A prophet friend of mine once said, “If you don’t place any value on who you are and what you do, don’t expect others to!” That is so true. If you are willing to work for nothing, then you do not value yourself or what you are able to do and offer others and should not expect others to value you and your abilities either. He also said, “If you don’t respect yourself then don’t expect others to respect you!” Again, it is along the same lines but is also seriously true.
Self-esteem – the way you see yourself, seeing yourself for who you really are and knowing what you are good at – is the single most significant key to a person’s behaviour. Zig Ziglar, who was a powerful motivational speaker when I was first saved said, “It is impossible to consistently behave in a manner inconsistent with how we see ourselves. We can do very few things in a positive way if we feel negative about ourselves.”
Nathaniel Branden, a psychiatrist and expert on the subject of self-esteem, says, “No factor is more important in people’s psychological development and motivation than the value judgments they make about themselves. Every aspect of their lives is impacted by the way they see themselves.” If you believe you are worthless, then you won’t add value to yourself.
It is a well-known fact that a low self-esteem puts a ceiling on our potential. If your desire to do something is a 10 but your self-esteem (what you think of yourself and how you see yourself) is a 5, you will never perform at the level of a 10. You will perform as a 5 or lower. People are never able to outperform their self-image. Nathaniel Branden puts it this way, “If you feel inadequate to face challenges, unworthy of love or respect, unentitled to happiness, and fear assertive thoughts, wants, and needs — if you lack basic self-trust, self-respect, and self-confidence — you self-esteem deficiency will limit you, no matter what other assets you possess.”
So, back to my friend the prophet’s comments. The value we place on ourselves is usually the value others place on us.
A man went to a fortune-teller to hear what she had to say about his future. She looked into a crystal ball and said, “You will be poor and unhappy until you are forth-five years old.”
“Then what will happen?” Asked the man hopefully.
“Then you will get used to it.”
Regretfully, that’s the way most people live their lives — according to what others believe about them. If the important people in their lives expect them to go nowhere, then that’s what they expect for themselves. That’s fine if you’re surrounded by people who believe in you. But what if you’re not?
You shouldn’t become too concerned about what others might think of you. You should be more concerned about what you think of yourself. Remember, you don’t have to accept what people say you have to be. You can be who you want to be.
If you put a small value on yourself, rest assured the world will not raise the price. If you want to become the person you have the potential to be, you must believe you can!
Next time we will look at the steps to build your self-image so that you can become who God created and designed you to be. The ‘who’ you should be and have the potential to be.