When You Don’t Love (or even like) Yourself

Do you know that you have an inner child? Your inner child is that person inside who is the “real” you. She is the person you would be without social expectations, unhindered by fear. She is referred to as a “child” because many times this little you never gets to fully grow into the person you would be apart from the hurts of this life. This little one is often stifled by unrealistic expectations, fear, anger, and sometimes, even self-hate.

A counselor once encouraged me to find and talk to my inner child, but I had no idea what she meant. She told me to get a picture of myself at a young age and talk to that little girl. What I realized is that my inner child had been hiding in a dark place in my soul for a long time. My first “minds-eye” view of her was finding her crouched in a corner of my soul, hiding from someone who was going to punish her. That person used to be my mom. Now that person is me. Over the years, I have begun to love her more than I used to, but still, she hides. Recently, I prayed specifically to find her again so that I would be able to more fully join the fabric of my soul with her tender heart in hopes of becoming whole again. In my “minds-eye” she made another appearance. This time I saw her running into the arms of Jesus. He opened His arms wide and scooped her up. He loved her. He loved me.

How do you find that little child that hides within your soul? Following are some ways to find and love that precious little soul that resides within your soul. Don’t try to do all of these things at one time. It is a process that takes time, but it is worth the time and energy to invest in your own journey of self-discovery and acceptance.

  1. Find a picture of yourself as a child. What do you like about that child? What did that child need to hear from the people around her? What did that child actually hear from the people around her?
  2. Become aware of what you tell this child. Write down your thoughts. What words are you saying to her? Are you kind to her?
  3. Write down good things about this child. You might write things like, “she is courageous,” or “she loves people.” Write down the words, “she is beautiful.”
  4. Now erase the word “she” from each sentence and write the word “you” in place of the word “she.” Read the sentences aloud. How does it feel to say those things about yourself?
  5. Write the following verse from the Bible on a notecard.

image

  1. Now erase the words “the world” and insert your name. What does it feel like to see your name behind the words, “For God so loved…”?
  2. Ask God to help you begin to love this child that resides in your soul in the same way that He loves her. Ask God to help you understand His love more. Read 1 Corinthians 13:4-7, and catch a glimpse of what true love looks like.
  3. Begin reading the book of Mark in the Bible. This book chronicles the story of Jesus’ life. Pay attention to how Jesus loved others, especially those who were less fortunate or less deserving of love. Read Mark 10:13-16 and see how Jesus treated children who wanted to come to Him. How is it different from how adults treated those same children?
  4. Find a parent you respect and watch how she loves her children. How is it different from the way you felt love? Begin to replace your vision or experience of parenting with this new, loving example.
  5. Refuse to speak negatively to yourself. Replace words like “you are a coward” with positive affirmations like “you had reasons to hide, but you don’t need to hide anymore,” or “you were never shown courage, but you can learn to be courageous now.” Tell her what she needed to hear many years ago.
  6. Write down the things you appreciate about yourself. If you have trouble with this, ask a friend what positive qualities she sees in you.
  7. If there are things you don’t like about yourself, choose to accept yourself anyway, flaws and all. Realize that no one is perfect and that being perfect is not possible. Choose to love yourself like you love your own child or your best friend. If there are things you realize you have power to change, like being pessimistic or grumpy, choose to become the person you want to be. You can do this while still choosing to love yourself despite your natural flaws.

Have you fully grasped the fact that Jesus came to earth to love and share God’s love with you in spite of your flaws? He chose to do that two thousand years ago knowing that you would be imperfect. He was killed by the people of His day because they did not understand that He was God and that He wanted to replace rules with relationship. He tried to tell the religious leaders of His day that they had chosen legalistic rules over a relationship with God, and that is why He was eventually killed. The people of His day weren’t willing to change their thinking and accept a new way of knowing God by having a personal relationship with God. Jesus came willingly to earth knowing that He would die for you. The Bible says that He was perfect and had done nothing wrong, but He took our sins and flaws as His own, and was killed with two convicted criminals of His day. The Bible says that He paid the price for your sin through His death. Let that truth sink into your heart. You may feel hopelessly flawed, but Jesus declares you worthy of His love, worthy of His death.

The Bible goes even further to say that when we believe that these things are true, Jesus creates in us a new, clean heart and clothes us in His righteousness. Imagine yourself taking off dirty, ragged clothes and putting on a pure, white robe. Imagine your black heart changing into a beautiful, pure heart beating with new life. These are the things that the Bible says are true of you when you believe in Jesus. The Bible says you are forgiven of the things that you have not been able to forgive about yourself.

If Jesus loves and accepts you, then do you think you could find it possible to accept yourself? Whenever you are tempted to think negative and untruthful thoughts about yourself, rehearse the words of John 3:16 to yourself. Remind yourself that God loved you enough to die for you. You are fully and forever loved, and that will never change.

image

_____________________________

You saw this post first on God-Living with Chronic Illness, a website dedicated to providing spiritual encouragement and resources for those living with chronic pain or illness. You are encouraged to pass this post forward to those you know that may benefit from this information, but please respect the copyright privileges of the author.

Disclaimer: The author and God-Living with Chronic Illness do not receive any compensation for references to specific products, ideas, people, or websites. The ideas posted are not intended as medical advice and should not be taken as such in place of your physician’s recommendations.

_____________________________

Hi! My Name is Laurie, and I am a wife, mom, nurse, and patient living with fibromyalgia. I understand first-hand what life is like with chronic pain and illness. My passion is to help provide others with the spiritual encouragement and resources that I so desperately needed when I was first diagnosed. Please join us on the blog and Facebook page for regular encouragement and hope. Welcome!

IMG_3230_2

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s