Question: I am a woman who struggles with low self-esteem. I know this isn't how God wants me to feel. So what do I do? Any recommendations?
Answer: Begin with the Encyclical by Blessed John Paul II. Mulieris Dignitatem http://www.wf-f.org/MulierDig.html. It's rather long and I recommend all if it but maybe scan down until you get to the section on the conclusion. Click on it and read the conclusion. Continue reading the document from the end to the beginning by clicking on the sections from the bottom-up.
Much of the world talks/writes in terms of high self-esteem and low self-esteem. Really, though, it's a matter of seeing ourselves through the eyes of the God who made us and knows us and loves us with a love we can barely grasp. I love how the Church talks about the dignity of the human person because we are made in the image if God. You have that dignity that belongs to each woman. The Church also talks about your feminine genius. You are meant to rise above the experiences that might seek to destroy what God has already blessed you with. Let the lover of your soul come very close by receiving the Sacraments of Eucharist and Reconciliation often.
Here are a few other suggestions. The first one is a link to a book on the Feminine Genius entitled God's Call to Women by Christine Anne Mugridge. The second link is a book called Healing the Original Wound by Fr. Benedict Groeschel. I like this one, because much of the agony women encounter comes from the fall. Because of the fall, our dignity as women has been compromised. That is not God's plan at all. He loves us. He chose to come to all people by way of a woman. The final link is to a book by Johnnette Benkovic entitled Full of Grace.
I am reminded of a quote by Pope Benedict XVI, writing as Cardinal Ratzinger in Mary: The Church at the Source. "Only a conversion to the Sign of the Woman, to the feminine dimension of the Church rightly understood, will bring about the new opening to the creative power of the Spirit, and so to Christ's taking form in us, whose presence alone can give history a center and a hope."
I know this quote doesn't seem to answer your question, but I think, in a way, it does. We are meant for more. A "more" that we can barely understand. I think Mary is a key to this. She was the first in the order of grace, and she tells us - in whispers - that we have dignity as women in the world (but not of the world). We are not meant to feel insignificant. We are meant to live each of our lives in the beauty of our feminine gifts, our feminine design, our feminine genius. We are meant to live and move and have our being in Christ - and walk with the steady peace of one who has discovered the dignity of the female person - made in the image of God.
Now, the writer in me has another suggestion. Buy a notebook. As you go on this quest, document your journey. What you're reading, what you’re thinking, what you're hearing. It is my experience that God takes us on these journeys for our own sake - and surprise of all surprises - also for someone else who will be touched and healed by what we find.
Please keep me up on what Our Lord of Life does in and through you, dear one. And don't forget to read the women saints. They figured it out. :)