“For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid,
but gives us power, love and self-discipline.” ~2 Timothy 1:7
Are you feeling beat down by your insecurities? Do you feel like a failure as a mom? Do you believe you are not good enough? Like, you cannot love your children well enough?
Well, many people have these same insecurities that keep us from living the best life we can possibly live. Let me say this, we have the Spirit of God inside of us which gives us the power to come out of shame and enable us to love and be loved. Being a well-rounded person is difficult when we have low self-esteem or lack self-confidence. The mental imbalance will affect how we parent a child. For instance, how we feel about ourselves will influence the way we raise our children to feel about themselves. Then, we will accept being treated any kind of way by others and/or in our personal relationships.
It is time to change the culture of motherhood by changing our perspective or outlook of how we view ourselves. It is easy to pick out our flaws and weaknesses than to take it as an opportunity to improve those things that we allow to define our identity and cause us to live in shame. God knows we are not perfect, we are “fearfully and wonderfully made,” oh how marvelous is His work and we need to know this full well (Psalm 139:14). It is in our weaknesses that God uses His power in our lives. If you do not believe me, read His word: “But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me” (2 Corinthians 12:9).
Our confidence comes from our faith resting on God’s limitless, Almighty power that is always working things together for our good. That is why, for Christ’s sake, Paul said he was glad in his weakness because he knew Christ’s power is on him all the more. He said, “I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:10).
Self-Esteem vs. Self-Confidence
Now, let’s get to the core of the problem. Low self-esteem and/or lack of confidence will cause us to do some terrible things in our lives or even be the root of our poor behavioral issues. Self-confidence and self-esteem are two behavioral health concepts that are main concerns for mothers today. The two have different meanings and should not be understood as one and the same. We can have self-confidence, but have low self-esteem and vice versa. Madelyn Fernstrom, Ph.D., states that self-confidence is outward facing, the ability to interact successfully with the world around us. Self-esteem is inward facing, an emotional and cognitive assessment of our own “worth,” of self-respect and how we value ourselves. Self-esteem problems should not be ignored because it is the filter through which our everyday life is lived, and the basis for how we interact with the world in both personal and work relationships. If we do not value ourselves, it will lead to negative behaviors, like the constant need to please others, or always being submissive. Both self-esteem and self-confidence takes time to build, to point is getting started.
Dare to Live With Confidence and A Boost of Self-esteem
“So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded.
You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God,
you will receive what he has promised” (Hebrews 10:35-36).
In speaking of lack self-esteem/confident, I thought of Sally, Susan, and a young man name John. They all went to the same neighborhood junior high school. When I first met Sally, she was a beautiful person inside and out. Everyone seemed to like her in school. Her family was known to be good fighters and she held her own too. She used to suck her thumb so it messed her teeth up in the front. I always thought that she was a pleasant, sweet, and kind girl. Her problem was low self-esteem.
She participated in school activities and seemed lively, but what I noticed about her was that she did not like herself. She was generous, but it appeared that her generosity was a way to gain friendships. Then she became infatuated with John. Whatever their relationship was during school it did not change her status in public which I believe was on more of his part than hers. This relationship continued on throughout high school, no one really knew if they were boyfriend/girlfriend. Then came Susan with the same fascination in John. Well, Sally did not have an official status with John, so he was open game. I watched the two girls take turns spending time with him while at the same time in all actuality both girls were miserable in the relationship. I guess today’s term for this kind of relationship is called a “situationship” in both cases. They both were content with pursuing him. Then Sally became pregnant and everyone knew it was his baby. It was a baby girl. John and his family were very supportive of the baby. This baby was definitely loved by everyone that knew the parents. However, the parents had a strained and painful relationship that became physically abusive. His abuse was not exclusive from Susan.
I can never forget one night Sally, John, and his family had went out and apparently the two had been arguing the entire way home. At the time, I was dating the oldest brother and I don’t believe she knew I was there in the house when they came home. They went to bed so that the baby could go to sleep. Instead the two continued to argue until it turned physical. He kicked and beat Sally down the steps. Another one of his brothers, joined in to carry her out the house while she kept screaming for her daughter. I was very upset with what was taking place and jumped up to help her but the brother that I was dating insisted that I stay out of it.
Well, she stayed outside weeping and knocking on the door for her daughter. Then that same brother and John went outside and proceeded to maltreat the girl using fist and sticks. Where was the boys’ mother during all of this? She was right there doing nothing about it. In fact, she was in the bedroom with them when the fight started. They would not give the child to her so Sally could go home.
This is a description of what all of John’s and his brother’s relationships with girls were like. Not long after that night, Sally discontinued intimate relationship with him and he continued to have a relationship with his daughter. In the meantime, Susan continue to pursue him and the relationship was no different than the way it was with Sally. The brother I was dating, well, let’s just say, we went out and he got jealous of another man. When we got outside, while we were sitting in the club, he held a gun at my side. His mother’s comment was “that’s what she get for wanting to date a man.” As if that type of behavior is expected of grown men.
The moral point is Sally had low self-esteem and devalued herself, Susan was over confident in herself, as a result they both did whatever they could to be in his life when John’s family history could have told them not to chase after him. The brothers’ father was physically abusive to their mother. In addition, the boys were heavy drinkers since they were middle school age. The mother was very permissive and passive with the boys allowing them to do whatever they wanted and she was right there to support them in their bad actions and habits. The mother turned on me when I did not allow the oldest brother to treat me in such a manner; it did not take long for me to move out and away from that family. By the way, Susan was still smitten by him enough to have his baby as well. In fact, she began to drink a lot as well probably due to her mother’s alcoholism. They stayed in non-status for a few years longer until she finally got him as a boyfriend and later husband but not without a lot of battle scars.
A Mother’s Lesson
The point of these two ladies stories is to help us not be so desperate to be with someone because we lack self-esteem or confidence in ourselves to do better. When a man show us kindness and the contrary is present in the relationship, do not build a fantasy off of what we perceived to be kindness without considering his character. If a man doesn’t treat us with respect then he doesn’t deserve us. Self-respect will not allow us to make someone greater than we are or make us a footstool, nor a punching bag. Self-respect will help us to choose better life partners. There is a saying “if he hit you once then he probably will do it again.” The man that we decide to date should be able to treat us the same in public as he does in private. Therefore, if something is going on in our private relationship that cannot be publicized than it should not be happening. It is not wise to pursue a man that does not respect us as women or mothers. Build healthy relationships that complement who we are and not diminish our character. Get to know who he really is and not ignore certain character flaws before we decide that he is the right one for us.
Furthermore, in this story, the brothers was a product of what they witnessed happen in their mother’s abusive marriage. Could it be that they thought it was normal to treat their babies’ mothers the same way? Better yet, why did the mother condone such behavior from her sons? Please think about this in raising our children, if we have a girl, she may grow to believe that this is acceptable behavior, and if we have a boy, he may grow up to believe that is the way to treat women. As mothers, we have to be a good example for our children to follow; we cannot allow our children to be abusive or stay in an abusive relationship, remember, the children are witnesses.
Building our self-esteem and self-confidence means taking the time to think about the qualities we like to work on, and look for some practical solutions. We must learn to accept ourselves and avoid comparing ourselves to others. We must develop a mentality that we are good enough and no one is better or more deserving than us. Keep going. Keep trying. Keep asking, seeking, and knocking.