I find the stages of life interesting. Do you ever sit back and consider each stage and why you react to things the way you do? Do you ever find it interesting that every generation suffers through the same tendencies of control in the name of independence and/or the need to reach out and seek love and acceptance? Just in different situations?
I grew up in a financially poor family, but one full of hugs. My dad was a very hard working individual, working 6 and sometimes 7 days a week just to put food on the table. My mom was a homemaker for 1/2 of my childhood years raising myself and 3 of my sisters. So as you can understand we had quite a bustling household.
My "self-esteem" issues began I think around 8. This is when I started reaching out for affirmation that I was beautiful, smart, funny, and that I mattered to someone. You know, all of the same things that every girl likes to feel.
As time wore on, my need for affirmation grew and in a society of Seventeen magazine and Jordache jeans (which we could never afford), I always felt under-loved and under-appreciated. Now this isn't to say that anyone made me feel that way, mind you. This was always my perception.
This need would follow me for many years. This need changed my outlook on myself, on my life, the choices which I made, the people I hung out with, etc . . . There were many tears, many moments of self pity and many prayers which sounded like "Lord, why did you make me this way?"
It grieves me to see the young ladies of today go through even a small ounce of this. I will find myself saying quite often, "If I only knew then what I know today. . . . "
So I come to this conclusion, 1st- How can I help those find their worth? 2nd- What is it that I would tell that 8 year old girl from 32 years ago?
I think I would start with a couple of verses:
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.
2 Corinthians 12:9
But He said to me: "My Grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me..
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus..
I can do All Things through Christ who strengthens me..
In these short verses we learn: We are beautiful, God made us and therefore He made us beautifully. It's okay to be weak, we are strong in Him. Do not worry, lift up your worries to God, He will guard your heart and your mind. I can do All things through Christ.
How to make an 8 year old understand these things? A 16 year old? A 21 year old? A 30 year old? Well first, they must have the relationship. Then I believe these verses (and others which The Holy Spirit blesses) be memorized, placed on a mirror for daily introspection. A mentor reminding and guiding in the way to develop and strengthen a relationship with Jesus.
I memorized Bible Verses when I was younger, but I did not understand the relationship until the last 10 years. Does that mean you have to be an adult to have such relationship? Absolutely not, but you must open your heart to Him first. And as with any relationship, there is building involved. Conversation (Prayer), Spending time Learning the Heart (Reading the Bible), Enjoying time together (Worship / Devotion). These things learned whether at 8, 16, 21, 30 or even 40 like me will only develop the peace that much sooner allows you to live the Full and Beautiful Life God intended.
And the affirmation I was always seeking? Well, the affirmation was always there, My Heavenly Father always thought I was beautiful, smart, funny, loved, appreciated. I just couldn't see it because I was seeking it from other people, instead if from Him. I traded my self esteem for His High Esteem.
I Love you Father, thank you for your creating me, for loving me and believing in me, thank you for washing away my self esteem so I can hold You in the Highest Esteem.
Your Loving Daughter