Thursday, May 9, 2019

A Healthy Self-Esteem and Self-Image

A Healthy Self-Esteem and Self-Image
By Christina Morley

I have four children; three are adults and one is an adolescent. Being a parent, I have endeavored to give each child encouragement and praise as often as needed. In other words, I have tried to build up their self-esteem. I want them to be confident individuals and not inclined to compare themselves to others.

Let me give you an example of a healthy self-esteem. When my youngest daughter, Amanda, was around 9 years old, I drove her to a friend’s birthday party. The mom and daughter met us as we were walking up to the house. The friend was excited to see Amanda and exclaimed to her mother, “This is Amanda! She’s the smartest kid in our class!” Amanda quickly responded, “One of the three smartest.” By amending her friend’s statement, Amanda was putting her ability into perspective while accepting the praise.

Having a good self-esteem is not the same as having a big ego. Kids are prone to thinking too highly of themselves when they can do no wrong in their parents’ eyes. Unfortunately, some parents are not only guilty of raising narcissistic children, but also guilty of teaching their kids to hate others. These kids later become adults who think the world revolves around them and their egos.

One way to combat egocentricity is to be sober-minded by not thinking too highly of yourself. It’s about being sensible or pragmatic. It’s about knowing your strengths and weaknesses and being aware that you aren’t a god. If you are sober-minded, you will know that you need God in your life and that apart from God, you can do nothing with lasting success. You will also not be rigid or dogmatic in your beliefs. You will be of the shared belief that we all see through a glass dimly.

Another way to combat egocentricity is to practice kindness and generosity. Instead of focusing on yourself, focus on others. We all go through times when we focus on ourselves and get so wrapped up in our own problems that we become stressed, anxious, or depressed. By shifting our focus and taking note of others (paying attention to their needs), we can figure out ways that we can get practically involved. Helping others has a profound ability to improve our emotional and physical well-being!

A good self-esteem means that you feel positive about yourself without any grandiose ideas. A good self-image is similar. It’s being able to see yourself in a favorable light and to believe that others do to. How much time is wasted worrying about what people think of you? American jokesmith Olin Miller once stated, “You probably wouldn’t worry about what people think of you if you could know how seldom they do.” That puts it into perspective!

When I was in the 8th grade, our school had a dance. The dress code for the girls was a cocktail dress or something similar. My mom took me to one store and I had to find my dress there. I can’t remember what her reason was, but it certainly limited my options. I found one dress that suited me and it was a hideous mustard-yellow. I didn’t want to feel embarrassed the entire time, so I decided to own that dress. I went to the dance with my head held high and a big smile on my face. I wasn’t going to let others dictate how I felt about myself. If anyone wanted to make a rude comment about the color, I was prepared to tell them that I agreed with them, but surprisingly, kids complimented me on my dress!

People with a good self-image don’t try to be someone they aren’t. They don’t want to be someone else either! They are happy in their own skin doing their best with the personality, skills, and talent that are uniquely theirs.

My kids - from youngest to oldest (left to right):
Amanda, Samantha, Jessica, and Jeremiah

Christina Morley is the author of Happy Moms, Happy Homes. She’s also a blogger, volunteer reader at the Blind Institute, and ministers alongside her husband at a Christian drug and alcohol rehab.

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