Posted by Ronan Scully in Features.

I have come across many people who suffer from low self-esteem over the years. Low self esteem makes us disillusioned with ourselves, and, as a result, makes us withhold ourselves from other people and from activities we might enjoy. We compare ourselves unfavourably to others and envy them their good looks, jobs, personalities and friendships. Low self-esteem can stem from failures and misfortunes that have befallen us throughout our lives, such as bullying in school, failed relationships, addictions, bad exam results, unemployment and failed careers.

Feeling good

God almost always supplies us with what we haven’t received as children or young adults. Friends and people come into our lives that do esteem and love us and they offer us a basis for believing more in ourselves. They show us our good qualities, our abilities and the possibilities. Parents, teachers, relatives and friends are all the instruments of this gracious rebuilding action of God. The secret of life is not to focus on what we do not have but on what we do have, and to make the most of it.

We have a healing process to go through and we have an important role in it. We have to learn to have courage and belief in ourselves. We have to truly listen to the affirming, positive and loving things others say. Otherwise these words of affirmation and love make absolutely no difference. It is important to realise that we are made happy, not only by the amount of love we give and are given but by the amount of love we allow ourselves to receive. As Jesus said in Matthew’s gospel: Love your neighbour as you love yourself.

Putting yourself and the world together

One lazy Sunday afternoon, a businessman was hard at work entertaining a business client at home. However, the businessman’s six-year old son, David kept disturbing the proceedings. David was bored. It was raining. Mum was out. His best friend had the flu. He hoped that Daddy and his friend might like to play a game. But, each time David came into the room, his father gave him something from the table to go away and play with. First he gave him a pen, then a calculator, then a paperweight and then a Financial Times. Finally, David was reprimanded.

A little while later, David was back again, and this time, his father was prepared. On the table was a large full-colour picture of the world carefully torn into a hundred small pieces. He gave David a roll of sticky tape and asked him to play with the world until he had stuck it all back together again. Much to his father’s astonishment, David returned after about five minutes with the picture of the world complete again.

“How did you manage that so quickly, and so well?” asked his Father. David replied, “Oh, on the back of the picture of the world I had already drawn a big picture of myself, and when I put myself together the world came together also.”

Thought for the week

As your thought for this week, acknowledge some of your special gifts and talents, and focus on all that is good and positive in your life. Thank God for loving you and creating you. Put the picture of yourself together and you might just put the world to rights.