Most people have a sense that they are not adequate, and it is true: no one is completely adequate. Our inadequacies can be unpleasant to dwell on; most people do not reflect on why they view themselves the way they do. Usually there are painful experiences to confront, and how fun is that? Most people either tune out their inner thoughts and feelings, or they hear the negative thoughts loud and clear, but the positives are drowned out. That is unfortunate because your inner voice is what must have expression in order to improve your self-esteem.
When I think of low self-esteem, I think of an inward negative impression of oneself. Poor self-esteem ultimately comes from believing false things about yourself. When you believe lies, you become lies, and you act upon lies! One of the biggest lies out there is that the source of self-esteem is a long list of accomplishments. In fact, the accomplishments are only a by-product of a healthy self-image. If you could only have one or the other of self-esteem and accomplishments, which would you choose?
Confidence is a better word to use than self-esteem. When I think of confidence, I think of someone who is consistently participating, interacting, and experiencing life based on sober judgment. Romans 12:3 says, “For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you.” The confident person is not afraid to try and fail. The confident person is a lifetime learner. The confident person has both accomplishments and humility because of their acts of faith. But the person with low self-esteem sees themselves as not matching up with others, and so they give up on being who God made them to be.
Confidence comes by opening oneself up authentically to safe relationships with God and others. Each of us has a mission from God to work out who we are. 2 Peter 1:10 says, “Therefore, my brothers, be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure.”
If you are depressed and lack confidence, then it can be hard to see the positives. Exploring new territory and discovering who you are can be hard when you already feel lost where you are at. Professional counseling provides an objective relationship that seeks your ultimate good and growth. A counselor can help you start taking those steps to explore yourself in uncharted territory.