Ugly Duckling Syndrome

When I was in the 6th grade, I dreaded getting on the school bus. There were two boys in the back of the bus who would greet me every morning and every afternoon after school with “hey ugly.” or “ohh look, ugly is riding the bus today.”

High school came, I got my braces off, and one of the boys who rode the bus with me in 6th grade started being nice to me. i think one day he even told me I was beautiful.. But I, the almighty (not so much anymore) grudge holder, quickly reminded him “uhm you used to call me ugly every day on the bus, don’t you remember?” of course he laughed and denied it. Its funny how people don’t realize how much they hurt us.

I grew out of my sixth grade awkward stage and have since had a hard time accepting compliments. I believe there is a term for my behavior: “Ugly Duckling syndrome.”

Have you ever seen the movie shallow hal?

In the movie, one of the main characters says he pursues women with ugly duckling syndrome, because they are vulnerable. They are vulnerable because they grew up their whole life believing they were ugly and unworthy, causing them to accept less than they deserve..They never truly realize their worth or beauty.

Ive spent the majority of my life attempting to find myself… and on many occasions, settling for less than I deserve..

But I am not sure there is anything wrong with having ugly duckling syndrome. If it is channeled properly..

Because truth be told, I am Gods ugly duckling. It wasn’t until I fully devoted my life to Him, that He has began His work to create me into His beautiful swan..

After all, anyone who is in Christ is a new creation. Lets take a moment to reflect.

Growing up, I felt incredibly lost because of my biological father, I want you to note the use of biological, not real father.. I have a real father, and he has been an amazing influence in my life. But my biological father, his actions and lifestyle caused him to be absent from my life. I often day dreamed about what he might be like, if I looked like him..Or had any mannerisms like him.. If he loved me.. But I could never find the answers.

and I felt like since I didn’t know him, I did not know where I came from.. Or maybe I wasn’t good enough for him..

Last week, in our support group I decided to ask the question “How can we as women develop high self esteem?

Ive noticed that many women, including myself struggle with self esteem issues..

In order to prepare for our support group topic at church, I sat out on a study regarding this topic.. But when I found the answer in Gods word, it wasn’t exactly what I was expecting..

Here is a reflection of that study:

High Self Esteem vs Low Self Esteem:

Today we are often led to believe that we all have “beauty within us”… To “Follow our hearts..”

and that if we could only learn to love ourselves “just the way we are” we would be confident and happy.

I had dinner with a friend the other day and she told me her counselor was helping her find herself. And she said she had lost herself because she was a people pleaser..

Many counseling sessions work to get people to develop “high self-esteem.”

Because we believe this not only makes us happier people, but makes us more pleasant to be around.

When I was 16 I was put in counseling.. Ill spare you the details, but had I listened to my counselor I would have come to the conclusion that my problem is not what I am, but rather what I think I am.

I would have been diagnosed as lacking a sense of self-esteem and self-worth. I would be told I am a product of my surroundings and experiences. I would have been told that nothing is my fault and it is okay to act out selfishly because I deserve it..

I would have been told to stop being a people pleaser.

I would have been told to believe and confess that I am a valuable, worthwhile human being..

But.. If I had arrived at these conclusions, would I need Jesus?

Probably not..

Is there any chance that, I could be the problem?

Is there any way that perhaps Satans new tactic is to allow us to convince ourselves that everything is always about us… me me me… And to follow our hearts and feelings? To seek after constant pleasure…To establish high self esteem and self worth?

Have you ever wondered what the two terms High self-esteem and low self esteem have in common?


Have you ever wonder why we are so focused on ourselves???

This world tells us the key to happiness is loving ourselves.. Finding ourselves… Accepting ourselves…Dont be a people pleaser…

But here lies the problem..

Scripture tells us that we are not to have confidence in ourselves, but in Christ only

Jesus said it this way:

“If anyone desires to come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily, and follow Me,” (Luke 9:23)
He who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of me (Matt 10:37).

As far as being a people pleaser… Jesus tells us that “For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

and that God as provided us comfort so that we can comfort others..

2 Corinthians 1:3-4
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be abet to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.”

I see nothing wrong with devoting myself to others for the sake of Christ.. I see nothing wrong with trying to comfort or please people..

What if, self-denial, rather than self-esteem, could actually be the solution to our insecurities?

What if we let self fade into the background and become consumed with Jesus Christ?

What if we no longer look to ourselves – our own worth, talent, beauty, or uniqueness – to find confidence. Instead, we learn to find our confidence in who He is, rather than in who we are?

What if we use our Ugly Duckling syndrome to realize where we came from.. and to stay humble…

To realize that at one time we were ugly, unrighteous, without hope and without God..

because after all,

God’s word tells us we do not possess any beauty or goodness of our own accord.

Gods word tells us that before we had Christ, we were in darkness..

Ephesians 5:8
“For at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord.”

and Gods word tells us that we have all failed him

Romans 3:23
“ for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”

So to me, to go on a discovery of self without putting God first is just plain silly….
Jeremiah tells us this in

Jeremiah 10:23 “ I know, O Lord that the way of man is not in himself, that it is not in man who walks to direct his steps.”

Follow your heart??
We are told that our heart.. Without Gods word… is deceitful

Jeremiah 17:9
“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?”

again, without God, we are nothing..

John 1:3 “All things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made.”

Galatians 6:3
“For is anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself.”

In God’s word I was hoping to find the key to developing high self-esteem, but instead I found that the key to finding myself, is denying myself….

So here I stand, declaring I am weak.. I was lost… and unworthy.. an ugly duckling, but…. guess what?

Romans 5:6-11
“For while we were still weak at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one who wills scarcely die for a righteous person- though perhaps for a good person one would dare in to die- but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God.

“For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by His life. More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have received reconciliation.”

Wait a minute
I dont get it..

Isn’t High self-esteem a healthy thing? Isn’t it vital to both mental
and emotional health? Megan, look what happens to people
who don’t feel good about themselves.

They are often insecure, they bash other peoples character, they are unpleasant to be around, or chronic complainers and troubled.

How is it is possible to be self crucified, yet
not become depressed, and consumed with a sense of

What is the balance here?

David A DePra put it this way:

Christ-esteem is achieved in only one way: Death and resurrection. I must be willing to take my hands off of myself, and leave myself to Him. I do that by unconditionally surrendering myself to Him for the in workings of Christ’s death and resurrection.

Paul put it this way:
Romans 6
“Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ were baptize into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.”

“We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. For one who has died has been set free from sin. Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. For the dead to died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.”

Christ Esteem is a life long pursuit.. I believe it comes from dying to ourselves daily and living for Him..

I am not holding it all together because of who I am, but because of whose I am…

Because of who HE is..

My weaknesses, show His strength…

As Paul said in

2 Corinthians 12:9 “ But he said to me, My grace is sufficient for you, my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ I am content with weaknesses, insults, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

I think it is when we step back and realize that our brokenness, our weaknesses, should not make us insecure, but secure in knowing that we are allowing His strength to shine through us..

I choose to no longer be a victim of my surroundings. I choose to no longer feel sorry for myself. I choose to find my confidence in Christ.. I choose to not let my Ugly duckling syndrome cause me to accept less than I deserve, but to let it humble me instead.. To remind me of where I came from..

1 Corinthians 6:10-12
“Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.

and such were some of you.

“But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” 1 Corinthians 6:11

I choose Christ Esteem..

Galatians 2:20
“ I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith in the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

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