There are some thing in life that tend to be pretty predictable.
Death. Taxes. The fact that there are no "free lunches".
For me, another sure thing tends to be self-loathing.
The problem is, I know myself pretty well. I know my strengths. I know my flaws.
Why is it always so much easier to observe the flaws than it is to focus on the strengths? I am not sure. But I know that it is.
When I get into that "nobody likes me everybody hates me think I'll eat some worms..." tailspin, it is hard to feel good about myself. It's a challenge to feel secure and confident. I tend to feel like the people around me see me as annoying, obnoxious, loud, rude...... the list goes on and on. (I am sure that people DO feel that way sometimes! I talk a lot, I tend to laugh loud, etc......) I wish I could ask for reassurance sometimes, but then I feel weak and needy. I don't like feeling weak. Or needy.
A good friend of mine pointed out this week that I tend to talk badly about myself. (Thank you my friend. I have been needing to address this for a while and you gave me the push I needed!) I usually do it in a funny, self deprecating kind of way. But deep down, most of the jokes I make about myself...well..... I guess I am just saying them so I can laugh at myself before anyone else has a chance to do it first.
Am I suggesting that I NEVER look at my weaknesses, my sin, my flaws? Of course not! I understand that we need honest self-reflection and there are habits and actions we need to change. I grasp the need to be truthful with others and ourselves about strongholds in our lives, and to be accountable.
What I am suggesting is that I need to start being a little bit nicer to myself. I need to take joy in the gifts that God has given me and be proud of them. (Not in a yucky, sinful pride way. In a humble, thankful way.) I need to calmly say, "Thank you" when someone gives me a compliment. What I usually do is make a joke that negates the compliment by explaining why it isn't true, or why I am not worthy of praise. I need to acknowledge in my prayer life the successes in my life and give thanks for them, instead of only acknowledging my failures and sin and desire to change.
I believe that God created me. On purpose. FOR a purpose. It occurred to me, when I was thinking about all of this, that THAT is the key- remembering that I was put together with care, with forethought, with skill, with a design. Wow. That makes me glad. It makes me see that I have value.... even when I mess up. Even when I'm not perfect, and I fail. Even in my weakness.
I can't hate myself without somehow saying to God, "You screwed up."
..and I KNOW that's not true. God doesn't. :)
So, that is what I'm working on. I hope I'm not alone.