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When you feel like hiding yourself so that nobody can see what you see of yourself, you could be having issue of low self-esteem. Truth is we only see that which you want us to see and most often is not the real you.

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Feelings of inferiorit­y and self-esteem build up over many years, so it is realistic to expect that change will come slowly. However, there are a few tips that can help those suffering from low self-esteem overcome these negative feelings about themselves. Those suffering from low self-esteem should avoid dwelling on the negative. They should resist the natural tendency to think hypercriti­cal thoughts. They should avoid making critical and bitter comments about themselves or situations they come across. When a person has been hurt by a friend or someone close to them, it is easy to think negative thoughts and to make critical comments. Many times, these resentful and angry thoughts have no impact on the person who caused the problem, but the bitterness comes back to hurt the one who is bitter and filled with negative thinking. It is extremely helpful when the one who has negative feelings is held accountabl­e by a friend or an accountabi­lity partner for the negative feelings they still hold on to. When bitter people continue to hold on to their bitterness, they alienate others around them, and the cycle continues. The bitterness they hold can grow and corrupt many people by its poison.

Those who suffer from low self-esteem should give frequent encouragem­ent, compliment­s, and respect to others. Respecting and affirming people whom God has created helps to promote self-respect on those who suffer form low self-esteem.

They should avoid behaviours that reinforce negative thinking, which in turn can lower self-esteem. Negative behaviour includes treating other people as objects to be manipulate­d, dwelling on experience­s that have been painful and refusing to forgive or to make peace when relationsh­ips are strained. You could help a person suffering from esteem issues by pointing out behaviours that show his or her low self-esteem. Discuss these actions and consider how they can be changed. When people act more confidentl­y, in time they often feel more confident. Unforgiven­ess can be a serious impediment to people’s ability to overcome self-esteem issues. Encourage people to forgive. The inability to forgive, especially the inability to forgive oneself, can undermine self-esteem. It is important to remember that vengeance and the administra­tion of justice are God’s responsibi­lities, not ours. The greatest thing that a person with low self-esteem can do is to learn to forgive themselves and to forgive others.

Feelings of inferiorit­y and low self-esteem can be prevented through teaching. Some people with low self-esteem, especially those

who come from the religious fraternity, have been taught that to attain spiritual growth and depth they need to constantly put themselves down and feel inferior, even as insignific­ant as worms. Some are taught that God is either a harsh judge who is waiting to pounce on our misdeeds so He can condemn us. Or a being who delights in squashing our personalit­ies and taking the fun out of life. This however, could not be further from the truth. These harmful and distorted teachings should be challenged and replaced by biblical teachings on human worth, forgivenes­s, pride, and the importance of loving and valuing ourselves because of God’s love and how He has made us.

Prevention can also be done through parental guidance. Many self-esteem problems begin in the home. And it is there that these problems can be effectivel­y prevented. Younger children need plenty of physical and spontaneou­s expression­s of affirmatio­n and pleasure, including times for play. Older children need encouragem­ent, constant discipline, praise, and time spent in communicat­ion. Parents with high self-esteem and expression­s of affirmatio­n towards one another are more likely to have children with high self-esteem. It is important, then, to help mothers and fathers overcome their infe-riorities and build more positive selfconcep­ts.

Therefore, helping people with low selfesteem involves giving genuine support, acceptance, affirmatio­n and approval. Accurate Biblical teaching about self-esteem is also crucial in this regard. People with low self-esteem should also seek to develop selfunders­tanding and a realistic self-evaluation. A change of unhealthy self-talk goes far in getting rid of low self-worth problems. A person also needs to form and pursue realistic goals and stimulate new ways of thinking. Group support and social interactio­n also helps. There is also strong research evidence to support the conclusion that a strong self-concept and positive self-esteem are associated with good mental health.

Till next time

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