I Don't Love Myself
As a Christian, I realize we're supposed to love others, and I do. My problem is loving myself. I look at myself in the mirror and hate what I see. I know this isn't what God wants, and that thinking I'm ugly and fat goes against what it says in the Bible about being fearfully and wonderfully made. But I just can't help it. I've prayed about this so much, but I still cannot find any love for myself. Please help.
You're not alone. Most of us struggle with a poor self-image at times. We tend to play the comparison game, and we always come up a loser. We compare our looks, our brains, our money, our talents with the people around us. And there's always someone who's better looking, smarter, richer and more talented than we are.
But that's just the point: God created you to be unique. There is no one else quite like you. True, there are things we don't especially like about ourselves. And some of those are things we can change—like having a short temper or being lazy. But other things, like height or body type, are things we have to live with. The people who are happiest in life are those who accept both the good and the bad.
When I'm feeling less than positive about myself, there's a prayer I like to read. It simply states: "God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change those I can, and wisdom to know the difference." That's great advice for anyone struggling with self-esteem.
You might be able to change some things you don't like about yourself. Ask God to give you the strength and help to change those things. But there might also be things you can't change. Ask God to help you accept those things. This prayer can help you learn to love yourself just the way God created you.
To be honest, from reading your letter, you probably know in your mind all the stuff I just wrote. For lots of people, the teenage years are the most difficult time to have a positive self-image. It's just not easy growing up in our media-driven culture. There are so many messages that tell you to look and act a certain way, and if you don't measure up (and honestly, no one does), it's easy to feel like a loser.
But no matter what our culture says, God's love remains the same. He loves you just the way you are. He is proud of his creation. You are unique. According to Scripture, you are God's workmanship (Ephesians 2:10). God's love for you is unconditional, unchanging and unending.
My best advice is to begin moving your "head knowledge" of God's love and acceptance down a few inches, making it "heart knowledge." Find friends who will reinforce your faith and values and who will be a support to you. Fill your heart with the knowledge of God's love and find friends who lift you up rather than pull you down. When you do, you'll begin to see that you are a special and unique person created by God for life abundant and eternal.