Self-Esteem Week: Carisa Luisa


When Anali asked me to share my story for self-esteem week I thought “sure, why not! This will be easy”. I thought hard about what I wanted to share. I wanted it to be good and impacting to where all the girls who would read this would shout out a loud hardy "AMEN"! But as I started writing it all out I said to myself “man, I had some major issues!” HA! Seriously, after reading what I had initially typed out, I looked at my mom and said “this makes me sound like I had some kind of complex.”  Well, I guess I did have a complex: the un-pretty complex (I made this up. I think it is fitting). I am sure this complex is common among most girls. For me, it nestled itself in my life for quite a while, which began a long, long battle. I decided to write with all honesty and make this as simple as possible.

I have never been really good at accepting compliments. Whenever someone would compliment me and tell me I looked nice or pretty, I would smile and say “thanks” but secretly I did not believe them. I have struggled with self-esteem and confidence for years. I am not really sure why, though. What’s interesting is when I was a pre-teen, I use to think I was all that, and a bucket of Lumpia (Egg rolls- I’m Filipino!)  and my confidence level was to the sky and beyond. I don’t think I was conceited, but my friends back then may want to argue that.  Sometime after, I started college I made a 180 and my self-esteem came crashing down. I felt less confident and uncomfortable with my appearance. This was also around the same time my heart got broken by my “boyfriend” (I use parenthesis because this wasn’t a real relationship). So there is some correlation between my broken heart and lack of self-esteem. However, I do not blame this guy at all. I felt so much rejection and in turn I started to believe that I was one of Cinderella’s not so cute step sisters. The rejection hit me hard.

My battle was long. It was annoying and now, after all these years, it’s embarrassing. I drove my parents and friends crazy with all my “I am not cute” and “I am so fat” comments. I created a huge mountain out an ant hill. I constantly compared myself to all the other girls that I deemed to be models in comparison to myself. Attending conferences and camp meetings were a challenge because I always felt like the ugly duckling among the sea of beautiful princesses. I never felt pretty enough. I was also very obsessed with my weight. I associated being “fat” with being ugly, therefore I had a long battle with wanting to be stick skinny. That was intense too. See what I mean? I had issues! 
One day my Pastor sat me down just to talk. He would randomly ask me how I was doing from time to time. During this particular conversation, he had asked me if I thought I was beautiful. I instantly ignored his question (of course, because I didn’t think I was). Shortly after this he started what he calls our “mutual admiration society” where we greet each other with “Hey Gorgeous” and “Hi, there Handsome”.  You do not know how special this made me feel and it really did help get me out of my pit of insecurities. I thank God that He placed a great man in my life to help encourage me where I needed it the most. We still have these exchanges of admiration and I cherish them.

Let’s fast forward to now; do I still struggle with my insecurities? Do I still have my complex? I can’t lie and say “no, I am 100% recovered” because honestly I still have my moments where I find myself falling back into my pit. BUT the difference between now and then is that I am learning to really love myself for the BEAUTIFUL person God has made me to be. He loves me just the way I am…flaws and all. I am just the way He wants me to be or else He would have created me like someone else.  Plus, if I couldn’t love myself how do I expect others to love me. And how do I make God feel by having my complex? It was like a slap in His face and telling Him that His wonderful handiwork was flawed. Really? God makes beautiful things and that includes me.

A lot has happened in my life in the last two years that really had taught me so much about myself and forced me to really deal with my issues. I have learned to truly love myself (it hasn’t been easy at all) and see myself in the way my family and close friends see me: Awesome! HA. I joke! But seriously, I walk with more confidence now. I take care of myself. I dress with more confidence and am more adventurous with my clothes (colors and prints!). I believe the compliments I receive are real.  I feel good in my own skin. I don’t avoid the mirrors like I use to or put myself down constantly. I can see myself just as pretty as other girls instead of feeling like Shrek next to them.  When I look at myself I am less critical and more appreciative of the pretty face staring back at me. Most importantly, I am happy. I am happy with who I am. The happiest I have ever been in such a long time. I give all the credit to God! Because He is so good to me! His love has been unconditional.

My dad always told me that no matter what there will always be someone better or prettier, so just be the best me that I can be. It wasn’t really easy to take this advice, but my dad was a smart man.  So, I am doing my best to be the best Carisa Luisa Virtucio. I am one of a kind and a Child of the King, who is so blessed.  Life can’t get better than that. 

I am not sure if what I’ve battled with will help anyone else, but during the process of writing out my story (especially my first draft) it really helped me heal. I have spent years focusing on the outward appearance and comparing myself to others, which caused a long spiral of insecurities and bitterness. I even thought to myself that maybe I wasn't the right person to participate in self-esteem week because I still have my struggles. But this really has been so good for me. It not only showed me how silly and dramatic I have been, but also that I have been looking at things all wrong. The most important thing is how God sees me and what's in my heart. Above all I want to be pleasing to Him, and this includes loving myself just the way He made me. 



13 comments

  1. Awwww!!! This is GOOOOOD Cassia!!! I loved your "Ethnic" reference with the lumpia!!! LOL! I LOOOOOVE LUMPIA!!! Annnnnnd you are beautiful!!! SOOOO CUTE!!! Sounds like your pastor is awesomely FUNNNNY!!! HAHAHA!!!

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    1. Thanks :) My Pastor is a riot!!

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    2. Yes he is,I'm always a tad bit nervous during fifth Sunday because I know he can and WILL pick on us over the pulpit if the setting is right. hahaha

      I remember the "Zach have you considered Anali? Oh wait he has considered all of them!"

      hahahahahahahahah

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  2. I love this!! :) Thank you for sharing.

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    1. Thanks for reading!!! Yours was very good! ;)

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  3. Mary, AHEM Carisa.. not Cassia LOL

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  4. Did I mention I love you Carisa? And that I am glad we are friends and that God has drawn us closer together in the past year?

    We have an on time God :D

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    1. :) Aweee...sniff! I heart you too! ANNNND so glad we are closer too! God knew I needed an Anali in my life...or else it would be boring! HAHA!

      Thanks for letting me participate this week!!

      Friend date soon!!!!

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    2. I'm NOT really sure WHY I said Cassia, I was probabley just typing really fast cuz I KNOW she is Carisa!!! LOL!!!

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  5. Awesome post!! A lot of your story sounds like mine too.

    What an awesome God that shows us who we are in Him!

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    1. Thank you! It's funny how we never think any understands what we are going through!

      He is sooooo GOOD!

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  6. You're SUPER pretty! I wish I had some Filipino in me (seriously)! I wish I mixed with every culture! :) Thank God for teaching us to LOVE ourselves

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