"Wow, you're so pretty", they said. I can recall when people would compliment me but I felt the exact opposite about myself. I was so blinded by my past mistakes that all I could see in myself when I looked in the mirror was guilt, hurt, shame, and insecurities. Truth is, I wasn't able to accept a compliment for what it was. Isn't it interesting how we look down on ourselves when we make a mistake, or do something that others may not approve of and create inner turmoil?--Which then creates insecurities. For me, this was exactly my situation.
To disguise my insecurities, I often found myself identifying and confirming my beauty through the lens of what media portrayed to be beautiful. I thought to myself: "I need to look this way or that way and then I'll be accepted and loved." The problem with this mindset is that you'll never feel good enough. At least I never did.
Looking back, I never announced to my friends that I was insecure. It was only noticed if you paid close attention to how I looked at myself in the mirror and the way I accepted the nice things people would say to me. You see, I was completely broken inside because of the choices that I made to give my heart, time, and energy to empty things in this world.
On the other hand, when I did start accepting the nice things spoken to me by my peers, I found myself relying on them. My heart became so receptive and dependent on people's approval. I thought to myself, "Oh no, this can't be good." I realized that I placed my confidence in the approval of my friends and romantic relationships. It seemed as if I ignored the misconception long enough it would work itself out. The longer I waited the more I realized that no person on this Earth could ever make me feel complete.
You may be wondering...
"Why were you insecure?"
Well here's why: I was insecure because I thought that if people didn't love me then I couldn't love myself either. I often allowed my past mistakes and decisions that I had made to dictate how I felt towards myself. I personally wanted to be everything a guy wanted but didn't know how to love everything about myself. I really had to understand the principle of loving me before anyone else could love me.
One day, I had an interesting thought: "When I have a precious baby girl I never want her to experience the negative situations of desiring people approval the way that I did." Now as of right now, I don't have children but God spoke to me through that thought. He began showing me that's exactly how he feels about me. God never desires for His precious daughters to go through the hurt, disappointments, and pain. He loves YOU just that much.
Isaiah 61:3 reads, "He will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair."
I encourage you to trade any insecurities for what God has for you! <3
"I wish he would love me."
"I just don't feel pretty enough."
"No matter what I do, I'm never going to be good enough."
In the past, these were my very thoughts to myself.
It was always hard for me to love myself because I was too focused on wanting others to love me. To be honest, you must love yourself before another human can truly love you. Notice I wrote "human" versus God-- because it wasn't until I received the love that God had for me that I began to really embrace the person that I was created to be.
Today, when I think about loving myself I begin to think about the characteristics that God has given me, and how important it is to accept the person that I am. The expectation of how to love yourself starts with you, my friend. What does it mean to really love the person that you are? It means to love everything about you: your smile, the way you speak, walk, talk, and so forth. I believe the greatest hindrance to loving the person we were created to be is trying to be someone we're not. When we realize that we've fallen short of the image of our neighbor we feel disappointed and unworthy. This hits home for me because that's exactly where I was at a point in my life. I thought I had to look and act a certain way before I could truly love who I was. In reality, I was disguising myself into this image that was never meant to be me. One of the greatest lessons that I have learned about loving myself was to correct my thoughts towards myself. This helped to eliminate the negative words that I would say out loud about myself.
Believe it or not, your thoughts become your beliefs, and your beliefs become the very words you speak every day. What thoughts may be causing you to doubt how you see yourself? I encourage you to look in the mirror every day and speak what God says about you! No more feeling down about who you are, what you did, and what you're "not". It's time to allow our thoughts and words to line up with God's Word. My dear friend, don't allow the lie that you have been holding on to persuade you into believing that you are not good enough.
Philippians 4:8 reads "Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about these things that are excellent and worthy of praise".
This means to focus your thoughts on the truth. Know that you are beautiful, you are not a mistake, God loves you, you were created in His image, and you have a bright future ahead of you.
By continuing to meditate on the verse above and doing exactly what it says, your thoughts can transform into a whole new perspective of how you view yourself. I can recall reading this verse and being determined to change the way that I thought. This doesn't mean that I was completely perfect in my thought life or that I have arrived 100% today. But I didn't allow the process of me changing how I thought to discourage me from thinking and speaking better about who I am. The key here is that by making a choice to think about what's right, that choice will eventually guide you into the confident woman that I know you were created to be! I encourage you to join me in the "Love Yourself Challenge".