But you, LORD, are a shield around me, my glory, the One who lifts my head high {Psalm 3:3}

The idea of loving and appreciating oneself may seem strange to some people. Depending on your upbringing and/or personality type, you may find it hard to take a compliment or receive praise for your exemplary talents and work. Some people may even engage in self-deprecation. In fact, if you struggle with a poor self-image, you may not be aware of how wonderful, gifted, or talented you are. Talking down at yourself, belittling yourself and second-guessing your abilities is not a mark of humility, rather, it may be an indication of self-hatred.

Self-hatred is an internal belief that drives you to several untrue conclusions about your personality, talents, relationships, work, and life. A few statements that you may occasionally say/think about yourself:

  • “I am ugly”
  • “I can’t do anything right”
  • “I am not good enough”
  • “I do not deserve anything good”
  • “Others are better than me”
  • “No one loves me”

What are some contributors of self-hatred?

1. Traumatic or negative childhood experiences– Our identities are formed in our families of origin. Family impacts how we view ourselves and the things that we believe about our worth, talents, and capabilities.

2. One’s personality– You may find that you have a heightened sense of perfectionism that drives you to compete or compare your capabilities with others. Some people equally struggle with a harsh internal critic.

 

Ways to counter self-hatred

  1. Receive the truth about your identity. Fortunately, there is hope for those who have endured traumatic childhood experiences. Your worth and value are not tied up to the mistakes of your family of origin. You can receive the truth from God who created you, knows you deeply, and thinks the world about you.
  2. Surround yourself with emotionally healthy, and safe individuals who honour and love the whole of you. People who can say “I know you more, but I do not love you less.” Similarly, limit your interaction with negative or spiteful people.
  3. Take steps to show up authentically in your relationships.
  4. Speak kindly to yourself. Now that you know that you struggle with a harsh internal critic, begin to silence the negative voices that challenge you daily. You can start by saying something simple, kind, and true about yourself throughout the day. For example, “I have beautiful hair.” As you gain more confidence, build the statements around your capabilities. For example, “I did an exemplary job today, therefore I must be good at what I do” Another way you can silence negative self-talk is by making an inventory of your strengths and achievements. Data does not lie.
  5. Learn how to receive and be comfortable with compliments. Your first reaction might be to downplay these compliments but learn to say, “thank you” and move on.
  6. Recognize that the idea of perfectionism is not attainable, but it is a trap that keeps you, hostage, to the belief that “I am not good enough until…”

If you struggle to appreciate yourself, there is hope for you. God heals the broken-hearted and binds their wounds. He does this by giving us:

A new identity:

1 Peter 2:9 ~ “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.“

A new family of faith:

John 1:12-13 ⁓ ”But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.”

 

As always, I would like to hear from you. How has this post challenged you to new ways of thinking?