It’s tough to enjoy life when you don’t like yourself. People who haven’t learned to accept and get along with themselves tend to have more difficulty accepting and getting along with others. Yet, the Bible repeatedly says to “love your neighbor as yourself.”
For years I had a hard time getting along with people, until I finally realized through the Word of God how my difficulty with other people was actually “rooted” in my difficulties with myself.
The Bible says a good tree will bear good fruit, and a rotten tree will bear rotten fruit (Luke 6:43-44). Likewise, the “fruit” of our lives comes from the “root” within us.
If you’re rooted in shame, guilt, inferiority, rejection, lack of love, etc., the fruit of your relationships will suffer. However, once you have a revelation of God’s unconditional love for you and begin to accept yourself and others, eventually these new roots will produce good fruit, and your relationships will thrive.
Here are a few tips I believe will help you succeed at being yourself
1. Never say or think negative things about yourself, such as, “I never do anything right.” “I’ll never change.” “I’m ugly.” “I look terrible.” “I’m dumb.” “Who could ever love me?”
Matthew 12:37 says, …By your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned. Proverbs 23:7 says, …As he thinks in his heart, so is he.
In other words, the way we talk and think about ourselves reveals how we feel about ourselves.
2. Speak good things about yourself (as private confessions) in line with what the Word says about you.
For example: “I am the righteousness of God in Christ.” “I am made acceptable in the Beloved.” “God created me and formed me with His own hands, and God doesn’t make mistakes.”
I like starting the day making good confessions. Perhaps you can do this while you’re driving to work or cleaning house. I also encourage you to look in the mirror and say out loud, “God loves and accepts you, and so do I.” You may even try hugging yourself. This is beneficial for people who have lacked love and acceptance in their lives.
3. Never compare yourself with other people.
God must love variety or He wouldn’t have created us all differently—even down to our fingerprints. You’ll never succeed at being yourself if you’re trying to be like someone else. Other people can be a good example to you, but duplicating even their good traits will manifest differently through your individual personality.
4. Focus on your potential instead of your limitations.
Actress Helen Hayes was told early in her career that if she were four inches taller, she’d be the greatest actress of her time. Her coaches tried various methods of stretching her, but nothing increased her height.
She refused to concentrate on the supposed limitation of being five feet tall and decided to concentrate on her potential. As a result, she was eventually cast as Mary, Queen of Scotland—one of the tallest queens who ever lived.
5. Find something you like to do that you do well, and do it over and over.
If you spend your time doing things you’re not good at, it’ll frustrate you and cause you to feel defeated and unsuccessful.
6. Have the courage to be different and deal with criticism.
Be a God-pleaser, not a man-pleaser (Galatians 1:10). If you dare to be different, you’ll have to expect some criticism. Going along with the crowd—when you know in your heart God’s leading you a different way—is one reason people don’t succeed at being themselves. You won’t like yourself very much if you go against your own convictions.
7. Don’t let the way another person treats you determine your worth.
8. Keep your flaws in perspective.
People with a high level of confidence have just as many weaknesses as people without confidence, but they concentrate on their strengths—not their flaws or weaknesses.
In conclusion, let me remind you of my opening statement: It’s tough to enjoy life when you don’t like yourself. When you learn to succeed at being yourself, you’ll be well on your way to enjoying life more fully.