These were words I believed about myself for many years.
You are stupid. Ugly. Fat.
You are not good at anything. And you can’t do anything right.
You are a failure. You will never accomplish anything great.
Everyone has a talent except you.
You are not smart or creative. You are such a loser. No one likes you.
I was an expert at putting myself down. A negative cloud followed me everywhere. Pessimism could have been my alias. I know it sounds crazy, but I did believe all these things about myself. I had a hard time identifying good things about myself. When a positive thought came, it didn’t stick around long before my mind turned it negative.
In my thirties, I figured out the root of my negativity. I was always comparing myself to others. I didn’t know God made me with a unique look and personality. That he gives me abilities and skills to call my own. I believed mastering every skill would make me feel valued. I constantly compared myself to others and always fell short of being me, because I was looking to the wrong sources to find my identity.
I observed people, read magazines and books, and learned from TV programs on how to be a woman. I tried to act, dress, and be like the women I read about and saw in real life and on TV. Because I thought that was how you become someone worthy of being noticed and accepted. But no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t master the art of being beautiful, popular, noticed, and accepted. This gave me good reason to put myself down. So I did.
These words I believed about myself stuck with me even after Jesus was a part of my life. It would be almost two decades later, before I learned how to speak kind words to myself. And it began when I encountered God’s overwhelming presence at a weekend retreat.
I came home from the retreat in February 2001 and began seeking God regularly. I wanted to know more about him. I prayed more often. I read the Bible with the desire to understand God. The more I learned about him, the more my thinking changed. God began to delete negative and untrue thoughts of myself from my mind. In its place he inserted kind, good, and true thoughts about me from his words in the Bible.
As right and true thoughts filled my mind, I believed them over my words. For they come from the One who made me amazing and wonderful. I have no right, as the created, to dishonor that which my Creator deems worthy of being wonderful.
I finally understood. God, my Maker, is the one who gives me my identity. I am made in God’s likeness and I have value because his genes are in me. I don’t need to compare myself with anyone, for each person is made uniquely amazing and wonderful in the image of their Creator, God. And He is the one who gives each one their worth.
These are the words I now believe.