I keep having self-esteem issues


May 26, 2016

Dear Pastor,

I have been reading your column since recently and I have to say, keep up the good work.

I have been a Christian for a year. Trust me, it has been a very hard time. I keep having self-esteem issues.

Sometimes Ifeel pretty and the other times I hate myself. I am fat, but have a nice shape. I sometimes will cut myself. I have since stopped. What I want to know is, will I ever be able to accept myself?


Dear M.S.,

I am sorry you did not mention your age. I am wondering if you are in your teens or early 20s.

It is not unusual for young women who are going through adolescence to struggle during that period of development, especially if they are plump.

You have not said much about yourself for me to intelligently respond to your concern. Young women going through adolescence often feel that something is wrong with them. Some have very low self-esteem. Yes, and some do things to attract attention, such as cutting themselves. They feel their parents and siblings, and even their classmates, are against them.

The question is, why don't you like yourself? Do you feel like you are too tall or short? Are boys ignoring you and not asking you out on dates? Do people tell you that you are too fat? If folks say that you are too fat and ugly, it would affect you.

I hope the following facts would help you and others who we are struggling with self-esteem problems.

They are taken from DoSomething.org.

1. Low self-esteem is a thinking disorder in which an individual views him/herself as inadequate, unlovable, and/or incompetent. Once formed, this negative view permeates every thought, producing faulty assumptions and ongoing self-defeating behaviour.

2. Among high-school students, 44 per cent of girls and 15 per cent of guys are attempting to lose weight.

3. More than 70 per cent of girls age 15 to 17 avoid normal daily activities, such as attending school, when they feel bad about their looks.

4. More than 40 per cent of boys in middle school and high school regularly exercise with the goal of increasing muscle mass.

5. Seventy-five per cent of girls with low self-esteem reported engaging in negative activities like cutting, bullying, smoking, drinking, or disordered eating. This compares to 25 per cent of girls with high self-esteem.

6. About 20 per cent of teens will experience depression before they reach adulthood.

7. Teen girls that have a negative view of themselves are four times more likely to take part in activities with boys that they've ended up regretting later.

8. The top wish among all teen girls is for their parents to communicate better with them. This includes frequent and more open conversations.

9. Thirty-eight per cent of boys in middle school and high school reported using protein supplements and nearly six per cent admitted to experimenting with steroids.

10. Seven in 10 girls believe that they are not good enough or don't measure up in some way, including their looks, performance in school and relationships with friends and family members.

11. A girl's self-esteem is more strongly related to how she views her own body shape and body weight, than how much she actually weighs.

As you get older, I pray that you would come to realise that the things you are worried about now are not as important as what you do with your time and your success in life. Endeavour to aim high and be in a position to make a valuable contribution to society at large.


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