by Dr. Randy Gilchrist, LDS Psychologist
www.LDSdimension.com (FREE LDS online dating site)
In psychology, self-esteem is defined by the Webster dictionary as "a feeling of having respect for yourself and your abilities". In other words, having self-esteem is having value and confidence towards yourself to be able to handle the rigors and disappointments of life. Sometimes as LDS members, we hear that we shouldn't strive for self-esteem, or that having self-esteem is bad or prideful. In reality, it's more complex than that. I agree that, taken to an extreme, too much self-esteem can be connected to narcissism and a lack of faith and reliance on the Lord. This is definitely a problem, especially in the extreme.
In general and within moderation, having good, strong self-esteem is a positive thing. In dating and married relationships, self-esteem and confidence is very attractive and important in finding and keeping a mate. Personally, self-esteem in connected to a greater peace and happiness and lower levels of anxiety and depression. In short, when you have confidence and value towards yourself, you are heartier and tougher when encountering, enduring, and overcoming the challenges and difficulties of life. In addition, you foster respect, admiration, security, and attractiveness from others you have relationships with.
Church Support for Building and Maintaining Healthy Self-Esteem
Scripturally, there is support for maintaining a moderately strong and healthy self-esteem. In answering which are the greatest commandments in the old Mosaic law, of which there were hundreds, "Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets." --Matthew 22:37-40. In otherwords, we are to both love others and love ourselves at the same high level, which is the second greatest commandment of all after loving the Lord.
Referring to this scripture, Aileen Clyde in the October 1991 general conference elaborates as follows: "If charity is not always quick to our understanding, it may occasionally be quick to our misunderstanding. It is not charity or kindness to endure any type of abuse or unrighteousness that may be inflicted on us by others. God’s commandment that as we love him, we must respect ourselves, suggests we must not accept disrespect from others. It is not charity to let another repeatedly deny our divine nature and agency. It is not charity to bow down in despair and helplessness. That kind of suffering should be ended, and that is very difficult to do alone. There are priesthood leaders and other loving servants who will give aid and strength when they know of the need. We must be willing to let others help us." Simply put, we should follow the commandment to maintain love and respect for ourselves ("self-esteem"), which includes putting a stop to anyone mistreating us (as well as getting help from others as needed). To be respected by others is superior to being "liked". People who are respected by others are treated better by others.
Furthermore, “whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” (Galatians 6:7.) “For as [a man] thinketh in his heart, so is he.” (Proverbs 23:7.). When we think more positively towards and about ourselves and our abilities, this compliments and enlarges what the Lord can do for us and with us. If we just have faith in the Lord but have no faith in ourselves as well, we are more likely to sabotage, reject, and/or otherwise not notice or take advantage of the help made available to us. We need to believe in ourselves as well. The Lord will do his part, and then we need to do our part to accept and utilize his help and the resources and opportunities he provides--something we'll be much more successful at with higher self-esteem.
This little article is simply an introduction to the concept of self-esteem and why it is important. In my next article, I will review ideas on how to increase and maintain self-esteem for yourself and your dating partner/spouse. Until then, remember "…neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord" (1 Corinthians 11:11).
|2016-05-21||Randy Gilchrist||Healthy relationships, Marriage preparation, Psychological health, Spirituality|
About the author
Hello, my name is Dr. Randy Gilchrist (aka "Dr. G"). I am a licensed clinical psychologist, a licensed marriage & family therapist, and a certified hypnotherapist in private practice in Roseville, CA (www.dr-rg.com), practicing since 1997. Also, I am happily married in the temple (Manti) since 1996 and have 4 sons. I am a volunteer writer and contributor to LDS Dimension. I use my training, education, and experience to share insights with LDS Dimension on all things of interest to the LDS dating community. Please read my articles and columns on this site to assist you in your online dating journey. Also, to be considered for an answer in a future Q and A column, please email me your dating/relationship oriented questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. Finally, I also offer a powerful, effective worldwide custom hypnosis recording service just for LDS Dimension members for weight loss, pornography, and many other issues of concern to those in the LDS dating community (please learn more now at www.dr-rg.com/lds; email me questions to email@example.com).