You made all the delicate inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous – how well I know it. . .How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered. -Psalm 139:13-14, 17 (Bible, New Living Translation)
Throughout my life thus far, I have struggled the most with seeing myself as a beautiful creation. As I have referenced in previous blog posts, self-love has often felt like an impossible gift to unwrap. My appearance, my character, and even my existence have all failed, at some point, to achieve my standard of worthiness and adequacy.
From middle to high school, I battled suicidal thoughts so much that I almost sacrificed my faith. How could I believe in God when He created someone as disappointing as me? If you asked me how I felt about myself back then, I would say something to the likes of:
- I’m not pretty.
- My skin color is too dark.
- My hair is too nappy (before I started getting my hair straightened).
- I’m not even fashionable.
- Boys don’t ever try to talk to me.
- I don’t have the relationship that I wish I could have with certain people in my life. I guess I’m not good enough for them.
- Please don’t take a picture of me.
- I’m not cool enough.
- I don’t have anything that’s worthwhile to say.
- I don’t get how I can be loved by anyone.
Whenever I reflect on those times, I am so thankful that I did not give up on my life.
If I did, I would’ve missed out on attending Stanford, having unimaginable experiences, and meeting so many people who inspired me to build my confidence. I would not have been able to return home to Detroit, and work with one of the most amazing youth programs to have ever existed. I would be unable to continue striving to encourage family, friends, and others with my unfolding journey.
If I decided to commit suicide, I may have never come to realize that God knows me, cries with me, and loves me so much.
Today, I am better at some things, like being in photos, and loving my hair and skin in their natural glory. Yet, I still frequently compare myself to others, and worry that my beauty is too blurry or elusive to embrace.
Although my battle with low self-esteem is ongoing, I am hopeful that I will intentionally overcome with time. Since returning to the D, I’ve tried to hold myself accountable to countering fear with acts of love and courage. Recently, I began to remind myself on a daily basis of characteristics that I am aiming to embrace wholeheartedly:
I agree with Langston that, “life for me ain’t been no crystal stair”. I doubt that it ever will be. There is no clear-cut remedy to overcoming depression and low self-worth, but gratefully, I am sustained by a force that is greater than me.