Is it worth a try in your own life?
That is logical.
The problem, however, comes in the way that we have been taught to build this sense of self-worth.
A simple observation by anyone who is more than 40 years old should reveal a serious flaw in our beliefs around this issue.
As the teaching about building self-esteem has increased, so also has the amount of eating disorders, depressions, suicides, school shootings, and drug addictions increased.
We are rightly taught that a healthy self-esteem will make one less likely to engage in such destructive behaviors.
If that is true, then what is wrong?
I propose that it is in our promotion of the necessity of self-love. The focus has been placed on the self in its miserable condition with the idea that there are steps one can take to increase and practice loving the self.
The problem with this approach is that, usually, the people who try to "fix" their self-esteem, begin by blaming something or someone outside themselves for their miserable condition. Consequently, the steps they take usually involve dealing with this outside negative source, and the results are less than effective.
In an effort to protect oneself from the negative attacks or abuse against one's self, the person excludes anything from the outside that they perceive as a threat. While that may sound logical, the problem is that these people perceive anything they don't like as a threat, and they block out most everything that they don't already agree with. Dialogue and working through a problem in a relationship becomes impossible.
Here is a quote from someone I know who resorted to this method years ago. This person is counseling someone who is asking about how to deal with abusive people." What works for me in my life is that I have contact with hurtful people, only if I establish clear boundaries. For instance, if they are in my life regularly, I determined that when they start to say or do something that is hurtful, I say something like, "I need to run, sorry to be so abrupt." and then hang up, delete the email without internalizing their words, or walk away. If they are not in my life regularly, then I do not initiate contact, but just pray for them and allow God to work in their life. "
Can you see the problem here? There is no opportunity to work through any disagreement. I know this person, and a couple more like this one; and they each are on edge, waiting for someone to say or do something they deem hurtful. They immediately get up and walk out.
At least one of these people claims to be a bible-believing type Christian.
Jesus said, "If your brother sin against you, go and show him his fault..." (Matt. 18:15) He did not say, "Leave at the slightest insult."
This particular approach is recommended by many in the self-help realm who would help us to overcome abusive situations. (There is a proper approach to getting out of abusive situations, which I will deal with in a separate article.)
Jesus also said, (as quoted in an earlier article) that His followers are to deny themselves--not "protect" themselves.
In my limited experience, those who have bought into this mentality of "protecting themselves" have become quite vicious, and have lost the capacity to love unconditionally. The ones who name the name of Christ who have done this, have brought shame to the Name.
What is to be our response to insults, rejection, and abusive language?
What would it be like if we followed the Master's example "...who when reviled, reviled not again..." (1 Peter 2:23)?
What do you think?
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