Self Acceptance Vs. Self Rejection
Self-acceptance is one of our most difficult challenges. No matter how much spiritual practice, self-improvement, or therapy we’ve undertaken, there is one area where many of us still find ourselves challenged every day: self-acceptance.
We all form attitudes about ourselves, some good others bad. And we tend to look at the bad as defects in our character. Since we were created in God's image, might this reflect negatively on our image of God? Therefore, it becomes important to how we respond to these “defects.” This is one of the major areas of conflict in both youth and adults, they affect every facet of our lives.
Studies have shown the majority are not satisfied with their basic appearance. A majority of participants in these studies were Christian. They were aware of our basic sin nature. But many still struggled with dedicating their lives to God's Will. Further study showed they compared what they saw in a mirror was an example of God's love and creativity.
According to the Merriam Webster dictionary, the word "attitude" means "an internal position or feeling with regard to something else."
In essence, your attitude is your inward disposition toward other things, such as people or circumstances. God's Word tells us when we become Christians a part of our creation is the development of new attitudes. They should become like that of Jesus.
Most of us can easily identify bad attitudes in our words or actions, such as rebellion, defiance, impatience, apathy, rudeness and such like. These are examples of bad attitudes Christians should reject.
For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he: Eat and drink, saith he to thee; but his heart is not with thee (Proverbs 23:7).
No one else other than God knows what's in your heart and mind. So, attitude is something which must take place inwardly, between you and God. The Bible makes it clear God works all things together for our good when we love Him.
Good attitudes are formed when we compare ourselves with the inward character of Jesus Christ in order to receive God's approval. On the other hand we can expect wrong character development when we measure ourselves with the outward standards of those around us.
It stands to reason, if we harbor bad attitudes about ourselves there's a good chance of rejecting ourselves. Most of us have physical, mental or parental characteristics different from others. During childhood many of these differences were pointed out and sometimes made fun of. Unfortunately, this can cause one to have varying degrees of self rejection.
How can we truly know if we are rejecting ourselves? It may be difficult, but there are outward signs. For example, paying too much attention to clothes we wear. This may be an attempt to hide or compensate for physical features we don't like about ourselves.
Fearing what others may think about us causes many to become excessively shy. This may cause others to reflect our attitudes of fear back to us. Complaining about our physical features, abilities, parentage and other things we are powerless to change, are definite signs of self rejection. In our attempts to be different from others we should be careful to avoid trying to be those things which don't conform to the image of Christ.
Self rejection can often be traced to feeling unaccepted by someone close. Trauma like divorce or a loved one’s death may also contribute to a distorted self-image. For example, if a person has trouble excepting themselves, they may have tendencies to criticize others. Perfectionism and feelings of inferiority are also common. As a result, fear of failure and criticism may lead to procrastination or unpredictable anger.
We've all experienced rejection. We won't impress God with our works unless we have a pure heart. Many think God won't use them until their life is perfect. This simply isn't true. He uses us in spite of us, not because of us. Most of us have spent our lives trying to please others so they won't reject us.
The fear of rejection is actually a rejection of God’s truth. God not only created you to be unique, but also acceptable through Christ.
We are acceptable to God, not because of what we've done, but through what Jesus Christ has done. He died on the cross, and paid for our sins. Knowing who you are in Christ is vital to your spiritual growth, healing, and deliverance.
What Do You Base Your Identity on?
Is it your job, relationships, what others think about you? We need to base our identity upon what God thinks about us. Even what we think about ourselves can be wrong, and usually is. What God thinks about us is the only accurate perception of who we really are. After all, He made us.
We cannot truly love others, unless we love ourselves and if we fail to love others, then we are not keeping the commandments of Jesus to love one another. It's imperative to know we've been forgiven. As long as there is a question concerning our status with God we can't be truly healed. Therefore, learning how to forgive yourself is vital to become the person Christ created you to be.