As women we can be extremely critical of ourselves. We can be overly conscious of what we wear, and how we wear it, as well as a plethora of other things about ourselves. We judge ourselves on every plain and platform and often times much too harshly. Regardless of our station in life, we all struggle with this to some degree. I confess, I am a self-proclaimed expert in the area of being overly critical of myself, so I know that of which I speak. Much too often I am guilty of being so critical of myself that I allow it to spill over into what others may think of me or how they may perceive me. This has only recently begun to change, as I have made a conscious effort to shift my thought process. Whenever I find myself being overly critical of myself or being presumptuous of how I think others are perceiving me, I refocus my thoughts.
This past weekend I attended a life group meet-up. As a result of the lesson topic discussion we all divulged personal things about ourselves. In almost every story, included my own (even though not voiced) I heard my own inner-voice. That voice sounds something like this: “I am not worthy of having the life I desire, which includes people who genuinely care about me. If people knew the real me, would they accept me in all my flaws, failures, and mistakes?” That dialog may vary to some degree but for the most part that was what I gathered. As stated before this is where I lived for quite some time so I am very familiar with what it looks and sounds like. Might I add that I still visit there from time to time. The total abandonment of this negative self-talk is a work in progress.
I am writing this post today, not to point out my flaws nor the flaws of others, but to offer an answer to the problem, at least what it has come down to for me. Who knows maybe this will help someone else move into a place of real self-love. Which in turn may help with coming to a place of real self-acceptance and thereby moving to a place of having real meaningful relationships with transparency without the perception of being judged.
|Photo by: Marilyn Martin|
I have found that my reason for being so critical of myself is that I thought I had to be perfect. I thought I had to be the best at everything I did. If I was not perfect or at the top of everything then something must have been wrong with me. If something was wrong with me, then surely everyone else could see how imperfect I was. Boy, try following someone down that rabbit hole!!! Anyway, I digress. I have come to understand that at the core of my being I did not feel nor know the love of God for me. Often times I would say that I knew God loved me but at the very center of my being I rejected His love for me. Feelings of unworthiness and inadequacy are all signs of that fact. As a result, I now spend a lot of time thinking about the love of God for me and reading scripture looking for signs of His love for me.
In times past I read the Bible as a book of rules; dos’ and don’ts’. This view only served to make me feel more inadequate and defeated. Now that I have a different perspective, in that now I look for signs of my heavenly Father’s love for me, I enjoy my time with God in a whole new way. I am coming to know (in my heart) more and more, that in spite of every flaw, and every failure (past, present and future) God’s love for me is unwavering and He will never leave me, and never forsake me. As I understand these powerful truths with my heart (not my head) the critical thoughts lessen and I can see the good (His good) in me, which causes me to see my value and worth. This brings me to a place of real all-inclusive self-acceptance (good, bad and ugly) and that further silences (no crushes) the racing thoughts of constant bad self-evaluation. This is a daily work, sometimes moment by moment as I find myself having to adjust my thinking about myself and realign my thoughts with the word of God, which tells me that: “I am fearfully and wonderfully made”. This is a truth that God has recently revealed to my heart which I can’t wait to share (in another post).
However, I would like to share a couple of the scriptures that I read daily and often refer back to throughout my day. This first one is taken from Ephesian 3:19a (Amplified): “That you may really come) to know (practically, through experience for yourselves) the love of Christ, which far surpasses mere knowledge (without experience)”. The other is Psalm 91:14b (Amplified): “I will set him on high because he knows and understands my name (has a personal knowledge of My mercy, love, and kindness – trusts and relies on Me, knowing that I will never forsake him, no never”. I always reword the scriptures and make them personal, so much so that when I look at these scriptures (to read them) I no longer see them as they are written. Here is an example: Psalm 91:14b (Amplified): “My heavenly Father has set me on high because I know and understand His name (I have a personal knowledge of His mercy, His love, and His kindness (for me) – (and therefore I) trusts and relies on Him, knowing that He will never forsake me, no never”. This one is a great go-to for me when my thoughts are spiraling out of control.
It is in this place (the Love of God) that I have and do continue to find real self-love and this has helped me to be willing and able to open up to others without fear of rejection. My prayer is that you will come to find this same place of real self-love and acceptance in the love that our heavenly Father has for you.
Until next time, live life to the fullest, laugh a lot and love much, and remember to never forget that you have greatness in you….. because you were created by a great God!
“Becoming Semply Whole”