I’ve come to realize that another big problem many people are facing is loving themselves. Some do realize their problem, but many do not. Many do not actually realize that they do have a relationship with themselves, and like any other healthy relationships, they need to be nurtured. Loving yourself in this context is not taking pride in yourself thinking that you are better than others, or in a selfish and self-centered way, but rather, accepting yourself just as God accepts you—nothing more, nothing less.
Personally I’ve struggled a lot with this as well and I do understand the pain and confusion. I’ve come across many people who came to me with their problems, and when we try to talk over them, I realized that they do not actually accept themselves.
Self-rejection and self-hatred actually contribute a lot to our relationship problems. When we cannot have a good relationship with someone whom we have to stick with 24/7 (ourselves), how can we expect to get along well with other people? Many do not realize that we do have a relationship with ourselves, and it is a very important one.
We cannot actually rise up if we do not deal with this problem of self-rejection. Again, no one can actually help us feel good about ourselves, except God. As you continue to read on this series, I pray that you will be encouraged.
--WHY SHOULD YOU LOVE YOURSELF??—
- Because God loves you just as you are – This gives us every reason to love ourselves. Even if the whole world rejects us, God still loves us. The bible says that even if our father and mother reject us, He still loves us. It doesn’t matter what our past is like; what we have done or how broken we seem to be, God covers them all with the blood of Christ. Yes, you may have some weaknesses and yes, you may have made some mistakes in the past, but please remember that we are all fearfully and wonderfully made. In other words, God made you as a unique individual and He made no mistake in that. Sometimes our weaknesses are there so that His strength may be made perfect in our weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9). Even though there are times when we could have avoided the mistake, God can still turn them around for good if we will surrender them to God. There is no reason why we should despise or reject ourselves, if the God who rules over everything loves us enough to send His Son to die for us.
- So that we can love other people – In Matthew 22:39, Jesus said that the second greatest commandment is to love your neighbour as yourself. In other words, you cannot love other people if you first do not know how to love yourself. Imagine, how can you possibly love other people whom you do not have to spend 24/7 with, and yet not love yourself whom you cannot even have a second apart? The world is dying for God’s love, but we cannot share it with them if we reject ourselves.
--SIGNS OF SELF-REJECTION—
Here, I am trying to help you identify with some signs which I know about self-rejection. Hopefully that through this, you may be able to identify them with your own life, or maybe, someone you know is having problems accepting themselves.
People who do not accept themselves:
- Have very low self-esteem – When you do not like yourself, you don’t think that you can accomplish anything. You seem to hate everything about yourself. You wish that you are like someone else. You wish that you are smarter, prettier, skinnier, more gifted or talented; and the list goes on. People who do not love themselves can only see a small speck of their weakness while ignoring a load of their strengths. When they have succeeded in something, they will say that it’s sheer luck and they do not deserve it. Very often they will talk something against themselves, such as “I’m stupid”, “I can’t do anything right” and so on, not knowing that by their words they will be judged.
- Are very indecisive – People with this problem don’t seem to be able to decide for their own. When you ask them about their opinion about something, they will always go “I don’t know, what do you think?” or “It’s up to you”. Sometimes they even want someone else to make their very personal decisions. It is not that they do not have an idea on what to do-sometimes they do have brilliant ideas, but it’s simply that they do not regard themselves high or important enough to decide on their own. They feel that other people’s decisions are better than theirs, even though at times they might disagree with what others suggest. These people are people pleasers. They follow other people’s opinions because they want to be accepted by others.
- Are perfectionists – They are perfectionists in the sense that they do not give room for themselves to make mistakes. This is not because they want to prove themselves good, but it’s simply because they do not like themselves, and on the other hand, want to prove to others, but most of all to themselves, that they can do it. And so when they fail or when they make a mistake, they take it as a proof that they are failures. The truth is, self-rejection will never allow you to feel good about yourself. No matter how much you have achieved, you will always feel that you are short of something. On the other hand, when you make a little mistake, you feel as if the whole world has crashed down on you.
- Look to others for acceptance – Self-rejection causes people to turn to others for acceptance. Everyone needs to feel loved and accepted, and because people do not love themselves, they need someone to make them ‘feel good’. They breeze though life on survival mode. Their value of themselves is very much dependant on other people. If people feel accepted, they feel good; if people reject them, they believe that they are unlovable. They figure that if nobody loves them, then they must not be worth loving. And because people are not perfect, rejection by other people will always bring along self-rejection. Sometimes it’s not true that people do not like you; they are simply waiting for you to take the first step. But people who do not love themselves will not see things that way.
- Are passive – Self-rejection always cause people to withdraw from others. It is not that they are born passive, but it is simply because they believe that they are not lovable, and so to avoid being hurt through rejection, they would rather stay away themselves. But what they do not realize is that by not taking the risk of making friends, they are losing out even more not only on the opportunities, but also on the fact that they will always think that people do not like them and so they are rejected. They are always waiting for others to make the first move, but sadly, this do not, or rarely happen. Often they are very ready to talk, but are just willing for people to approach them.
- Try to exalt themselves – While many with self-rejection think lowly of themselves, there are some others who try very hard to exalt themselves. Because they think they no one takes notice of them, they make every effort to prove their abilities. Sometimes they are really capable in them, but sometimes they are just empty shells. While we always reject these people, and yes they may be annoying, but who knows they are actually rejecting the very person they boast about.
- Are thirsty for attention – Because people who do not love themselves believe that no one takes notice of them, they will try very hard to gain that attention. Deep inside them is a crying out of “Hey, I’m here! Do you see me?” Some try to gain attention by being manipulative, or hyper active, talkative, and many other weird behaviors, and when they still do not get the attention that they need, they will resort to more extreme behaviors such as getting involved in drugs or violence, and to the most extreme cases, hurting themselves physically. What they want is for someone to acknowledge their existence.
--WHY DO PEOPLE REJECT THEMSELVES—
People reject themselves because they
- do not fully understand the love of God – I guess this statement explains everything. The moment you have a true revelation in your heart of how much God loves you, all your insecurities and self rejection will just melt like wax. When you know not just in your head, but most of all deep down in your heart that the God of Heaven loves you and accepts you just as you are, you will not even mind if the whole world rejects you. Many of us have a wrong idea of who God is, maybe because of how we were treated by other people.
- have gone through a painful childhood – Children take in everything people say, especially if those words come out of a person who have authority over them (parents, older siblings, teachers etc.) That is why it is very important that young children be brought up in a loving and encouraging environment, so that they may be spared from self rejection and self hatred in their later years. If children are told that they are stupid, useless, not as good as others, etc. they will believe those words and despise themselves. Or, sometimes it is rejection and neglect or favoritism that will cause a child to reject himself.
- have been hurt by words – Like I have said, words matter a lot. Sometimes we get so focused on another’s flaws rather than their strengths. When people have been told constantly that they are of no good, they will tend to believe it and even repeat those words over themselves. Besides, the absence of encouragement will also bring about self-rejection. People need to be encouraged to move on, and when they were deprived of it, it can affect them as well.
- cannot differentiate between their WHO and their DO – Learn to differentiate between who you are and what you do. You may not be perfect and like everyone else, you cannot escape from making mistakes, but you must still accept the very person you are created to be. No matter what you have done in your past, no matter how messed up you think you are, and yes, you will still make mistakes in the future; but that does not mean that you should reject yourself. No matter what it is, you are still precious in God’s eyes and that gives you every reason to love yourself.
--CONSEQUENCES OF SELF REJECTION--
People who reject themselves
- affects their relationship with God – If we do not believe that God loves us as a Father, we cannot enjoy the privileges as children of God. If a child is unsure that his father loves him enough, he will not dare to ask his father for things or advice. They will not open or receive the gifts that God has given them, because they are not sure if those gifts are theirs. God has got a lot in store for us, but unless we realize that those gifts are our, we will not open them; and unless we open them, we cannot make use of the gifts, and therefore, the gifts are useless. They do not dare to come before God in worship because they do not think that they are worthy enough, or they do not believe that God cares enough to hear them. God then becomes a faraway man rather than a loving Father.
- affects their relationship with people – Like I have said, if you do not love yourself, you cannot love other people. Plus, self-rejection will always cause you to think that people reject you just because you despise yourself. When this happens, that person will always stay away from other people, and may be considered as being arrogant at times.
- live under the curse of failure – When you keep telling yourself that you are a failure, or even when someone tells you that, then you have fallen under what I call a curse of failure. You will always be disappointed, always messing up, and always ending up as a failure. For the Bible mentions that whatever a man thinketh in his heart so he is. As a result much as you want to prove to others and yourself that you are not a failure, you can’t.
- cannot rise up in the promises of God – When you reject yourself, you do not believe that you can be used by God. In Hebrews it is said that without faith it is impossible to please God (12:1). Unbelief will rob you of God’s promises and people who reject themselves always live below what they are called to be. Besides, they cannot withstand the pressure that comes when something happen while serving God in that area. Until and unless you accept yourself and believe that God loves you, you cannot rise up to your fullest potential.
- gives the devil a foothold – The problem of self-rejection is a problem of the mind. The devil is very good at creating doubt and confusion in the mind because that is where oppression and double-mindedness creep in. The devil lies and creates a doubt about a person’s identity in Christ, thus causing the person’s inability to rise up in authority to fulfill God’s calling.
--THE CURE FOR SELF REJECTION--
Indeed, self rejection cannot be overlooked if you want to live a victorious life. Here, I will like to suggest some ways of overcoming it.
- Start spending time with God – The only way to know God and His love is to spend time knowing Him. When you know how much God loves you, all your self rejection and insecurities will just fade. Many of us do not need words like ‘God loves you and accepts you’ anymore. True, they are words from the bible and they are true, but what we need is something deeper. We need a revelation. We need an encounter with God. We need to know deep inside our hearts the love of God, and one way is to know God by spending time with Him.
- Accept yourself just as you are - God made you to be you. He must have loved variety to make us all look different with different personalities. You can never succeed being yourself if you keep on wanting to be what you are not. Other people’s strengths can be an example but it does not mean that you must be like them. Remember that God created you just as you are, and to say that you are a mistake is like a slap on His face. Focus on your strengths rather than limitations. Do not let how other people treat you determine your worth.
- Never say or think negatively against yourself – Never, ever say or think negatively against ourselves. Never tell yourself that “I’m stupid”, “I’m ugly”, “No one will ever love me” etc. Matthew 12:37 says, "...by your words you will be justified..., and by your words you will be condemned..." Instead, speak and confess the words of God over your life. The bible is full of what God says about you, such as “I am the righteousness of God in Christ. I am made accepted in the Beloved. God created me and formed me with His own hand and God doesn't make mistakes."
- Allow yourself room for mistakes – Everybody makes mistakes and no one can escape from that. Even the most talented and popular person makes mistakes and fail at times. Though it is true that some mistakes are avoidable, God can still turn them around for good if we will let Him handle them. Do not keep punishing yourself for your mistakes. When you have fallen, do not give up, but pick yourself up and move on. That is how we grow. Learn to differentiate between your WHO and your DO.
I hope that you have been encouraged by this series. Probably by now you are able to identify and know if you have a problem with self rejection, or someone you know is.
Remember that if you do not love yourself, you are not going to enjoy much of your life. Self rejection is at the root of many relationship problems.
Know that you are God’s beloved and His precious jewel. You are unique and special, with talents and gifting not possessed by everyone. God has created you to be YOU, not someone else. Indeed, it’s time to start loving yourself!