self-esteem


#1

Hi All,

This forum has provided wonderful help for me before, so I thought I'd post about a long-occurring problem in my life: self-doubt, self-loathing, and low self-esteem.

Now, happily I am blessed with a strong faith in God and for the most part my identity lies as a daughter of God and proud Catholic. I have no issues there. I am also a happily married young woman with a husband who loves me unconditionally and no marital problems to speak of. I have a pretty good relationship with everyone in my family, and a few friends. A car that (knock on wood) works, a dry, warm, safe apartment. A simple, good life. I know I'm blessed.

The thing is, I've dealt with two very shameful problems since early adolescence: one, a disordered relationship with food and two, a strange self-harming habit of picking at my cuticles until they bleed. I believe both of my problems are related to my views about myself as inferior to others. For reference, I am not overweight- I weigh in at the low spectrum of a healthy BMI. I know this cognitively, but emotionally I berate myself for wanting/loving food, and I daily pray for the strength to overcome what I view as gluttony and an addiction to food. The cuticle thing is a nervous habit that's triggered a bit by social anxiety and feeling uncomfortable around others. Every week I try to tell myself that I won't pick at my cuticles- that I'll let myself have normal looking hands/fingers for once- but every week some social encounter or anxiety about the future will have me picking.

I know this isn't a psychological forum but I could use a few prayers or advice on how to pray about these issues. I've received (secular) counseling before, but am looking for a more spiritual exercise. Anyone?


#2

Now, happily I am blessed with a strong faith in God and for the most part my identity lies as a daughter of God and proud Catholic.

The only true reason for esteeming the self!! God bless you TBenedicta.

Not certain of any good advice but I’ll send up a prayer or two!

Bryan

LOVE SO AMAZING


#3

Thank you for sharing your story, please be assured of my prayers!

I am a bit confused so forgive me I need to ask a question, if you are a healthy weight why do you beleive you have a “shameful” problem with gluttony? Obviously you feel you are being tempted, however it seems through prayer that you are able to resist this temptation successfully and remain healthy this is wonderful! Dear one there is nothing wrong with loving food. Jesus gave us taste buds and a variety of foods out of love for us! Do not get upset with yourself for being tempted only get upset with yourself for giving into temptation.

Second many people have nervous habits picking cuticles, chewing fingernails, chewing pencils, twisting or pulling their hair. I am not trying to minimize your problem of picking at your fingers but this is common and not necessarily something to beat yourself up over spiritually. Practically speaking it helps a lot to keep your nails/cuticles trimmed nicely as the skin can really be bothersome. Why not treat yourself to a nice manicure, then perhaps keep a tiny bottle of Holy Water with you, and when you are tempted to do this rub a little of the Holy Water into your fingertips. Nervous habits are hard to overcome because we often do them without thinking. After reading your post what strikes me as sad is not so much your habits, but the fact that you are so ashamed of yourself because of them. We all have a fallen human nature, not to use this as an excuse but this is the plain truth. You will go through the rest of your life battling bad habits, temptations, sins and very often you will succumb. As long as you keep trying and praying it will get easier over time. Hope this helps a little. God bless.


#4

Maybe you should get counseling at Catholic Charities.


#5

You mentioned that you're obsessed with food, yet you have a low normal BMI? I hope that you're not purging. I'm a retired ballet dancer, and have known more than my share of purgers, bulimics, and anorexics. In fact, it's an occupational plague. Only professional help seems to work for those folks. You could add some spiritual features to this, but they really need the help of trained health professionals to get them from something life threatening. I'm not kidding, here. A couple of old colleagues of mine died that way.

As far as the cuticle chewing thing is concerned, I suppose that you could be grateful that it isn't any worse than that! You might have wretched looking nailbeds, but that probably won't kill you, get you arrested, or lock you up in a psychiatric ward!

Since I was told in the confessional that smoking (also a compulsive habit, or an addiction) is at most a venial sin, I realized that it wouldn't lead to eternal damnation, although a bout with heart disease or lung cancer might be down the road. Long and short of it, I learned that this addiction was mine and mine alone to battle. God could and would give me the strength ON A DAILY BASIS ('give us this day our daily bread,") to attack it, but the responsibility for taking the first step and staying away from the first puff was up to me.

A lot of the root of the compulsive behaviors seems to be an attempt to deal with anxiety. It's pointless to try to fix a cause of the anxiety, because many times it's what is termed as free-floating anxiety, not attributable to anything in particular.

Prayer and meditation work very well to help reduce anxiety. In fact, they are specifically recommended as tools in all of the Twelve Step programs (that address various compulsive or addictive behaviors.) Step Eleven, in fact, reads, "Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out."


#6

[quote="odile53, post:5, topic:277001"]
You mentioned that you're obsessed with food, yet you have a low normal BMI? I hope that you're not purging. I'm a retired ballet dancer, and have known more than my share of purgers, bulimics, and anorexics.

[/quote]

What's a "purger?"


#7

. A couple of http://www.filii.info/g.gifold colleagues of mine died that way.


#8

but that probably won't kill you, get you arrested, or lock you up in a psychiatric ward!
http://www.filii.info/g.gif


#9

[quote="Monicad, post:3, topic:277001"]
Thank you for sharing your story, please be assured of my prayers!

I am a bit confused so forgive me I need to ask a question, if you are a healthy weight why do you beleive you have a "shameful" problem with gluttony? Obviously you feel you are being tempted, however it seems through prayer that you are able to resist this temptation successfully and remain healthy this is wonderful! Dear one there is nothing wrong with loving food. Jesus gave us taste buds and a variety of foods out of love for us! Do not get upset with yourself for being tempted only get upset with yourself for giving into temptation.

[/quote]

I know it's hard to understand... but I often overeat past the point of being full, or past what some might consider "normal". It's called binge-eating. I have a decent metabolism though and I run maybe 20 miles a week for fun, so that's what keeps me from looking like I do what I do. (Eat a whole family sized bag of m&ms in one sitting, for example.)

Why not treat yourself to a nice manicure, then perhaps keep a tiny bottle of Holy Water with you, and when you are tempted to do this rub a little of the Holy Water into your fingertips. Nervous habits are hard to overcome because we often do them without thinking.

I really like this suggestion of keeping a bottle of Holy Water around! I am definitely going to try that.

Thanks so much for your help! It might seem extreme or sad to you, but I'm just trying my best to be as holy as I can, where I can. If there's a problem in my life that leads me away from God, even if it's something as "trivial" as nail-biting or overeating, I want to stop it if I can.


#10

[quote="odile53, post:5, topic:277001"]
You mentioned that you're obsessed with food, yet you have a low normal BMI? I hope that you're not purging. I'm a retired ballet dancer, and have known more than my share of purgers, bulimics, and anorexics. In fact, it's an occupational plague. Only professional help seems to work for those folks. You could add some spiritual features to this, but they really need the help of trained health professionals to get them from something life threatening. I'm not kidding, here. A couple of old colleagues of mine died that way.

As far as the cuticle chewing thing is concerned, I suppose that you could be grateful that it isn't any worse than that! You might have wretched looking nailbeds, but that probably won't kill you, get you arrested, or lock you up in a psychiatric ward!

Since I was told in the confessional that smoking (also a compulsive habit, or an addiction) is at most a venial sin, I realized that it wouldn't lead to eternal damnation, although a bout with heart disease or lung cancer might be down the road. Long and short of it, I learned that this addiction was mine and mine alone to battle. God could and would give me the strength ON A DAILY BASIS ('give us this day our daily bread,") to attack it, but the responsibility for taking the first step and staying away from the first puff was up to me.

A lot of the root of the compulsive behaviors seems to be an attempt to deal with anxiety. It's pointless to try to fix a cause of the anxiety, because many times it's what is termed as free-floating anxiety, not attributable to anything in particular.

Prayer and meditation work very well to help reduce anxiety. In fact, they are specifically recommended as tools in all of the Twelve Step programs (that address various compulsive or addictive behaviors.) Step Eleven, in fact, reads, "Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out."

[/quote]

No, thankfully I've never purged, but I sometimes wonder if my penchant for running (I run anywhere from 15 miles a week to 40 miles a week depending on my schedule) is a way of "purging". I honestly love the sport itself, but there are times where I can feel myself gauging how many calories I've burnt or whatever, and I try my best to stop running if the reason for running is attached in any way to my overeating the night before. I have friends who suffer from anorexia or bulemia, and I know that my case is not as extreme as theirs. I'm not sure I would classify it as a disorder. More like a disordered relationship with food. The way I connect it with my spiritual life is that it is something that takes over my mind at times, and thus takes me away from time with God, if that makes any sense. I think you're on to something with the anxiety thing, and I'll have to look into specific prayers or chants I can say when I feel myself getting overwhelmed.

Thanks for your help! Blessings to you.


#11

You're pretty athletic, so it isn't unusual to be able to eat a lot of food and not have any weight gain. But I'd go with healthier food choices than a bag of candy in one sitting, something that helps muscle and tissue repair and supports cell metabolism. I think those of us who are athletic can use our prowess in athletic endeavors as a gift from God and yet remain humble about it. Remembering that it isn't our doing has a way of balancing it all out so that it is not a disordered attachment. I always considered my ballet career as a great gift from Him. That helped me maintain some recollection, as well as some sanity, in a highly competitive and cutthroat environment.


#12

[quote="Monicad, post:3, topic:277001"]
Dear one there is nothing wrong with loving food. Jesus gave us taste buds and a variety of foods out of love for us! Do not get upset with yourself for being tempted only get upset with yourself for giving into temptation.

.

[/quote]

Acts 14:17 (CEV), "But he showed that He was there by the good things he did. God sends rain from heaven and makes your crops grow. He gives food to you and makes your hearts glad." ;)


#13

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