Coptic Orthodox Diocese of the Southern United States


print Print  |  send Send to a friend  |  bookmark Bookmark  |   |   |  back Back

Definition: Judgment or evaluation of one's worth in relationships to one's ideal self, and to the performance of others. The totality of self-esteem: a composite of ideas, feelings, and attitudes that a person has about his own identity, worth, capabilities, and limitations. Factors such as values and opinions of others particularly in the formative years of early childhood play an important part in the development of self-concept.

How do I enhance others values and opinion of myself? I frequently feel alone, that I have no friends; others had rather not have me around? No one includes me...

How to Spot the Signs of Poor Self-Image:

- React without thinking
- Resent people in authority/highly critical of self and others
- Blame other people when things go wrong
- Have too few real friends
- Feel afraid when alone/has a high level of anxiety
- Feel angry when criticized
- Feel jealous and possessive of things and people in my life
- Sometimes feel I cannot explain my angry actions
- Make promises I cannot keep/unrealistic expectations of self/frequent feelings of guilt
- Feel I cannot cope with life and want to escape
- Have an "I don't care" attitude/indecisive
- Feel defensive when questioned about actions
- Feel sad and alone, but want other people to think I'm tough
- Feel that a project is too hard even before I try denying own strengths and capabilities
- Constant somatic complaints (headache, stomach ache, etc)

How to Enhance Self-Esteem/Increasing Assertiveness:

Make a deliberate effort to greet others and call them by their name

Maintain eye contact during conversations this will display your interest in what they have to say.

Comment on the positive characteristics of others. If you speak negatively about one person you will most likely be encouraged to speak negatively regarding another.

Initiate conversations. Open ended questions. How do you feel about, what is your opinion of...

Do not use "why" it is anticipated as probing for an answer. Why do you always insist upon having everything your wayrather this seems to be important to you. Perhaps we need to discuss this further

Do not use false reassuranceI've been in your shoes, I know exactly how you feel. Actually you have not been in their shoes and you will never know exactly how they feel. You may share experiences only. For peace of mind resign as general manger of the universe, "Be still, and know that I am God" (Psalm 46:10).

Express conservative opinions and feelings do not judge others or their actions. Being too strongly opinionated in any aspect of conversation serves as a barrier to communication since you do not allow for a different response. This may isolate you from being included in any further conversations.

Disagree with others when you have an opposing viewpoint often others do not want their opinions mirrored but are interested in all views

Take initiative to learn a new activity

Always remember that success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome while trying to succeed, "Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him" (James 1:12).

Every human being is intended to have a character of his own; to be what no other is, and to do what no other can do. "For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them" (Ephesians 2:10).

Learning to communicate with others is vital. Communication includes touch (appropriate and inappropriate), closeness (personal space), smiling, eye contact, and voice tone. Communication that is inappropriate e.g. "George is bad!" attacks the person not the behavior. Better to have said, "George's behavior was unkind" "I asked George to help pass out folders at the Youth Convention and his attitude was unkind, he said, "Get a life."

Reverse situation: Mother runs to the bus, her high school daughter has forgotten her lunch. She is speaking in Arabic and stops the driver and delivers the lunch to her daughter telling her to have a nice day in Arabic. The girl cries and says she was so embarrassed. Why? Poor self-esteem. she would have been perceived more acceptable by her peers had she stood up and said thank you to her mother. What had just happened? Her mother showed her much care by packing the lunch, and by again by wanting her to not leave it behind. The mother could have said this will teach her a good lesson not to forget it tomorrow by going hungry today but she did not. The mother had her child's welfare in mind.

Always life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it!

With self-esteem it is important to remember each and every person is significant. We are responsible for our thoughts and feelings. Know the difference between pride and self-esteem. Self-esteem involves growth and change for the betterment of the person. Self-esteem involves being capable of change. Everyone is worthwhile. Everyone is a child of God. It is impossible for man to despair who remembers that His Helper is omnipotent. "I lift up my eyes to the hills-From whence comes my help? My help comes from the Lord...The LORD shall preserve you from all evil; He shall preserve your soul" (Psalm 121:1,2,7).

Building Problem Solving Techniques to Enhance Self-Esteem:

  1. Acknowledge as fully as possible all aspects of the problem

  2. When confronted with a Goliath size problem which way do you respond: "He's too big to hit or like David, He's too big to miss?" ["The LORD, who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, He will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine" (I Samuel 17:37).]

  3. Accept the truth of this for you (vs denying). Have you heard it said, "I've suffered a great many catastrophes in my life"? Most of them never happened. "For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind" (II Timothy 1:7).

  4. Choose with good intention your commitment to change

  5. Allow God to assist you.

  6. Be more concerned with what God thinks about you than what people think about you (Acts 5:29). True faith and courage are like a kite, an opposing wind raises it still higher, "But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint."

  7. The secret of contentment is the realization that life is a gift not a right. "Now godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out." (I Timothy 6:6-7).

His Holiness Pope Shenouda III connects self-esteem with humility in His Holiness's book, "Experiences with the People."

Forgetting the Good

Do good and forget it... It is inside yourself-Do not think about it. In case you fall into self-righteousness, conceit, and thinking too highly of yourself. Forget the goodness too before God-lest you do what the Pharisee in the Temple did, for he did not go home justified before God (Luke 18). Forget only good deeds that you have done, so that it can be stored up for you in Heaven, because by recalling it, you will lose it. This was the problem of the righteous Job, and the cause of his trial (Job 29). Do not forget the good which others do to you, rather make it a reason for them to be closer to your heart. Be grateful to them and thankful for what they have done...


The symptoms of depression in the young adult may be described as "feeling down." In general, depression affects a person's mood, thinking, functioning or behavior. A young adult may be visibly sad, blue, or worried although increased irritability is another very common sign. He or she may lose pleasure in activities they once enjoyed and social withdrawal is common, may demonstrate a change in weight or appetite. Sleep disturbances may occur.

Low self-esteem is common as well as negative thoughts about the future. Confusion and difficulty making decisions often occur. Exhibiting tiredness (lack of energy) related to daily tasks, often with decreased school performance occurs. Anxiety could develop (a feeling that something terrible yet unknown is going to occur. You do not have to have all these symptoms or even most of them to be diagnosed with clinical depression.

You may say: "Everyone laughs at me", "I can't do anything right," "I don't see much to look forward to in the future," "I haven't got any friends," "I feel like I am a bad person."

Mina used to be a fairly reliable and likable young man. He used to enjoy going to deacons' meetings with his father and playing football with his friends. Over a few months, however, he seemed to lose interest in most of his favorite activities: all he said was "what's the point." He seemed also to think that no one wanted to be friends with him anymore. He began missing Sunday School and serving as a deacon. He seemed to be hating himself-all that he could see were the things about him that were bad.

Steps to Improve the Negative Consequences of Depression:

  1. Pray, Holy Book of St. James 5:13 says, "Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray."

  2. One of the best ways to forget your own problems is to help someone solve his. "Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others" (Philippians 2:4).

  3. Improve your communication skills

  4. Take a vacation or just simply get some rest. Holy Book of Psalm 127:2 tells us, "It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows; for so He gives His beloved sleep."

  5. Get some exercise (endorphins, relaxation, releases bottled up emotions)

  6. Practice saying positive things to yourself. Sometimes we are so busy adding up our troubles that we forget to count our blessings. In Holy Book of Psalm 77:11-12 we find, "I will remember the works of the LORD; surely I will remember Your wonders of old. I will also meditate on all Your work, and talk of Your deeds."

  7. Know that feelings come from thoughts and beliefs we hold. Falling down does not make you failure but staying down does, "For a righteous man may fall seven times and rise again" (Proverbs 24:16).

  8. Develop personal insight-the ability to predict how you would most likely react in a given situation and how to minimize negative consequences. Awareness of personal vulnerability is essential here.

  9. Have faith in God that through His intervention in your life and your efforts and those of others, conditions will improve and you will begin to feel better. The prophet Isaiah tells us, "If you will not believe, surely you shall not be established" (Isaiah 7:9).

When one says the Lord Jesus Christ understands what we are going through and can do a much better job of taking care of us than we can one must remember the Lord understands grief (remember Lazarus), and the sense of abandonment (the Holy Cross) and the anticipation of the future (agony in the garden) and pain at its height.

God uses all sorts of people in the Holy Bible, but He never uses those who are depressed or discouraged. Depression and discouragement are two of Satan's most powerful tools.

print Print  |  send Send to a friend  |  bookmark Bookmark  |   |   |  back Back