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Many people who are living with a severe and persistent mental illness are familiar with the feelings of low self-esteem and low self worth. Ongoing psychiatric symptoms, frequent hospitalizations, limited opportunities for employment, and housing can all add to, or aggravate feelings of inadequacy and decrease self esteem. Other individuals may have been the victims of abuse, unkind words or have had visible handicaps that made them feel inferior or weak. In fact, feelings of low self-esteem can add to feelings of depression, sadness, and negative thoughts; all of which work together to defeat us and cause us to miss living the best life that God has for us.
When we as people begin to think about the limitations and failures in our lives, we may be tempted to feel that we will never be able to live a fulfilling or rewarding life or that it is too late for us. We may look at our present negative circumstances and feel as if there is no hope, and that all we are is what we are now and those things will never change. Now understand, as Christians we are admonished to examine ourselves by the Word of God. Yet, it is one thing to take an honest assessment of what is going on in our lives and to seek God for a plan to change some of those things and another thing to take those negative situations and allow them to limit the power of God that is in us. Understand that God already knows our weaknesses and limitations, so we can be honest with him about our lives, but most importantly we have to be honest with ourselves; knowing that He has a plan to mold and shape us into His image, in His own way and time.
Self-esteem can be influenced by factors outside of ourselves, but the real work has to be based on the Word of God and from the inside out. Our feelings of being worthwhile must come from the Word of God not from other people or circumstances in our lives. Understand, that if we place all the responsibility for our self-esteem on others, then when others let us down then we are down and when others feel like encouraging us then we are encouraged. That is no way to live; we must learn to be confident in God and his estimation of us as believers in Jesus Christ. Having a God based self-esteem, however does not mean that we will never have areas in our lives that require the correction of God, it just means that when he does correct us we will not run away from him or think he does not love us.
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