Self-esteem has become a national crisis in this country.
Reported in a study printed in 2008 “Real Girls, Real Pressure: A National Report on the State of Self-Esteem,” the majority of girls (seven in ten) feel they do not measure up in some way, including their looks, performance in school and relationships.
What is truly alarming is that of these 7 in 10 girls with low self-esteem, 75% of them reported engaging in negative and potentially harmful activities when feeling badly about themselves, such as disordered eating, cutting, bullying, smoking or drinking.
When I read this, I was horrified, realizing that of the thousands of girls ages 8-17, half of them are involved in some sort of destructive behavior due to low self-esteem! I couldn’t believe it, so I actually confronted a friend who is an Emergency Room pediatric physician. She confirmed that there are high incidents of these cases showing up in the ER regularly. This issue is serious and needs to be addressed.
At EHM we are committed to building hope and fulfilling God’s mission by addressing issues of self-esteem and self-worth, for we know it is crucial in furthering the Kingdom of God. This self-critical behavior in our life sometimes begins very early; and coping strategies for these issues can and should be taught early in life. We can all think back to the days when we were a little girl, an adolescent, or college student and identify horrible or embarrassing moments. Some which make us laugh, but many make us cringe with fear, sadness, or anger. An unflattering nickname, a game-losing dropped ball, a rude comment, an abusive parent, sibling, or friend, etc.
Personally looking back, I faced a family focused on work, extensive negativity, criticism, verbal and physical abuse, and the importance of appearances. Don’t get me wrong, there was a lot of love and emotion, but much of it was overshadowed by the drive for accomplishment. Enjoyment and leisure were unacceptable.
Today, as a parent, I find it increasingly difficult to see the perfectionist attitude in my daughter. A proficient musician, an “A” student, and beautiful inside and out, she is at times sad and feels inadequate; unable to “measure up in so many things” she says. Our society, the American world, intimates that we can be good at everything and with practice and more practice and more money, and more practice, better looks, more accomplishments, etc. We can be famous, and then rich and then happy! This lie is setting our young people up for unmanageable expectations and an unattainable reality.
The behaviors my husband and I learned over the years are not easily dismissed, but can be changed. We learn what to do and not to do with the young people in our lives by asking God. With prayer and petition, I put the request forth to my Lord and Savior to develop my daughter into the young woman He intended for her to be and to develop the nurturing skills in the adults around her needed to steward her through this life. It is crucial for our young people to know their true value; to be reminded that only Jesus is perfect; and that if they look “up” when they’re feeling down, they will be victorious. Teaching them to do this is imperative for their self-esteem.
We have been delivering messages on the identity crisis surrounding women in today’s society in many of our podcasts, teachings, and videos so you know how important it is to us. In this series we are going to start early – we will help you identify ways to equip the young girls and ladies in your life to do battle!
Being able to build hope into the lives around us is helping them to understand the importance of putting on the full armor of God. Ephesians 6:13 (AMP) “Therefore put on God’s complete armor, that you may be able to resist and stand your ground on the evil day [of danger], and, having done all [the crisis demands], to stand [firmly in your place.” The full armor of God is learning to rest in assurance. The safety and security obtained by teaching your young people that each were created for a purpose and are special to God. Each has special gifts and talents unique to them.
Princess Warriors – the little girl in your life most likely loves dressing up; teach her how to be beautiful and strong! Teach her to PUT ON the Armor of God!
-Anna Marie Caulkins
Planning and Development Director