Last week’s post included three behaviors we have that will wreck our self-esteem. But there are lots of things we (perhaps unconsciously) choose to do that damage our self-esteem. Here are a few more of them:
4. Only focus on yourself.
This may not seem like it will wreck your self-esteem. After all, self-esteem is all about self. But the interesting thing about self-esteem is that focusing on ourselves often leads us to feel unhappy and insecure. Instead of believing that we are amazing people, we might start noticing all our flaws and failings, especially compared to others.
But what if we focused more on others? Would that boost our self-esteem? It’s a common idea that doing good things for others makes us feel better about ourselves, and there is truth to this. God designed us to have relationships, so we shouldn’t take them for granted by making them just about us.
Instead of always putting yourself first, try putting someone else’s needs or desires first. This can be as simple or complicated as you want it to be. Cook dinner to give your mom a break, meet a struggling friend for coffee, leave encouraging notes in your kids’ rooms, or simply say hi to someone who seems lonely. We shouldn’t become prideful about doing acts of kindness, but they naturally lead to a boost in our self-esteem.
5. Don’t take care of yourself.
On the flip side of spending too much time on ourselves is not spending enough time on our appearance. Think about the last time you really took care of yourself (especially my female readers). Did you pick a nice dress to wear, curl your hair, or wear mascara and lipstick? Did you get a manicure, buy a new perfume, or even just brush your teeth? How did you feel afterward? Probably really good!
Personally, I don’t feel very beautiful or confident when I’m wearing sweatpants, a messy ponytail, and no makeup. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with dressing casually and taking a break from our daily routine, but making this a habit can quickly cause our self-esteem to plummet.
I’m not saying we should always wear tuxedos and prom dresses, but there’s definitely a correlation between putting effort into our appearance and feeling more confident. If you’re not in the habit of taking care of yourself, start with basic hygiene like showering, brushing your hair, and regularly changing your clothes. Then try applying makeup, painting your nails, or wearing nicer clothes and see if your self-esteem increases.
6. Surrender to Satan’s lies.
I could discuss this topic for hours, but I only have a couple hundred words. What you absolutely need to know about this is that surrendering to Satan’s lies will lower your self-esteem. But he doesn’t just want to wreck your self-esteem; he wants to wreck your relationship with God. Of course, he can’t steal your salvation, but he can steal your joy and confidence in Christ.
He might tell you that you’re all alone, God doesn’t really love you, you’re unwanted, everyone is a better Christian than you, you have no worth, you’re ugly, you can’t accomplish _______, or God can’t use you. The list goes on forever. We can’t control how often we hear these lies, but we can control whether or not we believe them.
If we fight against them, we can find victory. But if we give up and allow Satan to control our thoughts, he will. We can’t let him have that control. To start fighting Satan’s lies with the truth, you might need to see a Christian counselor, talk to a family member or friend, memorize passages of Scripture, or devote more time to prayer. Friends, a large dose of Satan’s lies leads to a small view of self and a small view of God.
Self-Esteem Isn’t Everything—But It’s Important
Truth be told, it’s not a catastrophe if you have low self-esteem. After all, everyone does sometimes. We find ways to deal with the negative feelings and attitudes about ourselves. Basically, the main issue with self-esteem is that we make choices that damage it.
So if we choose (perhaps unconsciously) to lower our self-esteem, can we also choose to improve it? I believe we can!
For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline. (2 Timothy 1:7 NASB)
Self-esteem should never be about pride, self-centeredness, or overconfidence. Rather, it should be about realizing our identity in Christ. We don’t have to be ashamed or uncomfortable about who we are if we belong to the King.