Imagine thyself always to be the servant of all, and look upon all as if they were Christ our Lord in person; and so shalt thou do Him honor and reverence... Do not think of the faults of others, but of what is good in them and faulty in thyself. - (St Teresa of Avila, Maxims). Practice renouncement of your own will... and purity of heart - (St Louis de Montfort, Preparation).
Thoughts on self-esteem: Worldly and Christian perspectives:
- Make every effort to remember what you were like when you were weak... If you are not weak now, this is NOT your achievement. Otherwise, you will gradually be tempted to look down on others... Stay alert... the devil never sleeps. The nearer we approach perfection, the more careful we need to be... Prayer is the best way to discover the increasingly clever schemes of our adversary. (St Teresa of Avila).
- The humble will look around them at the beauty of the earth, and will see their God at work and be glad; they will seek his help and will live in joy. The proud will not see God's work, but only their own, and their joy will die with them. (Psalm 69:32)
- "[Self-esteem] is essential, provided it is true and leads a person out of himself and not into self-enclosure... combines two very contrasting extremes. On the one hand I, as a Christian, know that I am a son of God; on the other, I know that I am a sinner in need of redemption. There is no greater sense of dignity and worth, and no greater sense of misery and danger. If I die loving God and others, I am saved. If I die loving just myself, I am lost..."
- "...self-contentment becomes a potent obstacle to human and Christian growth... each one is right just as he or she is, and no one should ever suggest that they should be different! [They judge themselves by their OWN standards]. Excessive self-esteem, as we have remarked, easily tends to alienate others... The almost automatic reaction of the self-admiring person, when he or she realizes that others do not share in that admiration and perhaps even regard them with a certain contempt, is one of resentment, even rage... turn into self-pity, which is one of the most isolating, demoralizing and self-destructive of attitudes related to self."
- "The goal of [life] is not growth in self-esteem, but growth in Christ, which is inseparable from the consciousness of being a sinner in need of redemption, inseparable also from the idea of self-denial, and from seeking not one's "own system of values" but the Gospel law given to us by Christ... 'Self' cannot be the starting point for development or growth as a Christian — for whom everything starts with what God gives... one should judge oneself — because one will be judged — by the standards that Jesus Christ has given to us in his teaching... you are of worth because you know someone loves you, and loves you even if others don't, and even if you are tempted (the ultimate temptation) to believe that you are not worth loving at all... the negative elements in each one of us-our objective defects and our sins-are integrated and absorbed into the positive fact and the glorious awareness of being a child of God."
- "It is best for a soul not to attempt to rise by its own efforts... If the soul tries to go forward it may actually go backward... The foundation for prayer is humility. The nearer we come to God, the more humility we need. There is a kind of pride that makes us want to be more spiritual. [But] God is already doing more for us than we deserve. - St Teresa of Avila.
- Honor and money go together The one who desires honor never hates money, but the one who hates money has little regard for honor. The world rarely honors an honorable poor person. Instead, it despises him. True poverty bears a different kind of honor that is never objectionable. I'm thinking of poverty we welcome for God's sake. In my experience, I've learned that if you have no need of anyone, you will have many friends
Some prayers on humility:
- Oh my Jesus, Mary and Joseph, I love you, Teach me the wisdom of true Humility, Give me the courage to accept from the Holy Spirit Just what was, is, to be. Let my thoughts be always Charitable. And help me to be Obedient and give a Good Example to others. Oh, my beloved, thou also art My God. Make my heart a flame of pure love for you. Give me this virtue of Humility to know, understand and live my life In order to become like Jesus at the hour and moment at midnight in Bethlehem in piercing cold. Forgive me Jesus, for all my weaknesses and temptations, and help me to renounce the world, the flesh and the devil, in order to live in a closer unity with my heavenly Father, so that I may unite myself with you. Amen.
- O God, who resists the proud, and gives grace to the humble: grant us the virtue of true humility, where of Your Only-begotten son showed in Himself a pattern for Your faithful; that we may never by our pride provoke Your anger, but rather by our meekness receive the riches of Your grace.
- O divine Lord, how shall I dare to approach you, I who have so often offended you? No, Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof; but speak only the word and my soul shall be healed.