Question:

Hi there,

At a young age, I did not care what people said about me. In fact, I did not even take note of it. However, it feels as if I put other people's opinion about myself over my own opinions. I think this started when I started to take rude remarks seriously. Right now, before every action I do, I think of what people might say or think. I don't even play sports at the moment, nor do anything I am not good at in front of others. If I am on my own, then I am, of course, not afraid of doing certain things.

What I want to know is how can I get my confidence high. I see many people (teenagers) who's confidence is extremely high, even those who get bad remarks by people often. It's as if they don't care whatsoever what people think of them. Example: A person like this, despite his not being able to dance, will still do it in front of a classroom regardless of what people might think. This person is having fun even though they cannot dance at all, and they do it just because they want to, not because they have to. I, however, wouldn't even think about dancing in front of one of my friends, but I will do it when people aren't looking. These people make bad jokes about themselves as if it is a good thing. They are always positive and happy.

I am currently reading my Bible every day for about an hour. I ask God if He will help me think positively, and help me to increase my self-confidence, but how long until I see progress? What else do I need to do?


Answer:

An overly high opinion of yourself is not necessarily a good thing. "For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith" (Romans 12:3).

Nor is it good to always let others determine your value. If you are righteous, you would expect the wicked not like you. "In regard to these, they think it strange that you do not run with them in the same flood of dissipation, speaking evil of you" (I Peter 4:3).

What you are saying is that you are letting pride get in your way. You can't enjoy life because you won't allow yourself to be less than perfect. Yet, life is not about having the admiration of others. It is about doing the things you enjoy because you enjoy them. "Rejoice, O young man, in your youth, and let your heart cheer you in the days of your youth; walk in the ways of your heart, and in the sight of your eyes; but know that for all these God will bring you into judgment. Therefore remove sorrow from your heart, and put away evil from your flesh, for childhood and youth are vanity" (Ecclesiastes 11:9-10). You play a sport because you enjoy playing; if you happen to be good at it, then that is a bonus.

There are people whose thoughts you should value because they are experts in their field. If you play baseball, then the coach is worth listening to. When you are talking a class, then the teacher's thoughts on your work is important. When you are at work, how your boss perceives you is important. But you are not qualifying your input. You put as much value on the opinions of a fellow teenager, who knows no more than you, and believe that his acceptance is important. Everyone's opinion is not equally valuable.

What is most important is knowing that what you are doing pleases God -- God's judgment of you is important. If God accepts you, then anything from man is a distant secondary importance. "So we may boldly say: "The LORD is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?"" (Hebrews 13:6).