Who Do You Think You Are? Part 3

By: Paula Briedis, LCPC, Therapist

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

My life is taking a difficult turn – my mother is in the middle stages of Alzheimer’s.  Gone is the mother I used to know.  While there are still a few glimpses of the fun-loving, spontaneous, and wise woman of years ago, for the most part I am watching her retreat into a dark place characterized by vacant looks and disconnected conversations.  Her current state and the reality of the continuing decline makes it even more precious when I find evidence of the past.

My mother always loved quotes and sayings – probably where I get my penchant for words.  While cleaning out a drawer, I found an index card with faded letters written in my mother’s handwriting.  The message was timely as the topic of this series has been self-image, and it reminded me of both how my mother struggled with her self-esteem and worked to improve her picture of herself.  It was like having a ‘mini’ talk with her again.  The card read:

“Low self-esteem is Satan’s deadliest weapon – a weapon of the enemy that:

  • Paralyzes my potential
  • Destroys my dreams
  • Ruins my relationships
  • Sabotages my Christian service” 

How true this is!  When our beliefs about ourselves are inaccurate, it is difficult to take steps to ‘plumb the depths’ of our gifts and talents.  Perhaps we settle for mediocrity, or think we don’t have what it takes to succeed.  We end up stuck, never knowing what could have been.

Dreams are essential to the human spirit.  Who hasn’t looked up in the sky and saw a bird fly and wished they could soar like that?  Big or small, dreams are our hopes for a better tomorrow.  If we don’t see ourselves as worthy, hopes can shrivel up and blow away.  No longer able to envision a better future, we again are stuck in the cycle that feeds hopelessness and lies about our worth.

Lies about our worth will also fray the fabric of our relationships.  Insecurities, fear, neediness and unrealistic expectations added to distorted beliefs undermine the intimacy and mutuality necessary for a healthy relationship.  Not many relationships, whether romantic, family, or friendships, can survive an unhealthy environment of low self-esteem.

Satan loves to see us believe his lies!  He knows he can keep us stuck in despair and hopelessness when he gets us to see ourselves through his web of untruths.  How can we possibly challenge the darkness of this world if our own light is dim and hidden?  Held captive by poor self-esteem, we hesitate to venture out of our limited comfort zone, never finding out what could have been if we had a true and healthy self-image.

OK, so we know we don’t think very highly of ourselves.  What now?  As was said in the previous articles, there are ways to change your beliefs.  As my mother used to say, ‘anything worthwhile takes effort’.  So it is with changing the foundation of your beliefs.  But the truth is that with consistent effort, you can experience life differently!  Do a little online research – the internet is loaded with ideas and methods to help you identify a plan for improvement.  Read, talk with friends, join a group!  Consider talking to a therapist.  Take a chance that you might just be better than you think. Maybe I am biased, but I think my mother was one of the wisest women I have ever known.  She knew that life was a gift to be experienced fully. Even now in the shadow of Alzheimer’s, I still hear her saying ‘how will you know if you don’t try’?

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3