Esteem or not esteem, that is the question


Do you like yourself? I mean, really like yourself?

You should. I have no idea what the statistics are, but I suspect most people don't, or at least they don't like themselves as much as they could and should. I have come to believe that low self esteems have led to some of the greater world problems.

Pretty bold statement, I know. But let us think about it. For instance, the bully, whether on a playground or in the role of Iraqi dictator, is wanting to impose his will on others in a cruel way. Why do they do this? Well, I suppose we could just ask, but I haven't gotten close enough to Saddam to find out for sure. However, it seems to me that a large part of why bullies act as they do is because they need that dominance over others to feel good about themselves.

Is this healthy? Most of us don't think so (public opinion as always being right is a whole other can of worms I don't want to open right now). One who needs dominance over another does not feel content with self dominance (also known as self control) and has to look beyond the self. The desire to spread our influence over a broad range is not, in itself, a bad thing, until that desire conflicts with the wishes (and the rights) of others. The bully, having little respect for himself, demonstrates his self concept in how he treats others. Through the poor treatment of others, the bully gains the illusion of control and power, but gains little or no self respect.

That's fine, but not all of us are bullies. In fact, I would hope most of us are not. How does this apply to the rest of us? Well, any time we avoid a challenge, any time we dodge responsibility, any time we mistreat another person, or even think poor thoughts about another person, any time we truly doubt ourselves, we experience the effects of less than ideal self esteem. Is that to say that everyone has low self esteem? No, but most people could like themselves more.

A truly healthy self esteem comes from understanding our relationship with God and developing the communication between ourselves and Him. Anything else we may try will ultimately fail, because of the artificiality of our own solutions. We must not rely on the arm of flesh but trust in God and allow him to lift us higher. Remember that only through the Savior can a person ever improve, in any way.

Thank you for listening.

© Matthew Rutherford 1998

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