She sits quietly under the same Oak Tree day in and day out. Her mind, transported to the scene of whatever novel she may be reading at the time, causes her to appear distant and aloft. As the warm spring breeze gently lifts the stray locks of her hair, she unknowingly smiles as every so gently taking her right hand she tucks the stray hairs behind her ear.
Today, like every day, she is a vision of yellow, welcoming in the season. Her pale yellow sundress falling freely to her ankles, blends perfectly with the soft yellow blanket she has chosen to sit on. As I gaze at her, I see the carefree innocence of youth mixed with the subtle hints of the woman she will one day become.
This vision brings a silent tear to my eyes. The sight transfixes me, as my thoughts begin to run frantically together. I feel a sudden pressure in my chest. My throat begins to burn and I can no longer hold the vision.
Why do I do this? Why do I torture myself? Why do I allow my mind to drift back to those days, the days when nothing was as it appeared? In those days, reading was an escape, a solace, a way to avoid the pain.
For you see, I am that young girl and yet again I have allowed my thoughts to lead me back into my past. A time when I would loose myself in the lives of the characters from my books so that I would not have to face the pain of a love lost.
As I reflect, I can see it all so clearly. Why was it not apparent at the time? How could I have been so blind and unable to see how I was loosing myself? The decisions that I made that went against everything I believed. The untruths that on the surface sounded so good I refused to allow myself to listen to that little voice deep within crying and pleading with me to simply walk away.
You see that young girl is a reflection of what it looks like to loose yourself on the inside while putting on a sunny smile for the world. That young girl is the vision of one who has lost love for herself.
Someone who possesses self-esteem feels capable of meeting life’s challenges and feels worthy of experiencing happiness. On the contrary, those with low self-esteem feel insecure. They are unsure of what normal looks like and feels like. They are not comfortable with themselves or with others. Feelings of uncertainty and discomfort are in every area of their everyday interactions and relationships.
When dealing with relationships romantic or otherwise there are three areas where low-self esteem manifests itself:
A Lack of Self-Love
OK, I know you must be thinking, hey wait a minute now, I love myself! I am sure you do. Nevertheless, ask yourself:
- What are you willing to put up with in a relationship?
- Do you tolerate or make excuses when others disregard your feelings or needs?
- Do you allow yourself to be mistreated or disrespected in any manner, offering the excuse that this is only one time, it will never happen again?
- Does this feel like love?
When there is a lack of self-love, there is a tendency to hide in the shadows of relationships. It is almost as if you pull out the welcome mat and say come on in, here I am, walk all over me! When you do not value yourself and this behavior is allowed to continue you find yourself waking up one morning asking, “How in the world did I get here?”
There is the tendency to hide behind a shield and as women; our shields come in many forms. We so easily hid behind the make-up, the clothes, the cars, the jewelry and the homes. We tell ourselves that as long as everything looks OK on the outside then things will be OK. However, what starts to happen is we begin to attract the opposite of what we are seeking. Because of a lack of love for ourselves, we enter into relationships built on false perceptions.
Holding on to guilt of the past is another area that leads into low self-esteem and produces unhealthy relationships. By carrying around the guilt of the wrongs we have committed we begin to feel that we deserve less than exceptional treatment. We buy into the saying, “What goes around comes around.” So not, true! Once we have sought forgiveness and apologized for our wrongs we are free to move forward with our lives. I have not come across a passage of scripture yet that says we must carry around old guilt and allow it to impact our today!
Inability to View Ourselves as God View Us
Consider 1 Corinthians 13:7, which says love, “Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.”
- Beareth all things – With love, we are able to look past and withstand some degree of what appears to be loveless behavior from another. However, do you allow yourself the same grace that you extend to others? On the other hand, do you become angry and displeased with yourself the moment you make a mistake?
- Believeth all things – Love always maintains faith and is willing to look past circumstantial situations. Love allows us to look beyond past or present hurts to see the hearts of those we hold dear. Do you follow this same scripture, look beyond your past, and love the person you are today?
- Hopeth all things – Love eagerly looks towards the future, having no doubt that God works out all things for the good. Love enables us to move forward and release bitterness and anger. Are you able to view your life with optimism and trust that no matter what you may have been through God has promised that he works everything out for the good?
- Endureth all things – Love holds on tight and in the end, Love never fails. Are you able to hold on and trust that God loves you and his desire is not for you to settle?
About Author: Dr. Crystal M. Consonery is a Faith-Based Clinical Counselor and Life Coach. As well as the Author of several women’s devotional journals. She specialised in the areas of Anxiety/Depression, Self-Esteem and Couples Counseling. To learn more about Dr. Crystal and the services she provides please visit http://www.coffeewithcrystal.weebly.com.