Healthy Self-Image

On Sunday, Pastor Mike lifted up this warning from the Apostle Paul. “Because of the privilege and authority God has given me, I give each of you this warning: Don’t think you are better than you really are. Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves, measuring yourselves by the faith that God has given you” (Romans 12:3). As we seek to live in Christ, God is calling us to have an honest and healthy image of ourselves.

It is often quite obvious whenever people are thinking too highly of themselves; however, it is often much less obvious whenever people are thinking too low of themselves. Our culture prides itself in celebrity and self-confidence so sometimes it easy to overlook people are struggling with a low self-image. So here are some things to consider as we strive for a more healthy self-image.  

Even though as Christians we are taught that God created us in His image, I think it is normal for everyone to struggle with their self-esteem from time to time.  If we are not careful, negativity and excessive self-criticism can be habit forming.  When we consistently focus on what we view as negative in our lives, it can become difficult to see the good.  Consciously force yourself to focus on your good qualities and your positive characteristics.  Consider making a list of what you do well and the things you appreciate about yourself. Whenever you start being negative, look at your list. Put Post-It notes in places where you can remind yourself of your positive qualities.  Positive affirmations are a very effective tool in building self-confidence.

Focusing on the positive is an important step, but it is only a start.  Our self-image is due in part to the messages we absorb throughout our lives.  Another step to a healthier self-image is to treat yourself as a worthwhile person.  It is important that you speak to those negative messages or experiences by caring for yourself in ways that show you are deserving, valuable, competent, and lovable.  Self-care covers many areas. Here are some examples. 

  • Emphasize the basics.  Get enough sleep, eat a healthy diet, exercise, smile, practice good hygiene, and so on.

  • Change your posture.  Take a close look at how you hold yourself.  How do you present yourself to others?  Do you stand up straight?  Do you look people in the eyes?  Do you hold your head up?  Do you respond to people with a smile? 

  • Smile.  Smiling is a practice of a happy and confident people.

  • Remember your strengths and accomplishments.  It is okay to compliment yourself, celebrate your achievements, and reflect on the positives of your life.

  • Give yourself a break. Don’t be so hard on yourself when you don’t do things just right.

  • Take time to relax and recharge.  Go for a walk, go to a movie, have coffee with a friend, take a nap, or do something else you enjoy.

  • Get organized.  It is important to set goals for yourself.  Start planning your life.  What do you want your life to look like in five years?  And for that matter, what are you going to accomplish today?  A healthy self-image develops as you set goals and then see take steps toward them.

As you develop a healthier self-image, you must learn to celebrate your positive characteristics and honor your self-worth by taking care of yourself. These can be difficult practices for the person that thinks too lowly of yourself. If you are having trouble with a positive outlook or self-care, you might consider seeking out help.

Talk to one of your pastors. Our church also has Stephen Ministers who are trained to listen and offer care to people. You might even consider talking to a professional Christian counselor. They will use therapeutic techniques and Biblical principles to help you develop healthy and positive self-image.

God made you special, and He loves you very much! God invites us into an abundant life and a healthy self-image is a big part of that abundance.

In His Grip,

Mike Toluba

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