Self-Esteem and Spirituality

Self-Esteem is a term that has been around a long time, and the phrase can take on a lot of different meanings for different people. We know for sure that positive thoughts and feelings about ourselves result in more positive thoughts and feelings, (and behaviors), toward others. The purpose of this article is to explore the link between our spirituality and self-esteem.

We form our impressions about our self-worth first and foremost from the people who influenced our early lives. What they taught us about "religion" and spirituality has most certainly impacted how we feel about ourselves and this is why:

Some religious systems believe and teach that God is a vengeful, spiteful and "jealous" God, (not unlike a lot of human beings). Therefore, we pick up the idea that we are not inherently loved and wanted, but that we somehow must earn that love. We are taught that we were born "sinful" and so we must somehow "make up" for our terrible deeds by our "works". The end result of such teaching is that almost everyone who learns that belief is going around with a mental yard stick with which to measure their worth (and therefore the worth of others). Such people find life a burdensome task rather than a free journey. I (Anne Milligan) truly believe that the very first step along the way of healing issues of self-esteem is to unlearn any false and negative impressions about God and our relationship with God. Here are some wonderful books by three of my favorite people in the world, Dennis and Sheila Linn and Matthew Linn:

"Good Goats: Healing Our Image of God",  and "Healing Spiritual Abuse & Religious Addiction".
You may also consider reading "Original Blessing" which I consider to be one of the mostly profoundly helpful books written in the past century, by Matthew Fox.

I want to propose to you that your God is not a God who loves you with conditions attached. As a matter of fact, there is nothing you or I can do to "earn" that love, and therefore it is not in the nature of God's love for it to be taken away either. You are beautiful and loved without conditions. So is everyone else who lives. God is love. God created everything that exists. You are part of that existence. It is in the nature of God to love everything in creation, to be that love in all of creation. Pure love permeates everything that exists in creation. You belong here!

How though, do we get past all the negative impressions that have been thrust upon us over the years? I have an idea that our individual birthdays are an opportunity to truly celebrate our spiritual value, more than just the store-bought balloons and things like that. Meditating on our connection to God, if it is a positive connection, brings everything into right balance. It creates a staging ground for everything else "real" to happen to you and through you. "A house divided against itself (your internal house of thoughts and feelings about youself) will fall." You want to build your life and your life-calling on the knowledge of being infinitely loved by God, not on the need to somehow "prove" something.

Along the way, in being both a musician, graphic artist, and psychotherapist, I have created a line of affirmative Christian Greeting Cards with spiritual themes. If you decide to purchase some of these cards, I'd suggest that you take in the message of self-love first and then consider sharing them with others who need the touch of a loving God, spirituality, and genuine self-esteem.

Many blessings to you along your way!

Anne Milligan

Anne Milligan is a Therapist in private practice in Louisville, Kentucky. She is also a musician, songwriter, and graphic artist.

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