A couple of weeks ago I mentioned that I used to write mean things about myself in my journal. This week, I decided to get really real and share a few actual quotes.
So, here’s a peek at what my 15-year-old self was saying:
“Why am I like this…?”
“I am fat…and I hate it…”
“I feel so worthless sometimes…”
“I hate being like me…”
It’s sad to reflect on how terribly I used to feel about myself, but I was also a bit surprised when I came across that last one: I hate being like me…
I knew I’d had some major issues with my body. I knew that I’d had an eating disorder and struggled with self-esteem.
But I hadn’t really thought of myself as actually hating myself.
But there it is in black and white (actually, it’s in turquoise blue—I was into brightly colored pens back then).
Since writing my last couple posts (which you can read here and here), I’ve been reflecting on how far I’ve come since high school. And I’ve come to realize, in a way deeper than I’ve ever recognized before that Jesus saved me from a life of self-hatred.
And that is truly amazing! Because the tragic truth is that not everyone “grows out” of eating disorders and teenage self-disdain. Some women get trapped in a seemingly never-ending cycle of self-loathing. Some even die from complications of disordered eating. Self-hate destroys bodies. It destroys dreams; it destroys relationships; it destroys lives.
But, thank God, I found a way out.
Written right alongside those heartbreaking statements of self-hatred were these rebuttals:
“But, God would not make me worthless. He loves me so much! He would not create something He could not use.”
“Carina, God made your body…”
“God can complete me…”
I also encouraged myself with numerous Bible verses, like this one (which concluded the same entry that started with saying how much I hated being like me):
But if we must keep trusting God for something that hasn’t happened yet, it teaches us to wait patiently and confidently. And in the same way—by our faith—the Holy Spirit helps us with our daily problems and in our praying. For we don’t even know what we should pray for, nor how to pray as we should; but the Holy Spirit prays for us with such feeling that it cannot be expressed in words (Romans 8:25-26 TLB).
There was a massive war going on in my soul. I struggled terribly with who I was and my self worth. But I ultimately chose to believe that I had value. Not because I felt that I did—clearly, much of the time I didn’t—but because God said that I did. I chose to believe what He said was more true that what my emotions were saying.
I chose to trust God for “something that hasn’t happened yet.” I chose to look to Him for help in my daily problems. I didn’t know how to pray or how I would ever be free of my tormenting thoughts. But I chose to trust, and today, almost 20 years later, I live with a freedom from self-hatred my teenage self could only dream about.
That’s not to say I love myself perfectly or never struggle with feelings of insecurity or the temptation to compare myself to others. There are still things I want to improve about myself and I strive to be the best version of myself possible. But wishing I wasn’t me, the constant critiquing of every square in of my body, the incessant self-flagellation—that’s gone.
It’s been a long journey, but it’s been worth it. I’m so thankful to Jesus for His healing power and His faithfulness to work on us through the hard stuff!
Freedom from self-hatred is a freedom God wants every one of us to experience! I hope that if this is something you are struggling with or have struggled with that you find some encouragement in my story. I also encourage you to seek help from a trusted counselor, pastor, friend, or mentor.
Also, if you want to learn a bit more about my story as well as some things I’ve done that have helped me find freedom in this area, check out my last two posts When You Don't Like How You Look: 7 Ways to Learn to Love Your Body and How Disliking Your Appearance Paralyzes Your Progress and Disempowers Your Purpose.
You are in my prayers!
“God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be” (1 Corinthians 12:18, NIV).
I want to hear from you!
Have you struggled with self-hate? Has your relationship with God helped you find ways to accept yourself? What is one thing you can do to extend love to yourself today? I'd love to hear about it in the comments below!
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