What defines you?
Welcome! In this blog post, I want to explore the topics of low-self esteem, what defines you as a person, and identity. I have written poems, stories, and shared real journal entries I wrote. I also share some of my personal experience. I hope to encourage readers and help them realize they are not alone in their struggles.
So, who are you? What do you think of yourself? What defines you? Are you defined by your grades? The classes you take? What about the number of friends you have? None! You have no friends? Only one!? You must not be interesting. Not good enough. Sports? Varsity. JV, water boy! Ha, at least I’m not that. Are you defined by your circumstances? What if you just moved? What if you just don’t know anyone yet? What if your dad or mom lost their job? Are you numbers? Weight, GPA, followers? Are you what people tell you who you are? If the whole school thinks I’m a loser then, who I am to tell them otherwise? I need to get more friends. If I just had cooler clothes. He’s the quarterback, she’s the cheerleader, they’re the losers. Just try harder. I’m almost there. Almost what I need to be. Almost enough. Is this all I am? Just a runner, just a loser? What if I told you are so much more. Words don’t define you. Actions don’t define you. Your mistakes don’t define you because you’re forgiven. These things that ‘ define’ us always are changing and shifting, so how can we be secure. What if there was a place where you were free to be you? That you’re weird, crazy, broken self is enough. What if numbers didn’t matter. What really defines us? Who are we? We are loved, forgiven, delighted in, cherished, and perfect with the love of Jesus Christ. So stop being defined by these things and stop defining others by this too. You are so much more. You are > than enough.
This post is about who you are, what defines you, and having low self-esteem. In an article I found while researching self-hatred statistics, the author described low self-esteem as a disorder where your negative thoughts about yourself becoming consuming and affect daily activities. 7 out of 10 girls have the belief that they aren’t good enough, aren’t pretty enough and so on. What creates this desire to be perfect? This feeling that who we are isn’t enough? For me personally, these thoughts were never a part of my world until recently. At the end of 7th grade, I had to move. I said goodbye to all my friends, my house that had been home for over ten years, and said goodbye to everything I had ever known. Moving meant starting completely over. I had to make new friends and create a different life for myself. I had trouble making friends at my new school. After a while with absolutely no success, I started wondering what I was doing wrong. This was the beginning of my self-hatred. It started out small, I would have these thoughts that I must be saying the wrong thing. The biggest mistake I made was letting these thoughts in. Once this started, it continued to grow. I started thinking that I didn’t have a good enough personality. Then I didn’t think I had one at all. Not good enough, not pretty enough, stupid, unlikable, not valuable. It went on and on. I got extremely depressed. I honestly thought no one in the world loved me; I was not valuable or special. I would cry every night and could hardly function. My grades started falling. I hated going to school every day. I would wake up and the only thing I could look forward to was going to bed. I was depressed, lonely, confused, and not heading down a good road. Most days I wasn’t sure if I could make it.This hatred of myself took over every aspect of my life, and I was the center of it all. This is still something I struggle with, and I don’t think I will ever love every single part about myself. But I have learned important lessons through this that I hope to share with others and encourage them. I hope that through this others will have the strength to keep going and hunger to be the best version of themselves that they can.
Where I Found My Identity:
If you base identity on anything other than the Bible, in my experience, it always fails. I used to say ‘ Once I have this many friends, I’ll be happy; Once I become more popular, that will do it’. If you base your identity on yourself, you will thrive for awhile, but then either let yourself down or realize it didn’t satisfy you. What if a secret you’ve been keeping gets out and all your friends kick you out of the group? Who are you then? What if you make a HUGE mistake? Is that who you are? I’ve learned that my worth is found in Christ. I don’t want this blog to just be “For Christians,” it’s advice for everyone. This one portion is just my personal findings. But do understand, this identity and worth is offered to everyone.
Quote of the Year:
A great theologian I was introduced to as a child stated one great truth that still stays with me ” Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind, don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind” -Dr.Seuss
Looking at the key issues that cause low self-esteem can help us get a better perspective and improve negative thoughts. I think there are main issues leading to low self-esteem. Comparison, fear of others (Their opinion), and striving to be perfect.
- Comparison: Comparing yourself to others is dangerous because you can never be just like them. The good news is, you’re not supposed to be! I have trouble with comparing myself to others especially because I’m extremely competitive. It’s hard knowing there is always someone smarter, prettier, or braver, unless you are an Olympic champion, but most of us are not. There’s one thing you have that no one else does, you were uniquely and specially made! You don’t have to be the smartest person in the world because you are already the best at being you! Nothing good can ever come from comparison. You were made with your own sparkle so stop trying to look sideways at someone else to steal theirs. ” I want to stop comparing and start celebrating who God has made me to be.” -Lysa Terkeurst. Instead of comparing yourself to others, focus on being the best you that you can.
- Fear of others: The opinion of others can hold you back from being your true self. Personally, I need to know someone well before I can feel comfortable being with them. If we focus on living for others, it creates a tight trap that confines us. You can never please everyone, so stop trying! Fearing the opinions of others makes life scary, unenjoyable and stressful. It’s hard to break this and won’t happen at once but think about whose opinions really matter.
- Striving to be perfect: The world tends to set unrealistic standards for people. Body size, height, clothing collection, number of friends. This one also ties into comparison. Stop looking at what you don’t have and believe that how you are is enough. Striving to be perfect or to live up to meet a certain standard is exhausting. So much peace is found when you become content with what you have.
What we feel versus the truth:
They won’t notice. They won’t care. They are better off without me. I’m not a valued part. I’m not special. I’m nothing. I need help. I’m broken, not okay. Would anyone even care? Is this you? The boy with the aching heart? The girl who feels the pain behind my words? The ones who are struggling to just stay afloat, smiling through pain and hiding their tears? I want to tell you the truth. I understand your pain, I hide the same scars. My job is to speak truth. I know it’s easier to hide behind the lies, But hear me.There are so many people who care about you. So many people who would miss you if you left. So many people you have impacted. What are you? You are beautiful. You are enough. You don’t need to change a single thing about yourself. Your feelings are not always true. You cannot draw conclusions based off just feelings. A quote I related to correlating to this issue is: “Your worst battle is between what you know and what you feel.” Even when it seems like it will never get better, trust me, it will. It may improve and then crash again but it’s a battle. But I know, you’re strong enough warrior. Fight with all you have. This doesn’t define who you are
Fighting Negative Thoughts:
After developing a habit of these negative thoughts about myself, it was a hard pattern to break. Constantly speak truth to yourself. Surround yourself with friends who build you up, encourage you to be you, and fight for and with you. When you feel extremely sad or depressed, try to do something other than sit. It’s okay to cry, it’s even okay to desperately cry. But don’t let crying consume you. If anything, turn on music. If you can journal your feelings or try to get up and do something. Being with people also helps but I know the struggle of that. I felt lonelier with people most times.Keep getting back up even on your hardest days. Things will get better.
Other Artists and Songs:
7 out of 10Artists: Britt Nicole, Lecrae, Jamie Grace, Laura Story, Francesca Battistelli, Moriah Peters, TobyMac, Lauren Daigle, for KING and COUNTRY, Hawk Nelson, and MercyMe.
This was originally supposed to be a short list, as you can see that plan changed. These songs have been songs that speak truth into my life. They deal with real, deep issues I can connect with. I love listening to these songs as I get ready for school to encourage me and set my thoughts straight. If you are in a dark place, have had a bad day, overwhelmed or discouraged, music can help encourage, calm you and your feelings.
Don’t buy into the lies. Be strong enough to see the truth. You are valuable. You are special. Who you are is more than enough.