To write this post, I had to reach into a deeper personal level. But I felt I should share it because it is part of who I am today, and forms a part of my journey.
When I was a teenager I had self-esteem problems. I had no self-confidence and a distorted self-image. I always felt that I was 'not good enough' and will never be, so I never bothered to try. I used to compare myself with my other mates and friends, and will always measure myself far below them. I thought I wasn't pretty enough, smart enough , friendly enough, or "cool" enough to fit in. So I usually felt like an outsider, even though I had very good friends who liked me just as I was. And I gave so much concern to what people thought about me. Usually I wouldn't believe the positive things people said about me, but I would focus on negative comments I got. This dragged in my mind all the 'growing-up' years and I thought there was no way out. Sometimes I would psyche myself up, but deep down I didn't even believe myself. Even when I had boyfriends nothing changed. Guys told me I was beautiful, sweet, special etc, but it didn't work. I actually used to wonder what they saw in me or why they liked me. I guess what I'm trying to say is that I didn't like myself no matter who liked me.
This cloud hung over my outlook in life though secondary school and college until I got to uni. I met new people and started coming out of my shell a bit more. Then I realised it just wasn't normal or natural to feel this way about myself. Other people around me had good self-esteem and confidence. I wanted to feel confident and comfortable with myself too. So I started looking for a way out. I tried changing my outward appearance by shopping endlessly for new clothes, shoes, make up, jewellery etc. But the external appearance still did nothing for my internal turmoil. I started hanging out with the 'cooler' people but I gave up because I still didn't find my identity in associations. I started going out with a guy that seemed to like me, but deep down I was still uneasy. When he disappeared, part of me wondered if he just got bored with me. So, no hope of gaining my peace of mind from there.
When I started to take my christian life seriously, I sometimes wondered if I would learn to live with my current state or if God could help me out. One day I popped into my church bookshop with nothing particularly in mind to buy. Then I saw this book: "Prayers That Avail Much for Students " and bought it on a whim. When I opened it, I found some very useful prayers in it, including one for self-esteem! I was so happy to realise that it wasn't just my struggle alone, and I could talk to God about it. I started praying those prayers in the book earnestly everyday. And I also asked God to send people my way that would encourage me, lift me up and help me on my journey.
God answered my prayers. The words in that book built my spirit up gradually. Slowly but surely, I started to realise that all the negative things I had believed about myself for so long were nothing but lies from the pit of hell! I started questioning the voices in my head. Whose opinion were those negative thoughts anyway? Not my heavenly Father's. I began to renew my mind with what God's word tells me about myself, my position in Christ, how much He loves me, how precious I am to Him, and how nothing can separate me from His love. It worked! My whole outlook changed. It was like I became a new person completely. I felt like a heavy load had been taken off my shoulders, and I was now truly free to enjoy my life. Funny enough, I had heard these things before, but I was only just beginning to realise the truth in them, and apply them into my own life. My confidence and self-esteem doesn't come from anywhere else, but from knowing who I am and whose I am.
It was while I was on this journey that I met Mr. At first I wondered how such a wonderful person could like me. I even asked him once or twice, "why do you like me?". He said he saw so much potential within me that I was hiding, and he wanted to bring it out. And ever since, he has been encouraging me, and trying to bring the best out of me. I mentioned in a previous post that he makes me feel so good about myself. As I got to know him more, his own confidence soon started rubbing off on me. And the more I discovered myself and my potential, the more he encouraged me and loved me. Three months into our relationship, I had changed completely. I was such a different person that my friends and family noticed it. That's God's work for you.