Picture for a moment you painted a picture. You spent hours on it- giving great detail into each and every brush stroke. You painted it with a variety of colors- and shapes. It has so much personality and depth. You love this painting. Then you make another painting- giving the same time and careful detail into it. Then another, and another.
You love your work. More than anything! After all, it came from you. You give them to lots of different people you care about and you just know they will love it too. What happens? A few of them neglect their painting, don't see it as anything much. Some people appreciate it well enough, but not quite as much as you did. Then there are some who absolutely do not see any of it's value. Suppose you knew how they truly felt about your gift... it would probably hurt.
I like to think about myself as one of those paintings and the painter as my Heavenly Father. How bad I must make Him feel when I neglect or devalue myself. Who am I to not appreciate myself and everything that makes me, me? I'm going to be the first to admit that self esteem has been a struggle from time to time. Not always, but I think it's important to focus on improving- doesn't matter who you are!!
Mom gave me great sources to look to at as I pieced together this post for her. From a talk by President James E. Faust was this:
"the self-esteem that I speak of this evening is not blind, arrogant, vain, self-love but rather a self-esteem that is self-respecting, honest, and without conceit. It is born of inner peace and strength."
Okay I don't know about you, but having inner peace and strength sounds pretty good.
I firmly believe though that every person has this same struggle to a certain degree... which is why the leaders of the church address this topic. I've always thought that the only thing I can do to strengthen my self esteem was to think positive thoughts about myself. Now although that does help it hasn't always proven effective. Luckily for us, President Faust gives us 6 keys to a healthy self esteem.
1. Keep your agency
4. Love of Work
5. Ability to Love
6. Love of God
To read each in detail go here. It will help you to better love and appreciate yourself- and, in turn, love others. After all, loving your neighbors AS YOURSELF implies that you have learned to LOVE YOURSELF!
Mom also included a beautiful song for me to listen to. I didn't want to just put a plain song up here so naturally I added some pictures. It's of mom and her two daughters (myself and Anne). It applies to everyone though, of course!
If nothing else, remember we are children of our Heavenly Father. He made you the way you are because HE wants you this way. Please appreciate yourself and better yet, LOVE who you are. I'm going to make it my goal this year to improve my self esteem. Not just tell myself I'm great but to absolutely believe it.
And I'll leave you with a poem mom wrote:
"Here's to all of us
God himself created with trust
That we would take what was given
And Glorify him up in Heaven
The daily task is clear to see
Love ourselves and all humans that be
Be happy with ourselves and all our brothers
And share that happy with some others
Work each day for a good self love
That is something that comes from above
But when we finally achieve this
I just want to list
We will glorify him
Then we will truly win!"