Probably one of the most common issues I come across is what has come to be called “low self-esteem”. It’s a real issue. But it seems to me that most of the approaches trying to solve low self-esteem end up bankrupt. A lot of effort is required in the direction of self-affirmation, and if any progress is made, the effort must be sustained tenaciously or the inexorable tide of low self esteem often floods back in. I think there is a good (though not very popular to identify) reason for this. Namely, there is something deeply broken about all of us, and no amount of affirmation can quell that deep sense of brokenness.
But there is a better alternative to defeating the corrosive effect of low self-esteem. Some spiritual teachers call it “falling up”. It entails the embracing of one’s imperfections, even the willingness to come to the Divine through the counter-intuitive process of “getting it wrong” rather than the futile attempt to ascend by getting it right. I’m not talking about license to live with no moral code or anything along those lines. I’m talking about coming face to face with all of your failures, imperfections, sins, shortcomings–the raw, naked you… and discovering that it is this very person that God has chosen to love unreservedly. At that moment, your self-esteem improves dramatically, because it no longer matters.