We too often try to avoid pride with self-deprecation.
We think that if we are continually putting ourselves down that we cannot be prideful.
My hips look big | I shouldn’t have eaten that slice of pie | I am starting to get a belly
Devin Miller (Mountain Green, Utah)
Father and Husband
If you are a woman you may have uttered the words “My hips look big,” “I shouldn’t have eaten that slice of pie,” or “I wish I had her hair.” If you are a man you may have uttered the words “I wish I had a better job,” or “I am starting to get a belly.”
As we are constantly warned about pride in the scriptures and from the leaders of the church, we too often try to avoid pride with self-deprecation. We think that if we are continually putting ourselves down that we cannot be prideful.
Does Heavenly Father want us to be self-deprecating? Does He want us to be down on ourselves? No. Elder Russell M. Nelson reminds us who we are:
Who are we? We are children of God. Our potential is unlimited. Our inheritance is sacred.
If we are truly children of our Heavenly Father, He does not want us to focus on our shortcomings and imperfections. Rather, he wants us to focus on our divine potential. In the 1979 Ensign, C. Kay Allen, a husband, father, physiologist, and bishop of a single ward shared:
I’ve spent years becoming aware of the dimensions of the problem we call self-esteem. And that’s in addition to the time I’ve put in on myself. Every day, including most Sundays, I see people who want to be loved and to love themselves but… they feel terrible—lonely, cynical, or helpless.
And it makes me feel bad too, because I can plainly see that what they are doing and feeling moves them away from love. Since they often feel no value in themselves, they usually see little value in others. They don’t know that the self love they need to develop is not selfishness or self-centeredness; in fact, it is its opposite.
So how do we come to love ourselves without becoming prideful? We must realize that we can be great at things, we can be beautiful/handsome, we can be smart and powerful, and we can stand out without being prideful.
Just as parents do not want their children walking around in life think lowly of themselves, Heavenly Father does not want self-deprecating children. Heavenly Father wants his children to become perfect even as he is. To become perfect we must be great at things, we must be beautiful/handsome to ourselves, we must be smart and powerful, and we must stand out as righteous followers of our Heavenly Father.
C. Kay Allen further shares that:
Our present feelings about ourselves were born in our intimate relationships with family and friends. But most of us face disappointment or hostility at one time or another and develop fears and self-protective reactions. And what has happened seems beyond our control… self-esteem begins with change, with the conviction that I have control over my attitudes and actions toward others.
So what change is needed? We need to start putting ourselves and those around us up rather than down. We need to get off social media, stop comparing ourselves, stop tearing others down to try and bring them to our level. We need to get out there and serve others, love others, and care for others. As we feel better about those around us, we feel better about ourselves. As we see the greatness in others we can begin to so the greatness in ourselves. As we do so we can start putting ourselves up and reaching our full potential to become as our Heavenly Father.
With all my capacity I encourage you to discover who you really are. … I urge you to discern through the Spirit your divinely given capacities.
- E. Richard G. Scott