Or do you view yourself harshly and critically, putting yourself down and falling deeper into a poor self-image?
I struggled with my self-image growing up. My parents were very loving and supportive so I’m not sure what natural events in particular kicked off some issues. But I distinctly remember a time when I was 6 years old, and I was dressed up for Easter. I loved the dress my mother had bought me. But I felt ugly. I remember looking in the mirror and saying to myself, “Ugly girl, pretty dress.” Where in the world would a 6 year old get that from? My early childhood at school was somewhat traumatic and we had the typical collection of mean school bullies as well, so possibly that made some contribution to my early insecurity.
In any case, as you go through the years, you learn that NOT everyone will like you, no matter how nice you are. Some people will never be happy and never be at peace with anyone. There are unhappy, dysfunctional people out there who will try to take out their misery and unhappiness on you. So it’s important that you learn your own value and stand strong in who you are. More importantly, you need to stand strong in WHOSE you are, and that is God. It is most important what HE says about you.
After all, whose word is going to stand against your Heavenly Father? Whose report will you believe? The ruthless co-worker or boss who tries to sabotage your reputation in the office? Perhaps the dysfunctional parent, or angry husband or wife with problems of their own? Perhaps the rude person who bangs past you in the supermarket?
It took me a while to learn this but you cannot place your value on the opinions and treatment of other people toward you. If you depend on that for your foundation of self-worth and happiness, my dear friend, you are living in a tent on shifting sand. Understand, I’m not perfected in this area myself; I am still learning too. But I have come a long way.
Do you know what your Heavenly Father sees when He looks at you? He sees the precious human being that He lovingly created and designed from the womb (Psalm 139). The Lord does not focus on all the perceived failures and mistakes that you think He does.
Absorbing the truth of who you are in God, who He says you are, is what will truly set you free. Yet you cannot drive out the lies that have built up in your mind without replacing them with something else. So fill your heart and soul with God's truth – His Word - and His truth will clean out the lies.
We can only be changed by the renewing of our minds (Romans 12:2), and we do this by reading and meditating in the Word of God (Romans 10:17). Renewing your mind is like spiritual housecleaning except you are cleaning junk out of your mind. You must set your determination to think and meditate on the truth of what God says about you. The old self-images will try to come back. You will have to resist them because if you go back to thinking you are something other than who God says you are, the old thoughts begin to draw you back into your old way of thinking.
God has taken me through a process of study in Scripture about seeing myself THROUGH HIS EYES, and He spoke into my heart and spirit life-giving words and inspiration from His Word.
Allow Him to do the same for you.