Your self-image only affects yourself, right?
That's what I've been telling myself for so long. I have told myself that if I'm only hurting myself with my thoughts, it's not that big of a deal. I told myself it's because of my perfectionism. It's just me. It's seriously not that big of a deal.
But I'm learning that these thoughts could not be farther from the truth.
As a Christian, my subconscious mind knew that it wasn't great to think poorly of myself. I've heard all the Christian spiels on self-esteem. Psalm 139 is always quoted. They told me I was beautiful and unique, important and smart. But my brain just couldn't wrap its mind around that. I heard it so many times, that it just became something I heard time and time again, yet with no impact. How could it pertain to me if it also pertained to everyone else? I thought it simply didn't apply to me.
Recently, I've had a new way of looking at it, and it's been so fundamental in renewing my mind and changing my thoughts. This requires me to ask a few questions of myself.
1. What are you believing about yourself?
2. Do these thoughts align with what God thinks about you?
3. If you believe these thoughts about yourself, what do they ask you to believe about God?
I learned quickly that my thoughts don't align with God's thoughts. Furthermore, my thoughts have not been reflecting God in a very positive (or true) light. If I believe I'm ugly, then I'm subconsciously believing that God isn't a good Creator. Or if I believe that I'm lonely and unloved, I'm saying to myself that God can't hear me or doesn't love me.
It was clear to see that my beliefs weren't aligning with God's truth. Part of me knew that before. But what I didn't realize was what my thoughts were asking me to believe about God.
Maybe this isn't that profound after all. Yet when the lightbulb went off in my head, it changed everything.
2 Corinthians 10:5 says,
"We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ."
So that's what I'm working on. I'm taking my thoughts captive and renewing them to be like the thoughts of Christ. When it comes to my self-image, I'm definitely still a work in progress. But I know that God loves me and He loves you too, and nothing can ever take His love away. Nothing you do can change that. No matter what people think, how you feel, or how much you've messed up, He loves you unconditionally. Nothing can make you unworthy of His love.
You are loved. You are worthy. You are beautiful. You are valued.
So if you can't change your self-image for your own sake, try changing it for God. Because if you're believing the wrong things about God, that is a much bigger problem than believing wrong things about yourself. And in that process to believe the truth about God, you'll find that He wants you to believe the truth about yourself too.
Focus on Him, pursue Him, and the rest will follow.