Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Self-Esteem

We are told as Christians that God loves us and that before we can love others, we need to learn to love ourselves.
This is a difficult concept for one with life-long low self-esteem to come to grips with.  Awful grammar I know but just as true.
As a little girl of six, I developed a squint in my left eye which was so severe the only remedy then available was to wear glasses  with a black patch over the offending eye.  Since the NHS was non-existent at that time there was no alternative 'treatment' on offer.
My mother, never one to push her own needs in the hope of preferential treatment, regarded her family as an extension of herself and we, two of my three brothers and I, all suddenly squinting hideously wore our patches without complaint most of the time.
Growing older, it became first an embarrassment, then a burden, since, while my brothers were simply accepted, I being tall (for those days), skinny and adorned with the hated patch was a prominent target for bullying.  My nickname for at least five years was 'Nelson'.
At the age of thirteen my mother finally becoming aware of the fact that I was miserable about my appearance took me to see a 'new' eye specialist who took one look at me turned on my mother and said " How long has this child been wearing a patch"? When told, he examined my eyes and pronounced the magic words, "I will operate on her eye next week, a simple straitforward procedure which she should have had years ago".
Three months later sans eye-patch, sans glasses, a smiling 14 year old was told by a teacher, "you are really quite a pretty girl you know".
I have never forgotten her words, like soothing balm on a very sore place, they were a huge boost to my non-existent ego and at many low times in my life I have brought them out and looked at them again as a necessary lift to flagging self-confidence.
This could easily turn into the longest blog in history, but perhaps more on another occasion would be a better idea.
Just one small grain of how one's self-esteem can alter a life-time's attitude to oneself and how to 'be' around other people.
Do I love myself?  No.  Can I therefore love others?  I really don't know.

3 comments:

  1. Thanks, Ray. That's a moving story. Anita

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  2. Children (and adults) can be so cruel to their peers. I'm glad you got it all sorted out in the end, and truly hope that those years are but a memory rather than an ongoing trauma. Every Blessing

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  3. Anita. Yes moving but at least with a happy ending (so far as my eyes were concerned)anyway.
    Freda, You are right about children being cruel, but at least their cruelty is usually due to lack of insight which only comes with experience. Whilst the outcome was happy, the trauma was just one of the 'deflate' balloons in my psyche. More' on another occasion!
    Thankyou both.

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