If we don’t love ourselves, we have a hard time experiencing love from others.
I’ve had hard times accepting myself for who I am. I’ve struggled with self-worth and feeling like I don’t belong. I’ve felt inadequate, like I’m not enough, someone else can do it better, I’m not good in anything. All these thoughts filled my mind and led me to strongly disliking (didn’t want to use the word hate) myself for who I was. At the time, I knew I shouldn’t be thinking this way – it was just so hard to filter them out my mind. I kept feeding myself negative thoughts. Because I wasn’t appreciating myself for who I was, I had a hard time accepting that other people loved me. I had a hard time accepting it when people said any positive things about me.
The hardest thing was I kept it to myself. I kept my struggles in my own heart. I didn’t share much of the negative aspects of my life with those around me. I made it seem like I was completely fine. It works for a while until you realize you can’t do it alone. Don’t feel like you’re giving someone else pity. We all need people around us – in ALL seasons of life, through the good and bad.
Not going to lie, I still have times where I catch myself thinking negatively about myself. To be honest, it’s not going to be filtered out of my mind 100%. We ALL have unhealthy thoughts from time to time. It’s inevitable! The best solution is to figure out how to deal with those thoughts in your head. We can’t control our thoughts because they pop up randomly, but you can train your mind overtime to produce more loving thoughts. We can control how we respond to them.
Imagine this. If your own daughter told you the negative thought you had in your mind, how would you respond? Give that response to yourself.
Why is it so hard to love yourself?
There’s no single answer but here’s mine. We criticize ourselves way more than others do. We place judgement on our own decisions and thoughts. We look at ourselves in the mirror and pick out every possible thing we assume is wrong with us and tell ourselves it’s true. Then we believe that everyone else thinks the same way. We need to drift away from this tendency and begin appreciating ourselves for all the good things we carry. We need to begin understanding we were made for a great purpose. There is ALWAYS something good in everyone. We’re not perfect so there are imperfect things about us – but that doesn’t make us worthless. It makes us who we are and as a matter of fact, we should embrace it!
1. Be mindful of your thoughts.
Be conscious of the thoughts you have and the choices you make. Ask yourself several times during the day, “Does this thought lead to shameful or self-caring thoughts?” I use to weigh myself and I KNEW after seeing that number, it would lead to a shameful thoughts. Overtime, I stopped weighing myself & began focusing on the positives coming out from it. I use to look in the mirror and pick out every imperfection of my body. Try to catch yourself when you have negative thoughts and avoid situations you know would cause you to do so.
2. Face your weaknesses and flaws.
We all have weaknesses and flaws. I do. You do. We all do. You’re human so it’s a given that we all have parts to us that we aren’t necessarily proud of. However, it’s how God has created us to be. I use to get very self-conscious with my skin since it’s naturally very dry. I use to get self conscious with my body because I wasn’t happy with it. I also use to be sad with the fact I tried out so many hobbies but never felt good enough to be be “good” – I felt everyone else did it better. There’s a reason for why we are who we are. We’re all called to something different. We aren’t all similar for a reason. We all are different, look different, enjoy different things, have different hobbies, take different career paths, have different personalities, etc. This doesn’t mean one is better than the other. Be proud of all that you are. Embrace it, own it!
3. Be surrounded by those who lift you up.
Encouragement, support, reassurance, optimism, etc. We need all of it! We need people who experience us at our lowest but still never change the way they care for us. These people can be hard to find – but when you find them, you know you’re lucky. I have my group of high school girls (shoutout to my main baes) & bible study group that keep me accountable! You need those people who lead you in living out your purpose, push you towards the direction of growth and lift you up as a person.
4. Find a hobby or activity you enjoy.
Stop dwelling on your negative thoughts but go do something you enjoy! Heading to the gym with a friend, bike-riding, hiking, dancing, etc. These are all pleasures of this life you deserve to enjoy. It’s a great way to relax or destress after a long day. I like to get out my house & do some outdoor activities. It tends to put me in a good mood!
5. Be patient and practical.
It takes time. I can’t emphasize that enough. Nothing happens overnight, it’s a gradual process. Don’t literally sit and wait but be active with your time. Make healthy changes and learn more about what works for you. Learn more about how you can change your negative thoughts into thoughts that will benefit you. Be practical and realistic though. Cold turkey is not the way to go. Give yourself time, embrace that you aren’t perfect and that as long as you’re working towards your goals – you’ve got it.
How happy you are with yourself will reflect off onto others. It will shine through you actions, thoughts and interactions with others. To me, it’s important to be positive and optimistic BUT it’s also important to share your struggles. It shows you’re human. Just don’t dwell on those struggles so much to the point it overtakes your thought process. It’s a process to view those struggles all as a way to learn more about your character, how to respond in a healthy way and overall – learning to love and accept yourself as you are.
LOVE YO’SELF. You can do it. I believe in you. I love all of you!
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.