Please Be Kind to Yourself: Loving yourself despite your inner critic

“…I am enabled to possess a truly healthy sense of self-worth and a deep personal happiness when I recognize that God made me for Himself and that He loves me not only infinitely but personally.”

Dr. Jeff Mirus

Many of you who were raised Christian may struggle with a certain amount of self-loathing. Whether it be a more serious hatred of yourself or a minor dissatisfaction with the qualities God gave you (or allowed you to have), sometimes we can develop distorted views of ourselves through unorthodox teachings from our Christian homes, or churches. Moreover, we can also develop self-loathing behaviors despite a solid Christian upbringing because we have internalized the mistreatment we have received from people we love and trust.

For those who suffered severe emotionally traumatic events in life, their interior dialogue can become notably more critical. In my experience, this is how my anxiety disorder developed. Part of my emotional healing has been coming to terms with the root of my anxiety disorder. I’ve had to accept that the childhood abuse I faced does not reflect my identity. But nonetheless, these sorts of experiences often breed scrupulosity, perfectionism, self -loathing and developmental stagnation. So, how can we overcome these self-defeating behaviors when they have become so ingrained in us that they are now habitual?

There is no simple answer, and I am not qualified to advise you on your particular situation. However, in my case, I have realized that I need to reprogram my brain with the truth. I recall the command in the gospel of Mathew where Jesus instructs us to “love your neighbor as yourself”. Well, if I call myself “stupid”, an “idiot”, and “inept”, how can I adequately love others? Simple. I can’t! Jesus is not asking us but rather commanding us to respect ourselves in Mathew 22:39. This means that we need to focus all our efforts on eradicating the (unjust) inner critic and allowing Christ to manifest his healing love in our lives.

So, if you have been particularly forgetful lately. Give yourself grace. If you were accidentally rude, make amends and forgive yourself. If you were so tired that you got hardly anything done, please be kind to yourself and give yourself credit for what you did get done. If you are tempted to believe that the abuse you suffered was deserved, please realize it was absolutely not your fault. Realize that God has mercy on us and loves us even more than we love ourselves. Being able to be kind to ourselves is the foundation of our ability to love the people God put in our lives. We practice love first within ourselves so that we can learn to then love our family and friends with that same grace, forgiveness, and mercy. You are not “stupid”, “ugly”, “fat”, “slow” or any insult you or anyone else could possibly throw at you. Those are lies straight from the pit of hell. What you are is beautiful, loved, wanted, needed, and a gift to the world. If anyone, regardless of their religious affiliation, deliberately labels you something that is contradictory to what Jesus says about you, realize that they are projecting their own interior dialog and pain onto you. That is not your burden to carry. Respond by making the decision to move on with your life and claiming your identity as a beloved one of God. You are so worthy of love, so please, don’t forget it. 😘


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