One of the biggest obstacles today in loving ourselves is the onslaught of perceived perfectionism that is cast out via social media. The invention of filters has made it very easy to fall into the trap of comparing your real with someone’s “edited”. No matter what the comparison might be – height, weight, skin color, hair color, hair type, or even material wealth – it is a trap that no one is immune to.
I have struggled most of my life with loving myself and being comfortable in my own skin. My nickname when I was a little girl was She-Ra. I had a very muscular body from a young age. This may not sound like an issue now, but I can remember a specific time in middle school wishing I was dainty and feminine like some of my classmates. Fast forward to current image issues after having four children and the struggle is still real. According to Instagram, it seems that you are supposed to bear children and just pop right back into shape – which, let’s just be honest, is not reality. Some things just don’t go back.
So, where does the combination of awkward beginnings and endless temptations to compare ourselves leave us on the journey to loving the skin we’re in? How can we get to a comfortable and healthy place of acceptance in walking out our uniqueness? The following are four steps that I believe will set you on a path to fully embracing and accepting who you are:
- Know the Word. Identity is such a crucial thing in loving yourself. This foundation sets the stage for you to be able to cast aside every thought or circumstance that challenges your self-worth and value. Jesus is the Word. Do you know what He says about you? Daily spending time in God’s word is imperative to renewing your mind (Romans 12:2) and seeing yourself through God’s eyes–not the eyes of others, or regret, or shame. When you are tossed about by what the world says, it is extremely important to anchor yourself in the truth of who you are and Whose you are.
- Know your worth. Psalm 139:14 says that you are “fearfully and wonderfully made.” Do you believe this? No matter what you think your flaws are, God still calls you wonderful. He has not reneged on His design of you. There are very specific attributes you have that no one else does, all given to you so you may accomplish the will of God for your life. Self-worth comes when you marry your identity with your purpose. We must allow ourselves to experience emotional healing, pushing past the pain of what we think disqualifies us so that we can get to the point of walking in love towards ourselves and others.
- Know your words. Words are powerful. So powerful that you can either speak life or death over yourself (Proverbs 18:21). What are you speaking over yourself? A practical example of this is: “You are so stupid, I can’t believe you did that!” to “That was a stupid thing to do, let’s not do that again.” One is attacking who you are while the other is acknowledging the mistake and giving yourself grace to do better. Take some time to become self-aware and create a new dialogue. It does not matter how many people build you up if you are continually tearing yourself down.
- Know it’s work. If you have struggled with loving yourself for any length of time, know that it will not come easy at first. There is an enemy of your soul who loves nothing more than for you to continue to despise yourself. Determine that you will take every thought captive and hold it up to what God says of you (2 Corinthians 10:5). If it does not line up, tell it no and remind yourself of the truth. It may seem like you are doing this all day long at first. Do not give up. We cannot stop the onslaught of media or thoughts pervading our minds, but we can choose what we will focus on.
One of the most important relationships in your life after Jesus is the one you have with yourself. Everything you will accomplish in this life hinges on what you believe about who you are.
Coming into alignment with God’s truth over the enemy’s lies will not only change the trajectory of your life, but also your legacy.
The journey to loving the skin you are in begins with an agreement. What will you choose to agree with today?