A Proper Sense of Self

So, based on the foregoing article ("Self-Fulfilling Prophecies"), if our own insecurities, suppositions, assumptions and other flaws of perception alter our sense of reality, what is the solution to this problem?  How can we keep a mental and emotional balance so that we do not contribute to discord via unnecessary hurt feelings, jealousy and projecting our own wayward thoughts upon others?

First, we need to accept and admit that we are all imperfect; we fall short of our own expectations, to say nothing of God’s.  Social media places so much destructive pressure upon teen girls.  They become hypercritical of their appearance:  too thin; too fat; too tall; too short; big nose; unibrow; kinky hair; straight hair; light complexion; dark complexion.  The comparisons and criticisms never end because they rest on the shifting sands of social norms.  We need to STOP IT.  Stop listening to such carnal drivel; stop judging ourselves by the wretched standards of self-appointed judges who themselves are insecure, worldly and plagued with envy, lust and emptiness.  As the crude old saying goes, “God didn’t make no junk.”  This earthly body has flaws; we ALL have them.  Even today’s super-models weather and are eventually overtaken by wrinkles, sags and varicose veins (see current pictures of models from my generation:  Jaclyn Smith, Lauren Hutton, Cheryl Tiegs, Christie Brinkley, etc.).

Second, it is the inner person that really matters.  While even Scripture acknowledges beauty (and we can’t deny its role in attraction), it is not the principal thing.  God will transform the aging, tired, broken-down body in the resurrection, but in the meantime He is examining us for kindness, humility, purity, mercy, generosity, service; i.e, the fruit of the Spirit.  Paul prayed for the Ephesians that God “would grant you … to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man” (Eph 3:16; cf. 1 Pet 3:4).  This is where we need to focus most of our effort and attention.

Thirdly, a correct sense of self and the confidence that comes with it is formed by setting our sights on a home in heaven, not the approval, accolades, praise and rewards of this world.  When Jesus was on the earth “even among the rulers many believed in Him, but because of the Pharisees they did not confess Him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue, for they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God (Jn 12:42-43).  Longing for this world’s approval can prove spiritually fatal.