I have always struggled with self-acceptance and completely loving all of myself. My self-esteem in my younger years was low and as I transition into adulthood it pretty much stayed there.
The home is where most people receive their validation and love (well at least this should be the place!) However, this was not the case for me. I was not raise in a traditional two-parent household. I didn’t have parental figures telling me I was beautiful. None of that was going on!
So naturally, my validation came from the world, I look to see what others thought about me! From my peers and fellow classmates (by no means credible sources). Kids can be cruel and words do hurt. However, they were only speaking my own insecurities what I had already thought about myself. I was “too skinny”, “too dark”, and “ugly”. So when the perceptions I thought of myself was confirmed by others around me, it just became my truth.
I was too skinny, too dark & ugly!
Why do you think your self-esteem was low?
The reason my self-esteem was so low was because I was looking for someone else (outside of Christ) to validate me to tell me that I was beautiful. I struggled with no one liking me ENOUGH to be in a relationship with me. Because being in a relationship was the epitome of my “self-acceptance and self-worth.” Being in a relationship with someone meant I was accepted, loved and wanted by someone. A relationship is what I would always chase but always end up empty handed.
Due to this unhealthy perception I had of myself I would find myself in so many uncompromising situations as it relates to my sexual integrity which would in turn push my self-esteem down even more. All because I just wanted someone to like me!
Never going as far as having sex, but dang near close enough to not be wearing a promise ring (which I had by the way). As a Christian girl and now adult this cycle continued. I knew God and the right things to do but my need for wanting to be liked over ruled what God said or says about me. Yeah God told me I was beautiful, but that wasn’t enough. But He is God. He thinks everyone is beautiful. He made us and created us. He would never say we were nothing less. What I needed was a physical human being to tell me I was beautiful.
My life came crashing down at the age of 21 when insecurities got the best of me and I was raped. This just catapulted into a spiral of one poor choice, after another poor choice. All in the name of wanting someone to like me. My self-esteem however, reached the all-time lowest point when masturbation became my master. It ruled over me and I was its slave.
This sexual sin was something that had me stuck in a vicious cycle. So now not only didn’t men like me enough to be in a relationship, I didn’t like me. But now I am for sure God didn’t like me either. How could He, why would He. I was a mess and disgusted with myself. Living in silence was also the worst part no one knew I was battling with this addiction alone. It was eating me up and tearing my self-esteem into micro-mini pieces.
It wasn’t until I started to share my struggle with people I could trusted did I start to work on putting an end to this addiction. But even then I would still keep making the same mistakes to where I even lost a really good friendship over my addictive habit. This addiction needed to end. But I knew I couldn’t do it alone. It was not doing my self-esteem any good and I was starting to loss my identity. I didn’t know who I was anymore. Candi? “Who is she?” I was lost.
When did you become born again?
I was born and raised a Christian. Going to church was a normal part of my growing up. I went to school and I went to church. I enjoyed church and the friends I had while at church. They accepted me and I never had to prove myself to them. I was actively involved in church as a child, a teen, and young adult (I sang in the choir, I was a praise dancer, participated in church plays. Even now as an adult I sing on the praise team. Church has always been a part of my life. With that said, even though church was a part of my life, I had not made God, the Lord over my life. I claim to love Him but I didn’t really believe He could deliver me or love me the way He loved everyone else. I mean I did all the things (well at least all the things) a Christian should do. I obeyed my grandmother, listen to my teachers, got good grades, never cussed, and did what I was told. However, this struggle with masturbation created a separation between me and God. I didn’t know how to get close to Him to build a close relationship with Christ. God told me one time, “Candi you love me but you don’t know me. Each time I would mess up and fall into sexual immorality. I felt like God didn’t accept me or approve me. I was reliving my school-age years all over again, now only with Jesus, and this was a tough pill to swallow. If Jesus didn’t like me than shoot, no one would ever like me. This discourage my heart and left my self-esteem so damaged.
Did that help with your self-esteem?
It was not until about 2 years ago I got serious about my walk with Christ. I was tired of going through the motions. I wanted a real relationship with the Lord. Most importantly I just wanted to be healed and whole. I was willing to do whatever it took to be healed and whole. I was desperate, I could not take the pain anymore. In that moment I prayed and I ask God to help me in these areas of masturbation, self-acceptance, and low self-esteem. He surrounded me with some accountability partners that help me in my journey. It was during that time I started to really focus on the areas within myself that I had been too afraid to confront. Rejection and abandonment were my too biggest issues. I had always been dealing with the symptoms of my problems but not really addressing the root. I wasn’t until I gave these areas to the Lord that I started to see myself how God views me. However, do not allow me to mislead you. This internal transformation did not happen overnight. I did not stop masturbating right away. There was a process. However, it wasn’t until I started to see how I was truly effectively my relationship with God that I knew I needed to make some serious changes if I wanted to be healed and whole completely. Till this day I still meet with my accountability partners on a weekly basis to discuss my progress and process. Today I can confidently say, I don’t need anyone to validate my self-worth. God has and still does call me I am beautiful.
Last month on Feb. 14th, (yes Valentine’s Day) I turned 37 years old I am not in relationship but I am trusting God and I do believe that there is someone in this would who would not only like me but love me. Now that I have Christ at the center of my life. All of my value and worth comes from and through Him. I know what He says about me is true. He said I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Simply put I am enough!
Game Over; control- alt- delete
Uhm…..okay so where do I began, I think I was 8 no 12, no 11, no I was 10.
Fourteen is when it all began. Fourteen is when my life and my identity had been taken over by sin. The sin of choice? Well it’s called “lust.” I ran track in high school so I left the Holy Spirit in the dust.
Fourteen, I said, is when it all began; when I became attracted to sin, or should I say it became attracted to me, I was young naïve I had not developed my inner beauty.
Not fond of my size, my skin or my face, when he said I was beautiful into his arms I embraced. All I wanted really was my “very first kiss” but I got so much more, the kissed it was nice, then he touched me “down there” I did not like it; it did not feel right.
I knew it was wrong but I was too scared to say anything, so I just played along. Ashamed of my actions; by what had just taken place I told no one because I felt like such a disgrace. I could not bear the look of disapproval on their face.
Brought up in the church how could I let this be? I am the holy Christian girl; you don’t do “those things.”
I keep my secret deep inside; nobody knew but the pain in my heart grew. The game never ended I kept playing along, I search deep inside myself trying to sing my song, Titled, “Can-di you can be free” but I guess there was a mix tape because I kept singing the sin song “lust lives inside of me.”
With each encounter I came across, I played more and more; always thought I was doing good cause I never let them score.
I wore my celibacy ring proud, glad I did not lose my virginity, yet all the while I was losing my identity.
Masking my pain by doing well in school… all “A’s and no C’s;
I felt if I was a “little miss goody two shoes,” no one would see the hurt inside of me.
If I appeared as if I was fine, then no one would ask. It was oh so easy putting on the “mask.” “We wear the mask” as Paul Lawrence Dunbar would say; shoot this was easy I wore it all night and all day.
At the age of 21 the game had changed, I was raped by this older man; I don’t even remember his name.
I had my support from my friends, and my twin sister Brandi; but I never found the support inside of me.
I hated who I was and I didn’t want it to be; but I played the game so long I thought, “Hey this must be me”
I suppressed my feelings inside because I had become someone I hate; to the point, I just needed any encounter so I began to masturbate.
I felt like a drug addict; I had to have it, it was a need, a must, there was no escaping this drug of choice, what did I call it? Oh yea… lust!
This cycle repeated again, & again, continuously for years, to the point I stopped shedding tears.
This is when I became consumed with fear; oh, my God what if I will never be free? Will this spirit of lust always live inside of me?
I would tell my friends, trying to do the right thing. At this point in my life, I knew it was important to have accountability.
I was tired of the lies! No more secrets! Time to be honest and speak the truth!
This was the only way I was going to make it through.
The truth will set you free. That is what it says in the Word;
I wanted to soar in the sky; I wanted my voice to be heard.
I was doing good… I was feeling strong… I was finally feeling free;
But as soon as I would meet someone, out jumped that lust inside of me. Oh no not again, will this sin ever END!
We fall down but we get up, for a saint is just a sinner who fell down, but got up. How many times must I fall Lord? Will I ever be free?
On the other hand, should I just stay on the ground, for this sin is beating me.
Defeated; cast down, but I knew I was not destroyed!
All I wanted was to join another Army so yep I enlisted so I would be deployed. Therefore, in the front line I stand with my internal wounds exposed! I die to my flesh, heart, mind body, and soul.
I am ready to be free; I need Jesus to take control.
Each day I stand on the front line dying daily to my flesh, each day I don’t sin, I am passing the test.
I am walking in purpose, I am soaring, & sailing the sea, this game is over press the keys end Ctrl- Alt-Delete. I am free!
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Please feel free to submit articles on how you overcame your low self-esteem and if you haven’t overcome it, I am here to help.
Email me firstname.lastname@example.org