According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the United States; one in every three deaths is from heart disease and stroke, equal to 2,200 deaths per day. While there is no doubt that I respect and agree with the findings of the CDC, for the sake of this Critical Thinker Blog Post I would like to look a little deeper and suggest a possible root cause for so much cardiovascular and many other life threatening and life taking diseases; and that is low self-esteem.
So what is this thing or concept called “self-esteem?” According to Merriam-Webster.com the definition of self-esteem is a confidence and satisfaction in oneself, in other words it’s being happy with who and what you are. There are far too many of us who suffer from what I believe is the leading cause of not just physical death but death in so many other important areas of life such as our marriages, careers, relationships, education, etc. It is my hypothesis that it is this disease of low self esteem that contributes greatly to diseases such as cardiovascular disease, addiction, and so many other "isms" and diseases that cause premature death.
I shared with many of my friends at the death of superstar Whitney Houston that it is not my belief that Whitney died from drugs but that she as fine as she was suffered from low self-esteem which lead to many of her decisions. You may agree or disagree with my assessment but Kevin Costner’s remarks at Ms.Houston’s funeral really gave us a bird’s eye view in my opinion of Whitney’s true cause of death when he said “The Whitney I knew, despite her success and worldwide fame still wondered am I good enough? Am I pretty enough? Will they like me? He went on to say that “It was the burden that made her great, and the part that caused her to stumble in the end.”
Whitney Houston was not by herself. I have seen far too many people who have all of the trappings of what the world would call having it "all" (attractive faces and bodies, money, houses, cars, travel, talent, etc. etc.) and still not have as the Merriam-Webster definition describes the confidence and satisfaction in oneself. It is mind boggling and perplexing that someone who has what appears to be it “all” could still not be happy with who they are. As that old adage goes, "looks can be deceiving." The same questions that Mr. Costner shared that tormented Whitney on a continuous basis go through the minds of countless individuals on a minutely basis (Am I good enough? Am I pretty enough? Will they like me?) causing too many to lead self destructive lives ultimately leading to the death of careers, marriages, relationships, and even life itself.
While the CDC may have its research on the leading cause of death in the United States, I believe we have overlooked a root cause of so many of our diseases. There is no doubt that diet, and heredity and many other factors play a part in the diseases that we contract, but I also believe that our self-esteem is just as large a factor as our diets and our heredity. We must find a way to be satisfied with what and who God made us to be. We ought to always seek ways to improve ourselves knowing that this is different from the little voice in our heads constantly telling us that we are not good enough. We ought to always be seeking to make what is good even better but not from the standpoint of putting ourselves down or looking down upon ourselves. We must always see ourselves as already good enough. We must also be mindful that having a good or high self-esteem is not the same thing as being cocky, arrogant, or stuck up. It truly is about having that confidence and satisfaction with who and what you are and not worrying about anyone else's opinion of who you know you are. In the Bible in Psalm 139:14 it says “I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvelous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.” I would encourage all of us to meditate on that verse daily to combat the ills of low self-esteem for we are indeed fearfully and wonderfully made. Something to critically think about and I welcome your commentary in the comment section of the blog.