Daily Devotions

Better than Self-Esteem

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God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. (Psalm 46:1)

 

Articles and self-help books are everywhere trying to boost society’s self-esteem. I’ve always cringed, because self-esteem can easily run amuck and become arrogant self-centeredness. Mock self-esteem has also created a segment of our society that believes so much in themselves and whatever they do, without the knowledge and experience to back up their claims. This can lead to depression and despair when reality and rejection inevitably ensue. A healthy self-image is important. So what is the alternative to focusing on self-esteem?

 

Melody Wilding writings an enlightening article entitled Why Successful People Choose Self-Compassion Over Self-Esteem. Self-Esteem leaves us with few tools for addressing mistakes, failures, and other shortcomings, other than ignoring them. Ms. Wilding affirms another way of developing confidence and personal growth.

 

Ms. Wilding quotes Dr. Kristin Neff, an Associate Professor and an authority on Self-Compassion at the University of Texas, Austin, who states, “Instead of mercilessly judging and criticizing yourself for various inadequacies or shortcomings, self-compassion means you are kind and understanding when confronted with personal failings — after all, who ever said you were supposed to be perfect?” When we are able to confront our failings and shortcomings with tenderness and respect, we are able to learn, grow and improve. Self-Esteem alone is not capable of addressing the truth and learning necessary for personal growth and integrity.

 

Today, think about ways you could benefit from Self-Compassion. At its best, Self-Compassion gets to the place where we are confident of our abilities and the ability to make a positive difference. The way to make that happen is through personal reflection and learning. Think of a personal issue in your life where you could improve. Perhaps it is an anger issue, or impulsiveness, or some other shortcoming. Focus on talking to yourself with kindness and patience. Give yourself enough distance to look at yourself with honesty. Don’t use failure language. Pray for God to give you the wisdom and confidence to learn from your own actions. It is painful at first, but can become more comfortable - and that allows for greater awareness. Begin today by thinking of ways you can be compassionate with yourself. It could improve the rest of your life.

The Facebook Challenge

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When pride comes, then comes disgrace; but wisdom is with the humble.” (Proverbs 11:2)

 

I remember an article I read some months ago, about how Facebook creates depression. It said that individuals who read other people’s Facebook sites often get depressed because everyone else’s life looks better than his/her own. Ironically, it appears that everyone’s life looks better on Facebook than it is in real life. Even those with amazing Facebook pictures are less than happy. We try so hard to make our lives look amazing on Facebook that reality can feel disappointing.

 

There is a fine line between putting your best foot forward and being deceptive. When you post on Facebook, think about why you are making a particular post. Is your motivation to show friends and family different aspects of your life? Then, your post is probably fine. If, being totally honest, your post is to upstage someone else, leave that post off your site. If your motivation is to upstage, someone else is probably being hurt. Also, in some subtle form, the way you present yourself affects your own expectations. You can look at your own site and say to yourself, “Why isn’t my life as happy and exciting as my Facebook page?” Others are not the only ones who can be depressed by your site. You can depress yourself, as well.

 

Today, think about the way you wish to present yourself to the world. How do you want your friends and family to view you? Are you naturally grandiose, or do you tend to be a more reserved person? Does your Facebook page match your personality? Finally, remember, “envy” is one of the seven deadly sins. Do not let envy steal your happiness. Show others your real life, with honest joys and passions. Vacations are fun and worthy of sharing, but so are your hobbies, your faith, and your mission concerns. The more balance you bring to your website, the more enjoyable your Facebook page might just be to others as well as yourself.

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