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Davis Journal

Mental health and self-esteem

Apr 06, 2023 01:32PM ● By John Waterbury

Everyone knows that life can be challenging, but sometimes it can seem so difficult that we may even forget who we really are. Our self-esteem may get damaged, our self-confidence may take a serious hit, but our self-worth never changes.

Our self-worth is a gift from Heavenly Father. It doesn’t go up or down. It doesn’t increase when we’re good, and it doesn’t decrease when we’re bad. No matter what we feel or what we fear, no one can take our self-worth away from us. We never lose it, and we can’t even give it away.  Self-worth is constant and unchanging, it’s noble and worthwhile. We didn’t come to this world to get it, we brought it with us. And even if we fail to recognize its existence, it’s always there, waiting to be re-discovered.  So, if you haven’t discovered it just yet, be patient.

Patience is an interesting word. Patience with self is hope. Patience with others is love. Patience with God is Faith. (Adel Bestavros) So, strive to be patient, because patience and self-worth are connected.  In essence, patience is a choice. But our self-worth is different. Self-worth, and the happiness that it brings in the future, is not dependent on us, or on how much we know, or on any strength or capacity that we might have developed. Instead, our self-worth is completely dependent on God. 

It may all sound highly complicated, but Heavenly Father knows all about patience, and worth, and light, and glory, and darkness and anxiety, and depression, and a lot of other things that we can’t even begin to comprehend. Those are some of the reasons we’re trying to become a little bit more like Heavenly Father. We want to know more.  And He wants to teach us.

With this in mind, President Gordon B. Hinckley once wrote:  It isn’t as hard as you sometimes think it is. It all works out. Don’t worry. I say that to myself every morning. It will all work out. (end quote) 

So, what does all this mean to us as we face the challenges of Mortality? Well, when we feel afraid, and we begin to think that we’ll always be afraid, stop it! There is no truth to those words. We’re not here to fail. Consider the following words and apply them: 

Eventually, if we don’t give up and we do what needs to be done, things settle down, both inside and out, and the battle will be won. Life is not a contest or a competition with fate, but it becomes a work of art, as what we choose, we create. The colors on the canvas of our soul are changed by life, and somehow we become transformed in spite of the pain and strife. The challenges in life must be faced and overcome, and who we really are determines how the game is won. A well-designed philosophy of life will lead the way, and dreams become reality when they see the light of day. Parts of life seem to pass away, but somehow we are reborn. And the calm before the storm expands until there is no storm.    

John Waterbury is a retired Clinical Mental Health Counselor who has lived in Utah since 1984 when he moved to Bountiful with his wife and four children. Since then, he has written a weekly column for several years for the Davis County Clipper titled “The Dear John Letters” which was also used throughout the intermountain West focusing on addiction and mental health problems. This new column will focus on mental health and life management issues.  λ