“A strong, positive self-image is the best possible preparation for success.” ~ Joyce Brothers
Through my many years as a priest, I have met a lot of people who definitely have self-image problems. They cannot see anything good in themselves. They cannot accept praise given to them. They reject credit that comes their way for a job well done. They do not see themselves in any kind of positive light.
Often, it is because of what they went through as they were growing up. They may have been the object of ridicule and scorn by parents. They may have been abused. They may have been bullied in school. Someone, somewhere, sent them messages that they were no good and they internalized those messages.
Other times, they came upon the conclusion that they were no good all on their own. It most likely came from many failed attempts at doing things. Even if a person is given praise and support, if everything that person attempts to do ends up in some kind of failure, that person will begin to think of himself or herself as a failure.
When people cannot see themselves in a positive light, it is hard to be successful in life. They precondition themselves to future failures and, because of that, practically guarantee that they will not succeed.
I imagine God looking at such people and shaking His head sadly. He sees the good in them. He sees His divine reflection in them. He wishes that they would see and accept themselves the way that He sees and accepts them. That is the key to a deeper relationship with God.
It is difficult to pray to God when we view ourselves negatively. We tend to shy away from others and we shy away from God as well. Our prayer lives often become minimal and our service to others is often nil. We are afraid to reach out to others because we do not want them to see what a colossal failure we are.
If only we could see that others — and God — do not see us in that light. When we are feeling down, we need to look at ourselves and say with absolutely confidence: “I am a child of God.” God will never let His children down. God loves His children, yes, even you and me, incredibly.
FAITH ACTION: As you pray today, make sure to thank God for creating you in His incredible image and likeness and ask Him to give you the grace that you need to see yourself the way He sees you.