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Switch to Forum Live View Source of One's Self-Esteem?
6 years ago  ::  Nov 10, 2008 - 12:40PM #1
ArnieBeeGut
Posts: 1,407
How have the difficulties in your marriage or relationship affected your self-esteem?

What does one's self-esteem come from?  Does it come entirely from within, or does it come from how you are seen by others or by society?  Is it some combination of these things, or perhaps something else entirely?

Blessings,
Arnie
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6 years ago  ::  Nov 10, 2008 - 1:09PM #2
Cesmom
Posts: 4,594
[QUOTE=ArnieBeeGut;885541]How have the difficulties in your marriage or relationship affected your self-esteem?[/QUOTE]

Interesting question.  I think that the difficulties in my marriage have affected my self-esteem in both positive and negative ways. 

At times, I have felt like I was weak (something I've never wanted to be seen as) or not good enough or smart enough to make the decisions or take the action needed to have a happy marriage or let go of an unhappy marriage.  I've doubted how I've dealt with many situations in our marriage, all the way down to doubting my choice in a marriage partner. 

Eventually, things got to the point for us that I felt that I needed to let go of my husband to a great extent.  I don't know if that was the healthiest thing for our marriage, but it did prove to me that I am completely capable of functioning on my own if needed.  His willingness to work toward a solution to our problems when things got to their worst also reminded me that I am worth him doing that.  There were times that I allowed myself to doubt that.


[QUOTE=ArnieBeeGut;885541]What does one's self-esteem come from?  Does it come entirely from within, or does it come from how you are seen by others or by society?  Is it some combination of these things, or perhaps something else entirely?

Blessings,
Arnie[/QUOTE]

In a perfect world, I think all or at least almost all of our self-esteem would come from within.  It requires a great deal of self-confidence for a person to be able to say that, though.  As much as I would like to say that it is not, my self-esteem is definitely affected to a certain extent by others in my life and how I believe they see me.
Our need to learn should always outweigh our need to be right

It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.

More people would learn from their mistakes if they weren't so busy denying them.
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6 years ago  ::  Nov 10, 2008 - 2:26PM #3
Anesis
Posts: 1,542
It seems to me that from a Christian stand point much of our self esteem comes from Christ.

[FONT=Arial][COLOR=Black][SIZE=2]It seems to me that if this were true, all Christians would have very healthy self esteem all the time. Unfortunately that is not the case.

People influence one another. Some people can influence us more than others. If we love someone and value their opinion, the will have more influence than someone who is a distant acquaintance. A teacher may have more influence than another student. A parent may have more influence than a cousin.

We are brought up in community, not in isolation. If you observe two children, one who is very attractive and one who is rather homely, you will notice that when they grow up, they will have different self concepts. The cute one will feel more confident in who they are, and the homely one may always have issues with their appearance. What happens in our childhood doesn't determine the rest of our lives, but certainly has great influence over who we become. Of course, a child has not got the self awareness or developmental maturity to recognize these things, and therefore choose to either allow or not allow other's opinions to influence them. They simply do, and there is nothing we can do about it.

I do not believe that Christianity (or any faith persuasion), psychology, and sociology work in isolation. I believe they are all interconnected, and as our self awareness grows, we can see the various influences each has on our own growth and development.

The Bible talks about the influence we have on someone else. Proverbs is full of sayings about how we work together as part of a whole system rather than in isolation; how we in fact can influence and be influenced by others.

A couple of examples:

[/COLOR][/SIZE][/FONT]  Proverbs 26:22
The words of a whisperer are like dainty morsels, and they go down into the innermost parts of the body.
 
and

Proverbs 16:24
Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.



and


[FONT="]Proverbs 25:15
By forbearance a ruler may be persuaded, and a soft tongue breaks the bone

[/FONT]suggest that our words can even have a profound effect on someone's physical condition.

Proverbs 15:4
A soothing tongue is a tree of life, but perversion in it crushes the spirit.
 
and

Proverbs 12:18
There is one who speaks rashly like the thrusts of a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.
 
suggest that the words of another have huge influence over other's emotions.

Proverbs 18:21
Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.
 
suggests that our words can be so powerful that we have the ability to influence even life and death in the life of another.

Reckless words pierce like a sword.....they hurt! And if you are exposed to little more than belittling and criticism, eventually it becomes so internalized that you believe you are not even worthy of life itself. Sure, there is Christ. But even that can be rationalized away by saying he is God - he has to love me, and he loves everyone else too, so I'm still not special. How can we really know the love of Christ? We can know it as it is lived out in those who claim to be believers. That brings us right back to the fact that other people can influence how we feel about ourselves.

It is indeed a complex system that works together. Of course there are also psychological factors as well such as temperament and personality. All of this works together to establish what we really think of ourselves, and attempting to isolate self esteem to one or another persuasion is imho, completely foolish, and perhaps even a cop-out.

Here is a verse that I find particularly interesting, as it pertains to the whole communication issue:

2 Timothy 2:14
Remind them of these things, and solemnly charge them in the presence of God not to wrangle about words, which is useless and leads to the ruin of the hearers.
 
This suggests to me that we can argue until we are blue all over regarding words and how they can hurt or heal, bring life or death, but in the end it is all futile to sit there and waste time and self esteem in trying to figure it all out. Imho, time is well spent in using healing words, bringing life, and finding others with whom to associate who do likewise. That is a healthy environment.
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6 years ago  ::  Nov 10, 2008 - 8:41PM #4
ArnieBeeGut
Posts: 1,407
Great responses - thank you!

CESMom, you raise a concrete example of how other-oriented esteem can lead to difficulties.  Having a part of one's esteem comes from approval from spouse or from being a "good wife" or "good husband" makes a great deal of sense, as long as the marriage is basically okay.  But if the marriage starts ti get into trouble, now one is "less that" because the spouse's approval has been lost, their role as a wife or husband is all of a sudden in jeapardy (or may even vanish, as with divorce).  It is ironic that in "letting go" the very elements that allowed your marriage to heal were activated.  I have seen this kind of dynamic in other couples, btw.

DAH, I see the point about Christ being the source for Christians (and persumably G-d or Allah being the source for Jews and Muslims, respectively).  I also like the distinction between esteem and pride - for me the former is an essential quality (the "Christ within" perhaps) whereas pride comes from ego.

I also believe that Free Will gives us the choice to accept or not accept it - so I would say that Christians have the opportunity to choose to tap into the source, if they wish.  In this context, then, perhaps "dying to self" might mean "dying to ego" or "dying to pride."

Anesis, I agree that we are influenced by people, and also that as children we do not possess much ability to filter out what is enhancing and what is damaging to our esteem.  So I would even go beyond "influence" with children to say that their esteem is nearly all determined by what they encounter.

For me self-esteem goes deeper than mere influence, and is more of an essential quality.  I also see a substantial part of the process of adult healing being healing the wounds that damaged esteem in childhood.

I agree that time spent positively with those who help lift us up is far better than quarreling over words.  What makes some discussions worth having, imo, is not so much the words but the underlying ideas and concepts.  And these generally require words to express.

Blessings,
Arnie
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6 years ago  ::  Nov 10, 2008 - 11:50PM #5
Hatman
Posts: 9,634
I have never been married; however, I can certainly understand how the words of another (whom you trusted enough to marry) that you entrusted with not only your heart, but all your worldly goods can deeply hurt you, if you allow it. 

For me, this comes from a simple lack of knowledge, as in Hosea 4:6; Christ taught that the Kingdom is within for a reason, you know, and Proverbs teaches to NEVER put trust in earthly princes...or princesses, for that matter.

So for me, my hope and faith gives me blessings beyond compare, because I trust completely and implicitly the ONLY one worthy of such complete trust---the Living Son of God, who loves me so much that He suffered immensely that I might have Life, and that abundantly, who gives freely to all who ask, and who believe that they have already received IAW their request(as long as it harmonizes with His will).

Those who misplace their trust have regular disappointment.  One would think that after several repetitions of these betrayals, they would look elsewhere---like within, where both the Kingdom and it's King are to be found---but many lack both faith and instruction in regard to the nature of the Kingdom, and the humility required to not only enter in, but remain.

Warmest regards-

Hatman
"History records that the moneychangers have used every form of abuse, deceit, intrigue, and violent means possible to maintain their control over governments by controlling money and it's issuance."
-- James Madison(1751-1836), Father of the Constitution for the USA, 4th US President
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6 years ago  ::  Nov 17, 2008 - 11:03AM #6
ozee
Posts: 27
I have watched this conversation, and I think you are mostly right about self-esteem coming from God. And yet, as Anesis says, many Christians don't have high self-esteem. I'm the only Christian in my family except for one daughter and one cousin. Everyone seems to have fairly high self-esteem, but I don't. My relationship with my parents probably had some effect on that. I know they encouraged and nurtured three of the four of us, and this is what happened. My brother, who was encouraged, had low self-esteem. My sisters were both encouraged and nurtured, and they both have high self-esteem. I, who was not encouraged or nurtured, do not have it. In fact, most adults, when I was growing up, blamed me for the bad things other people in my family did. I don't understand that.
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6 years ago  ::  Nov 19, 2008 - 12:53AM #7
Hatman
Posts: 9,634
Ozee-
[QUOTE]I don't understand that[/QUOTE]

Do you wish to?

Warmest regards-

Hatman
"History records that the moneychangers have used every form of abuse, deceit, intrigue, and violent means possible to maintain their control over governments by controlling money and it's issuance."
-- James Madison(1751-1836), Father of the Constitution for the USA, 4th US President
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6 years ago  ::  Nov 19, 2008 - 9:49AM #8
ozee
Posts: 27
Yes, I do wish to understand that. I recognize that people will judge others based on the relationships they pursue. Also, I recognize that the things people said to me were petty and originated in their human characteristics. However, I was blamed for things that I, as a child, could not control. When my father died, a homeless person despite his education and experience, I asked God why things were as they were and why my parents didn't do a better job. I heard a sort of chuckle, and then the words, "You expected your parents to be all-powerful, like Me. When their erred, it was because they were flawed because they were human and had human failings. The result was that you suffered. If you want a perfect parent, you must look to Me." It did help me see that when humans do bad things, it's because they are not God, but human. It was a turning point in my faith.
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6 years ago  ::  Nov 20, 2008 - 12:51AM #9
Hatman
Posts: 9,634
ozee-
It sounds as if you already do understand, and quite well.
I know that at a certain point in my adult life, I was led to re-experience the various things of my youth, this time with my adult understanding(as contrasted with the childish one at the time).  Being able to see my parents and others as flawed---but human---beings certainly helped, even though I STILL feel that their mean-spirited pettiness was totally uncalled-for at that time. 

That said, it was what it was, and it is what it is.  Everyone learns their lessons at a different pace and at a different cost.

Someone  asked me once, "How come there are so many a**holes in the world?"  I was inspired to reply, "You know, I've thought about that---and I think it's so we'll know who the good folks are."

Warmest regards-

Hatman
"History records that the moneychangers have used every form of abuse, deceit, intrigue, and violent means possible to maintain their control over governments by controlling money and it's issuance."
-- James Madison(1751-1836), Father of the Constitution for the USA, 4th US President
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5 years ago  ::  Feb 09, 2009 - 10:29AM #10
clearwaterush
Posts: 4
Why do I feel so alienated and alone around people and in social situations to the point of un-comfortableness and find myself hiding behind my husband, looking around?
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