Young People Ask
How Can I Boost My Self-Respect?
YES | NO
When you look in the mirror, do you like what you see?
Do you feel that you have praiseworthy skills?
Are you able to stand up to peer pressure?
Can you handle valid criticism?
Can you handle unfair remarks others make about you?
Do you feel loved?
Do you take care of your health?
Are you happy for others when they succeed?
Do you generally view yourself as successful?
If you answered no to several of the above questions, it may be that low self-respect has blinded you to your strengths. This article will help you to discover them!
MOST youths struggle with uncertainties about their appearance and their abilities, as well as how they measure up to others. Do you fall into that category? If so, you have plenty of company!
● “My imperfections cause me to feel down. Usually, I am my own worst critic.”—Leticia.*
● “No matter how pretty or handsome you are, you always come across others who are better-looking.”—Haley.
● “I get very self-conscious around others. I’m scared that I’ll look like a loser.”—Rachel.
If you identify with the above statements, don’t despair. You can get help. Consider three “self-respect boosters” that will help you to see yourself in a more positive light.
1. Make Friends
Key scripture. “A true companion is loving all the time, and is a brother that is born for when there is distress.”—Proverbs 17:17.
What it means. A good friend can be a tremendous support during times of adversity. (1 Samuel 18:1; 19:2) Even the thought that someone cares can lift your spirits. (1 Corinthians 16:17, 18) So draw close to those who have a positive influence on you.
“Real friends won’t let you stay down.”—Donnell.
“Sometimes the most important thing is knowing that someone sincerely cares. That can make you feel valuable.”—Heather.
Caution: Make sure your friends bring out the real you—not a persona that you create just to fit in. (Proverbs 13:20; 18:24; 1 Corinthians 15:33) Engaging in unwise acts just to impress others will leave you feeling degraded and used.—Romans 6:21.
Your turn. Below, fill in the name of a friend who might boost your self-respect.
Why not make arrangements to spend some time with the person you named? Note: The person doesn’t have to be in your age group.
2. Give of Yourself
Key scripture. “There is more happiness in giving than there is in receiving.”—Acts 20:35.
What it means. When you help others, you help yourself. How? “Generosity will be rewarded,” states a Bible proverb. “Give a cup of water, and you will receive a cup of water in return.” (Proverbs 11:25, Contemporary English Version) There’s no denying it—your sense of well-being soars when you help others!*
“I think of what I can do for others and try to fill a need for someone in my congregation. Giving love and attention to others makes me feel better.”—Breanna.
“The Christian ministry is rewarding because it forces you to stop thinking about yourself and start thinking about others.”—Javon.
Caution: Don’t help others solely for the purpose of getting something in return. (Matthew 6:2-4) Giving with the wrong motive falls flat. It is usually seen for just what it is—a false front!—1 Thessalonians 2:5, 6.
Your turn. Think of someone you have helped in the past. Who was that person, and what did you do for him or her?
How did you feel afterward?
Think of someone else you could help, and write down how you can assist that one.
3. Bounce Back From Your Mistakes
Key scripture. “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”—Romans 3:23.
What it means. There’s no getting around it—you’re imperfect. That means there will be times when you will say or even do the wrong thing. (Romans 7:21-23; James 3:2) While you can’t avoid making mistakes, you can control how you react to them. The Bible says: “Even if good people fall seven times, they will get back up.”—Proverbs 24:16, CEV.
“Sometimes low self-esteem results when we compare our weakness to another person’s strength.”—Kevin.
“Everyone has good and bad qualities. We should be proud of the good and work on the bad.”—Lauren.
Caution: Don’t use your imperfection as an excuse to practice sin. (Galatians 5:13) Deliberately engaging in wrongdoing will cut you off from the most important approval you could have—that of Jehovah God!—Romans 1:24, 28.
Your turn. Below, write a quality that you would like to improve in.
Write today’s date next to the quality you noted. Do research on how to improve, and check your progress in one month.
Your True Value
The Bible says that “God is greater than our hearts.” (1 John 3:20) This means that he can see value in you that you may not see in yourself. But do your imperfections change that? Well, imagine that you had a $100 bill with a small tear in it. Would you throw it away or view it as worthless because of that tear? No way! It’s still worth $100—with or without a tear.
It’s similar with God’s view of your worth. He notices and values your efforts to please him, no matter how insignificant they may seem to you! Indeed, the Bible assures us that “God is not unrighteous so as to forget your work and the love you showed for his name.”—Hebrews 6:10.
More articles from the “Young People Ask” series can be found at the Web site www.watchtower.org/ype
Some names in this article have been changed.
If you are one of Jehovah’s Witnesses, consider the great joy you can gain by sharing the Kingdom message with others.—Isaiah 52:7.
TO THINK ABOUT
What will you do if you start feeling low because
● Your peers put you down?
● You feel that you do not measure up to others?
● You seem to notice only your weaknesses?
[Blurb on page 27]
“A person can be very good looking and still feel ugly. Or a person can be less attractive and think he or she is the best-looking person around. It’s all about attitude.”—Alyssa
[Box/Pictures on page 27]
WHAT YOUR PEERS SAY
“Even the strongest building needs support and, at times, repairs. Often my support came from the loving words of a friend or even a simple smile or a hug.”
“Instead of feeling bad over the good qualities that others have, we can benefit from their good qualities—just as they can from ours.”
[Picture on page 28]
The value of money does not lessen because it is torn. In the same way, your value in God’s eyes does not lessen because of imperfection