I’ve realized lately that I have a serious heart issue with valuing people. Pride has a big thing to do with that. When we think too highly of ourselves we are not being the humble people God calls us to be. On the contrary, we also can think too lowly of ourselves.
This was me this week: picking myself apart piece by piece. Trying on every outfit just to make myself feel better and feeling hurt when it didn’t help. My day was consumed with thoughts that I was nothing, undeserving, and broken and my actions towards others reflected that. I was disrespectful, quiet, inward, and frankly selfish. Is that not also pride?
How do learn to accurately value myself so that I can see others in the view of God? I want to learn to value people without critiquing how I would’ve handled things differently than them, questioning their motives, and nit-picking their actions.
First, thank you for your honesty and vulnerability in this question. I admire your self-awareness.
It took me a long time to realize that the way we communicate ourselves has everything to do with how we interact with the people around us. Naturally, the path to loving others well begins with valuing yourself. In this post, I want to explore this idea a bit more. Here are three steps to discover your value:
Step 1: Connect with who God says you are.
One of my mentors likes to say, “My brain is not my friend.” The truth of this statement reveals itself to me every day. How often do our minds trick us into thinking that we are undeserving and worthless?
Here’s a trick I’ve picked up: when you begin to pick yourself apart and feel consumed by negative thoughts, ask yourself, “Who does God say that I am?”
For example, your mind might say, “None of your clothes look good on you. You should probably work out more. Why are you even trying?” Then you can combat those nasty thoughts with, “God says that I am beautiful and strong. I am His child, created in His image. He loves me regardless of what I look like. He created me to serve him, and that’s exactly what I am going to do today.”
The beauty of this trick is it takes the focus is off of you and puts it on to the One who created you. It allows you to root yourself in your identity in Christ, rather than the lies your mind feeds you. When the Creator of the universe believes that you are capable, strong, beautiful, and intelligent, it’s easier to ignore your own negative perceptions.
“And even the hairs of your head are all counted, so do not be afraid; you are of more value than many sparrows.” Matthew 10:30
Step 2: Find the root of the problem.
We don’t always realize how hard we can be on ourselves. Then, when we react harshly to the people around us, we’re left feeling guilty and wondering why we can’t relax and stop being so prideful.
While pride is certainly a factor in sharp reactions to others, an important thing to notice is how you are talking to yourself. What do you say to yourself when you make a mistake? Do you similarly react to others when they do things differently than you would have? If you notice some parallels, take note.
You may recognize that you have a lot of negative self-judgment, but that’s okay. Don’t beat yourself up if you do. Merely observe the thought, let it pass, and remember who God says you are. Eventually, you will find that the awareness of these thoughts will give them less power.
Step 3: Extend grace to yourself and others.
There are some days when you feel utterly incapable of giving any kind of grace or patience to yourself or those around you. (It’s only 9 am and I’m already struggling!)
But, here’s the good news: we have a graceful and loving Father dwelling within us. Even though we are not always capable of offering grace, He is.
“Don’t you yourselves know that you are in God’s temple and the Spirit of God lives in you?” 1 Corinthians 3:16
If you find you are picking yourself or someone else apart, stop everything for a few minutes and sit down. Pray for the strength and wisdom to handle the situation with love and kindness. Maybe take some time to reflect on a chapter from the Bible that reminds you how God loves and cherishes you. This might be a little challenging at first, but as you learn to give grace to yourself when you are feeling less than, it will be easier to do the same for others.
God calls us to trust in Him, my friend. Don’t try to do all of this on your own. Pray for strength and wisdom. Remember who He says you are. Once you begin to love yourself the way He loves you, extending that grace to others will come.
You can do this.
Want to submit a question of your own?