Sunday, November 1, 2009

Improving My Sense of Self-worth

by Rachel Rager

I have always known my children are here to help me learn and grow. Shortly after I gave birth to my third daughter I was depressed. And though I can blame my lack of sleep as the result of my slightly depressed manner, I am not one hundred percent convinced that there was not more behind that. My baby had been extremely grumpy one afternoon and evening and I received no more than ten minutes of respite. She would fall asleep in my arms only to wake up as soon as I set her down. I sunk into a deep depression that concerned my husband, the counselor; though I thought I was merely tired. As I awoke the next morning from another sleepless night, I could still feel the lingering effects. And all I wanted to do was lay down and sleep the day away. However, my husband suggested I get out of the house and do something. My thoughts automatically shifted to shopping. I would go to the store and buy something, because that would help improve my mood.
As I stood fixing my hair, I began to contemplate why women feel so much better about themselves when they have new clothes. It is exciting to go shopping and get new things. It makes me feel beautiful, even special. I think sometimes we rely too heavily on physical things to improve our feeling of self-worth. And so often this can thrust us into financial difficulties as well.
At an Enrichment activity the week prior, the Second Counselor in the Bishopric spoke and expressed his concern for the women of the church; for while we are a very caring, compassionate and serving group, we frequently neglect our own needs. Hence, I think we slip into a sort of depression. From there we become more concerned with things of this world and many other outside influences that we think will make us feel better. When they only make us feel good for a short little while, we grasp for other things to give us the same boon and soon are spiraling downward faster and faster. We have little sense of self-worth and have many other problems – perhaps emotionally, physically, financial, and spiritually and these things can affect our relationships, not only with a spouse, but children, parents, siblings and friends as well.
So how do we fix this? First, become intimately acquainted with the Savior. Learn of His teachings. Learn of His love, compassion and friendship. Next, submit yourselves to Him. He has atoned for you and has enabled you to use that atonement to draw closer to Him. Perhaps you have not sinned while in this cycle of self-destruction. Does that mean the atonement cannot help? No. We are all children of God, and as such, He desires for us to return to Him. By Allowing Him to share our burdens and pain, we are drawing nearer to Him.
Another step in this process of self-improvement is to take time for yourself. Do something you enjoy without feeling guilty. Plan a night with friends, away from the children once in a while. Set a budget so you do not exceed your means in the process. Go on regular dates with your spouse. Talk with your spouse about your feelings. Talking with a spouse will not only help with depression and improve self-worth, but it will also strengthen the marital relationship. If you don’t feel comfortable talking, write them a letter. Writing is very therapeutic. Exercise is also a great way to get in touch with yourself and it will improve your physical health while helping your mental health.
How will these things help you become an emotionally healthier person? When you are in touch with yourself and your needs, you are much more in tune with the Spirit. You are able to not only help yourself but are able to help those around you much more effectively. You will no longer need new clothes or other worldly possessions to make you feel better about yourself. When you take care of yourself and take the time to spend time doing what you need to do, without neglecting your family, you become close to our Savior and can truly be happy.


JoAnn Arnold said...

I have a friend who, after loosing a baby at birth, began spending money right and left. It was depression and it took time for her to recognize it.

Excellent post. Thank you

Chantele said...

Thank you for this post. I am currently pregnant with my third, and it has been a very painful pregnancy. I can't really do a lot, so I find myself laying around the house all day. With two young children with me all day, I have felt a little depression as well. Thank you for writing this. I need to focus on my writing, and do a few more things and I know I will start feeling better.:)

Rachel Rager said...

I'm glad you enjoyed this. This is not the kind of thing I share regularly because I worry people will misinterpret it. But I'm glad you both enjoyed it!

Cindy (C.L.) Beck said...

Great advice here. Depression can be a problem, and caused by so many different situations. The hard part is that those who are depressed often don't realize exactly what's wrong or how to fix it.