5 Ways to Overcome Self-Hatred
For You created my inmost being; You knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well. -Psalm 139:13-14 (NIV)
Chances are most of us have heard this verse a million times. You probably even finished the beginning of that verse without reading to the end. I know that I have had this phrase memorized for years. Yet I still found many moments in my life when my thoughts and opinions toward myself were the opposite. The reality is that often our perspective of who we are can be tainted and twisted from how God sees us and who He has created us to be.
This brings me to write to you today. To share some of the ways that I have been able to overcome self-hatred. I have found it to be a balance between action and patience that creates the steady bridge over those turbulent waters.
Dive into Scripture.
Having a continuous consumption of the word of God is significant; not because people say it’s something you should do. It’s significant because His words have a very real and physical effect on us and in the way we think and speak. As you read the Bible, the parts you recognize and take to heart, and even those that don’t really stand out but strike a chord in you unknowingly, will begin to transform your heart and your mind. Reading scripture will not only help pull you out of your current situation but will also equip you to face future difficulties.
For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. -Hebrews 4:12 (NIV).
How can something this powerful not have an entirely transformative effect on us?
Find Resources and Books.
There is a wealth of knowledge out there from wise and honorable Christian men and women who have gone through what you are currently going through. There is value in being humble enough to address that you are struggling with something. Look to your church resources, articles here on Tirzah, or do some research and see if your favorite authors have written on this topic at all (you may be surprised). This could save a lot of trouble and heartache by learning from another’s steps and missteps.
Actively working toward all God has called you to is good for your heart and mind. People tend to keep feeling stuck and discouraged in their abilities until they step out into using those gifts inside of them! Volunteer to be part of things you are interested in. Apply for that internship you always dreamed of. Take a class at the local community center that teaches the skill you have always wanted to have. These actions help build your confidence as they equip you for what you are called to do. Accomplishing these things is just another reminder of how wonderful and lovable you are. Plus, being active takes your focus away from yourself and places it on the beautiful things you add to this world which puts your heart and mind in a healthier, more balanced place.
Find Someone to Confide In.
This advice can be hard and not all people have someone they feel like they can trust. My hope is that if not now, down the road, there is someone you can freely talk with. A mentor, family member, pastor, or close friend. Community really is an incredible gift. To be encouraged and shown the beauty inside us when we can’t see it ourselves is a powerful weapon of warfare against self-hatred. Be wise with what and with whom you share but definitely try and find someone who can faithfully come alongside you.
See the Bigger Picture.
Most everyone has struggled with this to some capacity. Half of winning the battle is in realizing that it isn’t as big of a deal as it feels. Being hard on yourself is a really common feeling and difficulty. Start by sorting through what is true and false. Recognize when you are thinking thoughts about yourself that are negative and ask yourself where that thought is coming from. Is that something God would say about you? No. Take the time to think through that and replace those lies with what He would say about you.
Friend, you will spend your entire life with yourself. You can choose to be your own worst critic, or you can be your own biggest cheerleader. You can speak lovingly to yourself as you would to your best friend or sister when she's struggling with these emotions, or you can bring yourself down harder than anyone else ever could. You can hate yourself or choose grace. Every day, that choice is yours. Make it a good one.