Summary: Low Self-esteem is a struggle faced by many of us. This sermon presents the concepts of self worth and esteem, and offers concrete steps that can help us move to positive self-esteem.
IT’S TIME TO GIVE MYSELF A HUG
Dr. David L. Haun
Hope Christian Church
January 18, 2004
Jeremiah 1:4-10, II Cor. 4:5-10
Today’s message is a Request Sermon. It’s a topic that could have been submitted by about half of the congregation, and often plays a major part in depression. The request was this: "Self-esteem is an issue I have worked hard to achieve. It is hard for me to hear that I am not worthy." That could have been a request that I would have turned in. Chances are it could also have been yours. In my study for today’s sermon, there were two authors who proved helpful in their insight and direction, and I thank them: Travis Smalley (1) and Mike Fogerson (2).
THE FEELING OF LOW SELF ESTEEM IS ONE OF HUMANITY’S
MOST CONSISTENT CONCERNS
A. All of us want to feel we are succeeding. However, we so often fall short of what we hope for
John Quincy Adams was the sixth President of the United States. He held more political offices than anyone in the history of our country. He was president, a senator, congressman, the Secretary of State, and United States minister to the Netherlands, Germany, France, Russia and England. After his retirement, he was reelected to congress, and was active in the opposition to the practice of slavery. John Quincy Adams was a statesman who molded the fiber of our nation. (3) At the age of 70, he made the following statement: "My whole life has been a succession of disappointments. I didn’t have any success in anything I undertook. (4) Now there is an individual who suffers from a low self esteem
B. To fail in our efforts has an effect on our perception of our worth. To be accused of failure by others can place a strain on one’s self esteem. It may not destroy, but the feeling and worry of failure can remain always.
Stephen Pile wrote a book titled The Incomplete Book of Failures. In it he lists various efforts that didn’t succeed, and no doubt weakened its advocate’s self esteem.
Thomas Edison’s teacher said, "He was too stupid to learn."
Albert Einstein’s teacher said "Albert was mentally slow, unsociable and adrift forever in his foolish dreams."
Decca records rejected the Beetles.
A newspaper editor fired Walt Disney because he lacked ideas.
Years later, Disney studios rejected "Star Wars" as a movie project, claiming it would flop at the box office. (5)
It’s this type of situation that can cause those in charge to begin to question their self-esteem and image.
JUST AS MOST PEOPLE FALL SHORT IN THEIR POSITIVE SELF IMAGE, SO MOST HAVE COMMON HUMAN RESPONSES TO RESOLVE THE PROBLEM.
A. Some insist there is no problem. They claim "I’m OK." I’ve got no trouble in this area at all.
In the 1950’s the psychologist Eric Berne began to develop a psychological theory which he called "Transactional Analysis." Every human being, he said is made up of three alter ego states: Parent, Adult, and Child. These three states are always in communication within the mind of each of us. It was a new concept and popularized a new model in social relationships and psychoanalysis. (6)
From these concepts, a book was written by Thomas A. Harris titled: "I’m OK, You’re OK," Harris proposes four life positions from which most of us operate. The most frequent one is "I’m not OK, you’re OK." This position defines low self-esteem and low self-worth.
This book has been helpful to millions of people. However, what also has happened through the years is that the concept has become distorted into the good-feeling assertion that "I’m OK whatever I do." This "feel good" philosophy has become the theme of modern society. As long as it feels good and no one is hurt, there is no limitation on my life and actions. There need be no guilt or loss of self-esteem. Look at the current crop of sitcom entertainment and talk show discussions, and this is the message heard over and over. If it feels good, go for it! Don’t tell me there’s anything "wrong. It’s my life and I’m free.
The problem with this effort is that it doesn’t work. People stress it and live it, but in the dark hours of the night, that green monster of low self esteem continues to attack them.
B. Another common response to increase our self esteem is always to "succeed in all we do."
1. In this effort, one’s self esteem becomes related to one’s ability.
We become like the words of the song from the Broadway play "Annie Get Your Gun."
"Anything you can do, I can do better."
I can do any thing better than you.
Anything you can be I can be greater.