How can I overcome feelings of low self-esteem? Every so often I am plagued by these feelings and it is getting me down. I am an active member and try to act as the Saviour would. I read my scriptures and pray daily. It seems that whenever I receive a calling I go through the feeling that others would be better at it than I. I end up seeing all the positive traits of others but all of my negative traits. I know I’m way too hard on myself and I want to change that, can you help ?
In the church, people often joke about how during the Women’s session of Conference the leaders say, “You’re doing great Sisters, keep up the good work.” But in the Priesthood session they say, “C’mon Brethren you can do better.” IF there is truth to that, I would say it is because you are not alone. Women are hard on themselves. We live in a world where we can easily become blinded by “values” and “priorities” that really don’t matter in an eternal sense. Women are bombarded daily with messages about their bodies, and about how to be a woman. It’s no wonder women sometimes feel confused, bewildered and overwhelmed.
First I want you to know that the Lord loves you and values you. I imagine if you could sit down and discuss this with Him, it would be a very tender moment. I base this idea on his reaction to Mary after Lazarus died. When He arrived, Mary said, “If thou hadst been here, my brother had not died.” John 11:21. Did she say that from a place of anger, pain, faith, confusion or all of the above? We don’t know, but the Savior’s response is clear. He did not chastise her. He did not tell her, as He did Joseph Smith in Liberty Jail, that her suffering would be but a small moment (even though that was certainly true), What did He do? He wept with her. That is such a beautiful story and I believe it is a message to you, Maggie, that the Lord genuinely cares about your pain and sadness. He wants you to know of your great worth to Him.
Elder Russel M. Nelson gave a beautiful talk about women called: Woman–Of Infinite Worth. I highly recommend the whole talk to you, but for now I will quote just a portion of it that I think directly applies to your question of how to have better self-esteem.
“Of course, there are times when a woman’s ability to endure is taxed to the limit . . . She could become discouraged, especially if comparing herself unrealistically to others or focusing on what she is to do instead of on what she is to be.
Her self-esteem cannot be based on physical features, possession or lack of a particular talent, or comparative quantities of anything. Her self-esteem is earned by individual righteousness and a close relationship with God. Her outward glow is generated by goodness within. And her patience is much more apparent than any imperfection. (See D&C 67:13.)
Sweet serenity is found in fervent prayer. Then, we forget ourselves and remember the reaching hands of the Savior, who said, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matt. 11:28.) As our burdens are shared with Him, they do become lighter.
Feelings of worth come when a woman follows the example of the Master. Her sense of infinite worth comes from her own Christlike yearning to reach out with love, as He does.” (bold added)
This is the Lord’s message to you, Maggie, pray for the ability to accept it wholly. When you do, then go and serve others. Help them to feel His love through you. That is the true path to self-esteem.