Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Low-Self Esteem Isn't

I tend to think it is actually high self-esteem. Someone is given to thinking that they deserve more than whatever their current status in life has given them (through the providence of God). Their exalted view of self says that they deserve more than what they currently have.

It seems low self-esteem is one of the most common diagnoses of psychological and social problems in modern society. It is why teenage girls (and even older women) are sexually immoral. It is why people do drugs and get into fights. It is why children misbehave in school. And the list goes on and on. But if we look closer at these situations, I think we will find that most of these people are acting out of unrealized wants, whether for affection they think they deserve, or respect they think they are not getting, or good feelings that they think they don't have, or escape from reality that they think they can't do without.

I think most often that low self-esteem people are the primary objects of their own thought. They think about themselves all the time, mourning their current situation in life. They want the attention of others. They moan about the sorry state of their lives, about the fact that no one likes them, etc. They are, in effect, very prideful. They think everyone else should think as much about them as they do about themselves.

Sometimes, "low self-esteem" people become the most manipulative people because of their desire for the acceptance of others to feed their own self-obsession. As a result, they will attempt to make others feel bad for not treating them like they believe they deserve to be treated.

The question for those with low self-esteem isn't "Why do you think poorly of yourself?" The question is "Why do you think about yourself at all?"

The solution to low self-esteem is not "Think better about yourself." It is rather "Stop thinking about yourself."

The words of Paul and the life of Christ speak to this very issue:

Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves ... Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross (Philippians 2:3, 5-8).

In other words, the gospel itself is the answer to low self-esteem: Empty yourself like Jesus did.

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