Chicken Legs - My Battles for Self-Esteem
My self-esteem shattered. My first-grade heart throb crushed me with words. My best friend, trying to play matchmaker, asked the gorgeous boy during recess if he “liked” me. Unsure who I was, he said, “You mean the girl with the pretty face and the chicken legs?” For the first time, I questioned my looks. I ignored the front end of the sentence and fixated on the poultry comparison for many years. Not only did I fixate on one person’s opinion, I chose to ignore what my parents taught me about the value God places on each person.
Eventually, skinny became cool, so I grudgingly accepted my slim build. Meanwhile, hurtful words continued to pile up. In high school, going to lunch was an ordeal. Outside my cafeteria, a group of guys rated girls walking by. "She’s a six!” “Nah, I’d give her a four!” Ironically, insecurity probably fueled these chucklehead’s desire to critique girls. Again, I chose to listen to people instead of God who says that I am “fearfully and wonderfully made” Isaiah 139:14 (NIV).
Put-downs haven’t stopped in my adulthood. They simply changed venues. A co-worker criticizes my work product. Children complain about my cooking. Other drivers rate me with hand gestures. Negative words will always be around me, but I don’t have to choose to accept them.
My self-esteem improved when my focus shifted towards God’s view of me. First, He designed me as is. Media messages indicate that my uneven body and fine hair are unattractive. I should buy products to compensate for these flaws. God sees me differently. He has numbered every single one of my fly-away strands because He loves me. From His perspective I am a treasure. Even Jesus wasn’t considered good looking by his cultural standards. “There was nothing attractive about Him, nothing to cause us to take a second look” Isaiah 53:2 (The Message).
If you struggle with low self-esteem for whatever reason, consider these ideas:
- Understand that people who appear confident probably struggled with this at some point in their lives.
- Stop determining your value based on cultural standards. They are fickle.
- Memorize the verses above and the following additional ones: Psalm 139:13-14, 1 Samuel 16:7, 1 Peter 3:3-4.
- Check out this story about self-esteem.
Let God’s opinion of you determine your view of yourself!