I've been doing some thinking recently on self-esteem, especially how it pertains to girls... I know I've dealt with my share of struggles and I have had to dig my way out one way or another. The thing that I find fascinating is that whether there are guys around or just girls around I can find a reason to not be good enough.
I mean seriously think about it, if you're in a room full of girls, that's like going to the mall and window shopping. I can look at them and find beauty in each of them. Some have this beautiful skin, others stunning eyes, beautiful and perfect hair, some have this laughter that just makes you want to join in, some a dazzling smile, others are these tiny cute petite things, some are these skinny athletic builds, while still others have this amazing glow about them that just makes you want to be their friend... because maybe somehow by association you feel cooler and will assimilate that by osmosis lol.. ok maybe not that far.. but sometimes I feel that way :) The thing is, I can do that for ANY girl I meet.. it doesn't really matter what she actually looks like.. I find beauty in her that I somehow don't see in myself.
But, the worst is if you're in a room full of attractive guys AND attractive girls.. because then it goes from window shopping to being put IN the window and having the guys window shop.. And suddenly all the things you found beautiful and attractive about the girls becomes this thing that isn't beautiful and attractive about you.. because why would he choose you over her/that? Even if he expresses interest in you, you find a reason why it isn't true.. he must be mistaken, she must have turned him down, he's settling.. There's no possible way after viewing all his options he's decided you're the perfect choice... No way.
Then, ok we finally give in and let him choose us. But, we find a reason to blow off every single nice complimenting thing he says... We get good at it too, with responses like: "haha, yeah right" "oh, please *rolling eyes*" "whatever..." Because at that point we're technically letting him say whatever he feels he needs to, but inside we're making excuses like "it's only because I'm dressed up..." "He is just saying that/has to say that" "He doesn't know what I really look like without the make up!" "He's just saying that to make me feel better, because clearly I look like crap..".. And then part of it is we just feel awkward when a guy we know is amazing says complimentary things to us. We use it as a guarding mechanism to help guard our hearts and keep us from getting hurt.. which is completely the wrong way to handle it.. and in reality it doesn't even work!
I mean seriously I am an expert at talking myself out of anything.. regardless of what anyone says. SO, the issue really has nothing to do with how beautiful another girl is or how amazing and "well made" a guy is... it has everything to do with me and my wonderful little prison I've allowed Satan to entrap me in. I make excuses like "it's just the truth" "it's how I see things" "you don't understand" "if you only knew..." None of these things are even close to the truth...
God knows we desire to be beautiful and he understands that we struggle with self-esteem in that area. But, what we don't understand is we ARE beautiful. Not needing to be vindicated by any man saying so, not needing any other girl to tell us we are... but simply we are. God created us in His image, he made us to be beautiful and talks about it all over the Bible from beginning to end. He constantly is telling us in the Bible about how wonderful we are to Him, how much he delights in us, and how truly beautiful He sees us to be.
The problem is we forget, don't care, have never heard.. whatever reason, we stop acting as though we are beautiful. I know from my own various experiences that a guy can truly destroy the way I view myself.. and when I say destroy.. I mean it. Guys have no idea the power they hold over us.. especially once we have decided we like them. They can completely demolish us with a simple careless word or action. We can go from cloud 9 to the depths of despair simply because he didn't care enough to notice us or something we've done.
It becomes aggravating and it can easily turn us to bitterness... but the problem is we freely choose to let the guy do that to us. We have forgotten how to hold our hearts precious... I know there are times nothing about me has felt precious. Nothing. I've been through times when I didn't see one good thing about myself, and I couldn't have told you anything about myself that I liked... or at LEAST thought was ok. Especially my heart because I had it trampled so many times that I assumed that was the worth of it. How terribly sad to view that of your own heart. Looking back I can't imagine the pain Jesus cried over that simple view of myself.
" Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life." - Proverbs 4:23
" And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus" - Phillipians 4:7
So, then the real question is what is my self-esteem and what SHOULD it be? And then, the second question is how do I get there? I mean obviously guys aren't where it can be placed. That's been proven a million times over, and has cause quaint little sayings like "boys are stupid, throw rocks at them.." But, seriously how do I view myself? What is my value? What is my worth? and How do I make myself view myself as something of worth?
Haha.. well if it were as simple as a few sentences life would be so much easier, and I would be rich getting girls to miraculously change their self-image!.. But, clearly I'm not rich so it isn't just a simple answer.. But, what I can do is detail out what I've discovered so far..
Starting with a simple thank you instead of any sort of "yeah right" "ok, whatever" response actually does eventually change your perception of yourself.
"Sorry, I'm dumb/weird/odd/different etc.."
Stop starting things or explaining yourself using negative terms.. think them that's fine.. but there's something powerful about the spoken word. So, instead of explaining yourself away with negative terms, simply state what it is you're trying to say. Something like "Sorry, I don't understand" is COMPLETELY different than "Sorry I'm stupid and don't get it.."
"I really like..."
Finding things that are physical things that you like about yourself are key.. and a great place to start. Now, I know that 1 Peter 3 says "Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight. For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to make themselves beautiful...".. But, the reality is we desire outward beauty as much as we desire inward beauty. So, pretending it isn't a desire is silly. I want to know I'm beautiful on the inside of course.. but I also need to know I'm attractive on the outside. No idea why either. It's just how I am.
Man are we good at using this as our get out of jail free card or what!? If ever I don't know how to win an argument or I'm just out of ways of defending what I want to do, I use the "yeah but you don't understand..." usually followed by explaining that my past experiences have taught me whatever... The reality is this whole world is fallen.. so there's a pretty good chance that experience wasn't the best because of the fallen nature of our world. It doesn't mean we can use that to stay stuck. Acknowledge the problem, the hurt, the pain, the effects it had on you.. and be done with it. Own up to what you should own up to... Then let God have the rest. It does wonders to the feeling you have.
"Fake it til you make it.."
So, I know this sounds funny.. but there's something about an action done long enough becomes natural. So... once you've given the past up, and the issues, and the pain, and whatever else to God.. fake it until you begin to see yourself that way. I am NOT saying pretend everything is ok.. what I'm saying is begin to dance in the beautiful freedom that our Savior provides. Allow Him to take care of the problems... The problem doesn't have to feel solved, better, fixed.. you don't have to see yourself as beautiful.. but begin to act confident and you will slowly begin to feel confident in who our precious Jesus has made you to be.
So, I have a lot more.. but I'm gonna give it a rest for now.. Soon I am gonna make a post about my view of a guys role in relationships... :) Have a great Wednesday!