It’s true that self-esteem isn’t everything—especially from a biblical perspective. Self-esteem is never mentioned directly in the Bible. We’re actually supposed to have a modest view of ourselves. (In James 4:10 (NASB), James says, “Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you.”) But the topic of self-esteem can’t be ignored in our society full of insecure, unconfident people.
In our generation, it’s incredibly common to have low self-esteem. Sadly, many of the things we choose to do actually lower our self-esteem without us even realizing it! There are a few common behaviors we employ that generally lower our self-esteem. Hopefully, recognizing these behaviors will help you avoid them!
Your self-esteem will probably get wrecked if you:
1. Hang out with people who don’t really care about you.
Sometimes, we surround ourselves with positive people who encourage us and strengthen us in our relationship with God. But, other times, we settle for friendships that negatively influence us and the way we feel about ourselves.
These harmful friends are only consumed with themselves. Perhaps they absorb most of the conversation or constantly brag about their achievements. Maybe they exclude you from inside jokes they have with others or stare at their phone screens when you’re talking.
Basically, when you hang around them, they make you feel unwanted and neglected. This will wreck your self-esteem. It will take time and effort to form new life-giving friendships, but it’s worth it. Choose to invest in people who truly care about you—and show that you care about them, too!
2. Spend lots of time on social media.
In our technological society, most people have social media, which isn’t necessarily bad. Don’t get me wrong—I don’t think it’s sinful to have social media. I simply think that social media can lead to bad things, like a low self-esteem.
Social media reflects society (hence its name). It reflects society’s views about religion, relationships, entertainment, and everything else. Therefore, a large dose of social media can cause you to doubt your beliefs, relationships, appearance, lifestyle, etc. Your life may be amazing…but spending too much time on social media can make your life seem horrible. Likewise, you can’t help but feel inferior when you constantly view pictures and posts that seem perfect.
You probably don’t intend to care so much about society’s views. That’s just a natural effect of using it. The only way to care less about society’s views is to take a break from it. This “break” could mean many different things—deleting your social media accounts, abstaining from social media on certain days, or limiting your time on your accounts. Honestly, it’s unlikely that your self-esteem will improve after spending a long time on social media. But only you can choose to do something about that.
3. Bottle up sin in your heart.
I know how easy it is to keep sin a secret. Often, we (mistakenly) continue in sin while believing that maybe—just maybe—the guilt will diminish. Instead, we continue in sin and start feeling dirty about it.
Think about it: When you sin, you (hopefully) feel guilty. You experience guilt so that you will repent of your sin. However, if you let the guilt consume you instead of dealing with it through repentance, you’ll start to feel shame. Shame causes you to feel humiliated, repulsive, and alone (thus causing you to lose your self-esteem).
There’s really only one solution to ensure that guilt doesn’t become shame. Instead of letting guilt fester in your heart, confess it and move on. You may need to admit your sin to a trusted believer, or you may simply need to admit it to God. Either way, you should never choose to focus on your sin and how awful you are because of it. Being honest about it and asking God for strength to fight against it is a better idea.
In my next post, I’ll share a few more ideas if you want to wreck your self-esteem. For now, consider these three “tips” and how you can avoid putting them into practice! See you next week!