I was speaking with a young woman recently. She grew up in a church going family. But things at home had gone pretty wrong for her. Her father was prone to become very controlling and psychologically abusive. Her mother had her own way of becoming so worked up she would berate any one of the children for little reason, for hours at a time.
My friend wanted desperately to escape the family confines but didn’t know how. It got that way that it seemed to her the only way out was to do something serious with her own life. She knew it was only a matter of time before she did something to finish it.
In talking with her privately, it was pretty obvious the warm embers of self esteem had all but gone out. There was no-one left in her world with any credibility that could offer her gentle, kind and encouraging words.
In the end, self-esteem is how I think about myself. It’s about being able to bring the warmth of self care to myself. (This is harder than you think, right?).
But in the meantime!, the art of self-esteem is fostered by those in our close circle offering warm words and gestures.
Those fortunate enough to grow up in an encouraging environment know how to hold in ‘warmth’ and apply it to themselves and to others in turn, even in the face of coldness.
The restoration of self-esteem is often needed. this is when we are having trouble holding in warmth; when the distance between your internal smile and your face is a long way away.
Self-esteem can be enhanced by decreasing exposure to toxic environments and increasing company with same sex people who see good in you and frequently offer you encouragement and warmth. Get serious about this.
At times, this may need to be a professional in the first instance, to reduce your own barriers to taking in warmth; for you to be able to accept your own worthiness.
From the Scriptures
In the scriptures we see modelled by Jesus, over and over the humanness of warm, loving relationships. And in his wake we see people flourishing because of his touch, because self-esteem was enhanced. He still does this today – through His friends.
“I am who I am”