I personally struggle with finding the balance between being excessively prideful and having an extremely low self esteem. I think I may have found a visual analogy to help keep me in check.
Stand up, feet together, hold your arms straight out to the side, parallel to the ground. You should be standing like a cross.
Look down at your feet, you shouldn't think of yourself as equivalent to dirt. You shouldn't let others and even yourself walk all over you. In God's eyes you have value and worth, you are His. If you think you belong that low, depression will rob you of joy, meanwhile it inhibits you from living life to the extent God created for you.
Your feet are too low.
Let's go up to your head, you don't want to get a big head. Pride is something we all struggle with, it is the root of all sin and it isn't pretty.
Too high I guess.
All things should be done for God while acknowledging that God is the giver of your gifts and they need to be used to glorify Him not yourself.
So where is a healthy balance? Look at your arms, what are they level with? Your heart. God made each person beautiful and unique. The deepest desire of every human heart is to belong, have a purpose, and to be loved by God. When we sin, however, our vision gets clouded and we look to satisfy our heart's desires in other ways. We begin to worship things, feelings or actions instead of God. When we look at the core of every heart, only God can satisfy our desires.
If your vision is clouded with sin what can you do? Most importantly celebrate the sacraments on a regular basis, daily if possible.
I'm by no means an expert at finding a balance between excessive pride and thinking I'm equivalent to dirt, but here is a short list of things I have found helpful in my life:
- Go to reconciliation, most churches have reconciliation once a week and if you can't make it at your churches scheduled time, make an appointment with your Priest.
- Go to Mass on Sunday (or Saturday night). Even go to daily Mass. You can go everyday, once a week, once a month, what ever you can do. The Eucharist is spiritual food and we need it.
- Go to Adoration. After/before work you can stop at the closest Catholic church and spend ten-twenty minutes at Adoration.
- Read the daily readings in your bible. If that seems like a lot to start with, you can start with bible verses; you can sign up HERE to have a bible verse sent to your email daily.
- I highly recommend getting a spiritual director. Talking to someone can be very healing. It is healthy to talk, otherwise we end up bottling our feelings up; which doesn't get rid of the pain, only makes it grow with time.
- Journaling has been a beautiful practice in my life. I've learned and grown so much through journaling. I can better understand what it is and why I'm feeling the way I am. I find that the Lord often speaks to me through my journaling and helps calm me down.
These are just a few different things you can do to stay heart-level. There are many others, but the ones listed above I have found beneficial in my life. We are all different and all called to different kinds of prayer at different seasons in our lives, see what works for you. :)
P.S. I was writing this post while sitting in front of the Mary statue in the grotto at my church and the sweetest retired gentleman came up to pray a Hail Mary (which we ended up praying together). Then we talked for a short amount of time. I am lifting him up in my prayers today and would like to invite you to as well. :)