A few years ago, I was counseling with a lady who had a very poor self-image. I wrote out a little note for her to read to herself every day while looking in her mirror. It said something like, “I am a beautiful, talented, intelligent woman. I was handmade by God to fulfill His purpose here on Earth. I love myself. I believe in myself. I am thankful for the person God made me to be.” It was short, sweet and to the point, but it was amazingly difficult for her to read aloud. She was embarrassed by the words and, frankly, didn’t believe any of them. “Don’t worry about that part,” I encouraged her. “Just keep saying it.” Over time, she came to accept those words as true… at least as long as she kept saying them. Once she quit making that confession to herself, the old mindset of inferiority and self-loathing popped right back up… before you know it, she was back in a cycle of depression and abusive relationships.
I know it seems relatively simplistic to say you can talk yourself into or out of loving yourself the way you are… but it really is true. The Bible says, “life and death are in the power of the tongue” and “out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks.” The words we speak about ourselves have everything to do with the way we perceive ourselves and the ideas we have about our imperfections. Other people say negative things to us or about us as we grow up, and we decide if we are going to accept those as truth about ourselves or not. If we agree with what is said, we’ll start saying it, too. The more we say it, the more it comes to pass…. good or bad.
Last week, I mentioned a friend who is struggling right now with his image of himself. He wants so badly to be “perfect” because, but knows it’ll never happen. My recommendation? Well, to start I hope he reads last week’s post about the difference in “perfect” from a worldly perspective and a biblical one. I also told him to look straight into his own eyes in the mirror and tell himself that he loves himself and to confess what the Bible says about him… he is accepted in the Beloved, he is made in the image of Christ, while he was yet a sinner Christ died for him, he is the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus… and more. You know, sometimes you have to talk to yourself and say the things God has said about you. Give it a try and see what changes in your life.