Relationships. The mere mention of this word conjures the gamut of feelings, depending upon your present status. You’re either excited, happy and overjoyed; sad, frustrated and hurt; or even disillusioned, hopeless and bitter. Or if you’re a 6-year-old with a fledgling schoolmate friendship, it can make you just plain confused. This was the case with my son. He’d been going back and forth with a love/hate (okay, to be fair, maybe a love/”I don’t want you to sit by me or play with me” relationship with his best friend at school. The boy was being mean to him, and I started to get really concerned about how the negative words were affecting my son’s self-esteem and confidence. I mean, he is only 6. The answer to my questions reminded me of a valuable truth.
Seeking to bolster his confidence, I had the following conversation with my son while in the midst of this situation:
Me: Do you like yourself?
My Son: Yes
He looked at me for a few seconds, and then spoke matter-of-factly.
My Son: “I like myself because I’m myself,” he answered.
Now I will be the first to admit there are things I don’t like about myself. I can be a bit of a perfectionist in certain areas, I like things done now/right/like yesterday (take your pick), patience is not my strongest virtue and I don’t always take care of myself like I should. However, I like me. In spite of the things I’m not wild about, I truly like myself. Why? Because I am myself.
I felt so proud of my son for recognizing that his opinion of himself matters more than that of his friends. His opinion, which my husband and I have labored to shape, is based upon what God says about us in His Word. When I was younger, I didn’t like myself, and I saw how detrimental that was to my life and way of thinking. Now I’ve gained victory and independence from others shaping how I feel about myself.
What did I take away from this conversation?
1. A better car, nicer house, more expensive clothes, hit reality TV show, an exclusive club membership, etc. won’t make you like yourself more. You have to first love God, let Him teach you how to love yourself, then learn to like yourself. Learn to appreciate who you are. Celebrate you – don’t just be tolerated! Spend time with yourself. I am sure you’re a lot more fun than you realize! Turn off the TV, block out distractions, and just relax and get to know you and what you like to do. Who are you, really?
2. Accept yourself, warts and all. People who don’t like themselves often want to be someone or something else. I know I did. I wanted to be the most popular girl in school. I was co-captain of the cheerleading squad, on the homecoming court, with all the “trappings” of popularity, but it wasn’t good enough because I didn’t like who I was. Now, many years later, I truly like the person I am and wouldn’t change a thing!
3. And in case you are wondering just what does God say about you that makes you worth loving? “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works….” God created you for good works! You are His workmanship! That alone is enough to let you know that you are worth the effort!
Until next time…