She was crying again, and it was probably the millionth time. I had seen her steal away. I knew what was happening. The cycle was all too familiar.
When I found her, she was trying to control her sobs. And in that moment, my compassion was waning. It wasn’t that I didn’t love her. This girl had been a dear friend to me. But I was tired, weary even, of the lies she told herself. Frankly, I didn’t think I could listen to them anymore.
She overflowed with self-hatred; her vitriol was dark and abusive as she described how she viewed herself: ugly, unlovable, and worthless. I held her as she cried, and then told her the truth: She was none of those things. She was a valued child of God. She was lovely, inside and out.
But the words fell on deaf ears once again. And finally, I had enough. I looked into her tear-filled eyes and spoke the truth: “You can choose to believe those terrible things, but they’re lies. Nothing I say will ever convince you. You have to believe what God says about you.”
I felt justified in my words, harsh though they seemed. But in the truest sense of irony, those words could have been spoken to me that same night, or over the ensuing decade, and they would have fallen on similarly deaf ears.
My dear friend’s struggle with her sense of worth was more obvious, true. She poured out her insecurities in words and, at times, within relationships. My struggle with my self-worth was more insidious, masked but present in a daily, internal battle of my thoughts.
Feelings of worthlessness have filled my being for as long as I can remember. Even as a girl, I consistently berated and abused myself within my mind. And I was sly, so sly, in my abuse. I categorized it as a corrective force, my conscience, or simply a desire to be honest with myself about my struggles.
But those were all convenient lies I had spun to keep from addressing the truth: I did not like who I was. I had no sense of self-worth; and I thought God had made a mistake when he created me.
After all, what could I offer this world? I was obnoxious, too emotional, too blunt, unattractive, unappealing, and untalented. I was a screw-up, someone whom people merely tolerated. I had no worth. That was the truth.
At least, that was the lie I had made into the truth. I had chosen to believe the vitriol I spewed internally rather than the words of God I memorized from the Bible for years.
It took years, a decade nearly, for me to understand the scope of how I was destroying myself. All the self-loathing culminated in me sobbing at my kitchen table at 27 years old.
In that moment, I grasped that no one on earth would ever be able to convince me of my worth. People could love me incredibly well, treat me with respect, and speak affirmation consistently. But I would always be on the lookout for the smallest gap in their actions to affirm the lies I told myself.
I had, even as a grown woman, bought wholeheartedly into the insidious lie that I was worthless.
I felt like I was dying inside—dying to understand that I was worth something.
I was just like my friend. I had spent years believing the lie. And finally, I had had enough.
So that fateful night, I cried out to God in desperation to enable me to believe, for the first time, the truth about myself.
I would like to say that I was magically cured of all my insecurities and feelings of worthlessness, but that would be another lie. True, I now see a more full picture of myself: that I am passionate, that my actions are largely amusing, not obnoxious, and that my emotions help me love people easily and deeply.
Every day that I wake up, I still have to make the choice to believe the truth rather than how I feel or what I think about myself that morning. Every day, I have to choose to correct or stop the vitriol within my mind. Every day, I have to ask for God’s strength to make those choices.
For whatever I may feel or tell myself, I am an intentional creation of God. Who I am was created for this time, this place, and these people around me. True, I am not perfect. But that does not mean I fall into the category of worthless.
So I will no longer beat myself up with my self-talk. If I wouldn’t say the same thing to a loved one, then I shouldn’t be saying it to myself.
If I could go back to that moment at 16 when I spoke to my friend, I would probably say the same words – though likely with a softer tone. She desperately needed to hear the truth, even though she couldn’t yet accept it. I would also look in the mirror and repeat those words to myself.
“Are you going to believe the truth about yourself, Bethany?”
And I would – because I am not worthless. Just like you are not worthless. And sometimes, just sometimes, we have to choose to believe what seems the lie—that we ARE, in fact, worth something—before we can discover the falsehood was something we spun ourselves.
Whoa. I totally feel exactly how this blog is. The positive traits you listed are what I have been slowly accepting about myself. I feel such a kinship. I was planning to post a blog today of a similar fashion, of the story behind my first tattoo that I got yesterday. I only say this because your post inspires me, but if you want to check it out, it’ll be up on jaymieallover.com by the end of the day. Thank you for your words!!
Hey Jaymi, I’m glad my words spoke to you. I read your blog, and it made me happy to see the journey you have been on. It’s a daily choice to believe the truth about ourselves. But with the help and strength of God, I know we can both do it. Thanks for you kind words. 🙂
If your faith teaches you anything, Bethany, let it teach you to have faith in yourself. You are the kindness, the ingenuity, and the self-reliance that you must be. Only you stand where you are now, in this moment, in this place and it cannot be changed any other. What is thus created cannot be unmade, therefore what you touch cannot be un-handled. If your God is your witness, then let Him witness your inherant grace and stability, because it is His good pleasure; how else could it be?
Thanks for your kind words! I must continue to look to God as the holder of my value since my feelings toward myself are so malleable. I appreciate your input and insight into my post.
Thank you for sharing your personal story and experiences. I have also spent my entire life battling my biggest critic – myself. Your words are inspiring. I know if I want to change the way I think about myself, I need to be the one to do it. No one else can help me in this effort, because I already have people who love me. I need to find a way to show myself the reasons they love me.
I so understand that feeling, and I am glad my words were able to speak to you. The only thing that allows me to fight this battle every day is the strength of God. I’m still a work in progress. I haven’t changed overnight. But I recognize more easily now when I am lying to myself, which is a big start. And it has improved over the last year or so. I pray you come to know further healing, how to speak to yourself kindly and what the people who love you see. Best of luck on your journey!
Wow. Well said. I have recent begun to believe in how worthy I am of love and how I am worth knowing. It has been a journey. So much of this speaks to my heart. I’m hoping and praying that girls read this and see that the ways they’re thinking could be full of lies, that in reality, they are amazing.
Kimberly, thank you! And I am so glad to hear that! It is definitely a journey and a process. I also hope girls can see this and understand how they feel about themselves is likely not the truth. I am still learning that every day. Good luck on your journey!
Your post speaks so much to me. I’m actually crying while reading it. I’ve been battling for years these, what I believe are true, lies. I have friends and family who tell me I am beautiful, loved, valuable, worthy, that i’m more than good enough – but I can’t accept it. Each time I make a mistake, or look in the mirror, or someones actions could possibly confirm one of the lies, I believe it. I try to battle these lies with God’s truth of who He says I am, but like you said, it’s a daily battle. I have to start believing the truth. Thank you for your blog!
Kayla, I am so humbled and thankful my words meant so much to you. Know that you are not alone. I, too, am in this battle every day to believe who God says I am. Continue to push toward the truth of your value and know that I am right there alongside you, fighting and praying. I know for a fact you are valuable because you are a creation of God!
I felt like I was reading about myself. This brought tears to my eyes, as I am still fighting with myself. I still don’t like myself very much when I look in the mirror. I am trying to fix myself, and I hope one day to get to the place where you are now!! Thank you for this!!
Wendy, it’s amazing how similarly so many people feel about issues like this. I’m grateful that my words could touch you. Please know that you are most definitely valuable. And remember, if your thoughts are not something someone who loves you would say, then they are most likely lies. You are valuable, and you are loved by God. He alone can provide strength and healing on your journey. Know that I am fighting and praying for you and for myself in this arena!
Thanks for that! Good reading. I feel just like that, worthless, that God made a mistake when he created me but I am trying to change what I believe about myself, I hope Im not too late.
God makes no mistakes Jessica. I pray you can begin to see yourself as God does…His beautiful child…precious on His eyes. His peace for your mind and heart…nothing in this world can bring that peace. I pray it is not too late…this world needs you!
Jessica, there is always hope because God is a very big God–even though our problems sometimes seem insurmountable. You ARE valuable. That is an indisputable truth. I will pray for you on your journey. Know you aren’t in it alone! I’m still learning and growing, too.
Thank you for this wonderful message. It is so comforting and beautiful to know that we are always loved and accepted by the only opinion that matters.
As I struggle every day with the negative thoughts pouring through my mind, God is truly my only strength and refuge. When everything else seems hopeless, He is hope.
He is my strength that motivates me to continue every day as he brings meaning and purpose to everything and every life. What a friend we have in Jesus!!:)
Michelle, I’m all too happy to share it. I read your comment and thought, “Amen!” This is not a battle I can win on my own strength. It is God and God alone who can give me victory and bring healing. I pray God will continue to guide and direct you!
Thank you. One day at a time.
One day at a time indeed. Thank you for reading, friend!
I feel like such a failure at everything….. I’m crying as I try to write this because I feel as if there is just simply no hope. I believe God has a purpose for my being here and I do love and trust in him. I just can’t shake this feeling of loneliness and despair…. Prayers for you and me….
We’re so sorry to hear that you’re feeling this way right now. We’d love to send you some encouragement. Would you mind emailing [email protected]?
dearest karen, i am so glad that you reached out, and i hope you will talk to the wonderful people at TWLOHA. in the darkest of dark times, it is SO SO difficult to believe that there is hope. but there is indeed hope. you are a woman of indisputable value. you are not a mistake. you were created specifically by God for this space and time. you are not alone in how you feel. but what God says about you trumps any and all feelings. and what He says is that you are a “very good” creation. i will be praying for you, friend. there is hope! praying for a brighter tomorrow for you now.
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oh my goodness>I fell like i was reading my own life story. I teared up reading this. So happy to have found this organization.