Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Seeing the Unique Self We Are

In our society, we are continually presented in advertisements, on TV and in the movies, with the beautiful faces of our brothers and sisters. This continual bombardment of  physical attractiveness is bound to have a deleterious effect on many who have difficulty looking into a mirror and seeing a face that doesn't quite measure up to what they are seeing everywhere around them.

A columnist in the Catholic Times tells us that he was surprised to see the number of middle and high school students that are suffering from depression. He thought that was a problem of adults: often an inferiority complex that comes from rejecting their outward appearance.

He tells us what the antidote for this lack of self-esteem should be. Those who have a faith life are in many cases conspicuously lacking in self-esteem. It is not that easy to change our outer appearance, although not impossible. But the possibility of changing our attitude is always available and always free.

We are told that each one of us is a unique individual, and this in itself is a value given to us by God. More valuable than physical beauty is the value of the unique me in which I should have confidence, and value it as a gift from God. When I look in the mirror and do not see what I would like to see, remember that we can go deeper and see who we are as members of Jesus' body. This should make all the difference.

The columnist feels that we do not appreciate the meaning of self-esteem: love and respect for ourselves. Those who are able to look within, appreciate this. The degree of our love that we have for ourselves is a sign of spiritual health. It makes for a  correct relationship with God, with the self and with others. The recovering of this self- esteem, if there was a break, makes for good relationships.

None of us is perfect and without dealing with our imperfections, we cannot  become a mature person. The externals do not make for a person of faith. When we consider the inside of us as well as the outside spiritual growth will come. We are reminded to look at what we think a life of faith should be, and see if we may be lacking its true meaning.

Recovering of our self-esteem is not always easy. However, the moment we recognize some small aspect of  the problem we are on the road to personal growth. As a Christian, we know we are not given pain without reason, and pain without growth is not God's way. With the will to overcome our trials and despair, we will grow in maturity.

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