outside the box.

Meditate on Judges 7 & 8

Photo credit: cornerstoneofhope.org