What do you do when you feel bad about yourself? Replacing insecurity with self-confidence begins with love – for yourself.
“The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the-scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel.”
The dangers of feeling bad about yourself
It’s common for a person’s self-confidence to waiver at times. You may occasionally feel unworthy, flawed, defective, or insecure. Ultimately it is fear that you will look bad or appear less worthy in front of others that causes these uncomfortable feelings but other factors can impact your self-confidence too.
Signs that you are insecure and lack self-confidence
Ask yourself these questions. Do you avoid challenges for fear of failure? Do you needlessly apologize to others when no apology is necessary? Do you often compare yourself to others? Are you often jealous of others? Do you cringe at advertisements that mention something about you that you do not like (marketers are masters at making us feel insecure in an attempt to promote their product or service). Do you avoid friendships because you are afraid people may not like you? When you fail, misspeak, or stumble, do you feel an overwhelming amount of embarrassment and shame? These are all signs that you have a negative sense of self-worth.
Why do we feel bad about ourselves?
Insecurity derives from many things. Maybe at some point you had a bad experience, someone rejected you or said something degrading that deeply hurt you. Few people make it through life without meeting at least one person who has attempted to make them feel bad about themselves.
Maybe your standards are set to high. Some may set personal goals that are so high they are unachievable. A person who never accomplishes their goals will feel constant shame.
Some may have been raised in an environment where they were constantly demeaned. Maybe their parents were abusive or maybe their parents taught them using negative reinforcements to correct behavior. These negative messages become deeply internalized by a child. They ultimately become an inherent part of who we are.
Some may live in an abusive relationship, spending all their time around someone who constantly bombards them with negative comments.
Maybe you constantly comparing yourself to others – consciously or not. Negative self-worth, or insecurity, often derives from negative self-talk, those toxic voices in your head that subconsciously work through comparisons between you and other people. In most cases, these inner voices are so deeply embedded in us, we never really notice that they are there, constantly nagging, belittling, questioning our self worth.
Maybe you lack love for yourself. If you do not love yourself, your confidence will lie solely in what you think other people’s perception of you is. In other words, you believe more in others than you do in yourself. This is especially dangerous. We should live our lives according to what God wants – not for what others think about us.
How do we stop feeling bad about ourselves?
Appreciate what you have. Admit that life is not always fair, but God always provides. Thank God for what you have – often.
Stop comparing yourself to others. Compare yourself only to yourself. Then you can learn to accept what you can’t change and only attempt to change what you can’t accept.
Recognize when you have negative thoughts about yourself. Consciously stop the negative thought and turn it into a good thought about yourself. Then repeat that new positive thought in your head a few times. This is called “positive affirmation”. With some practice, you’ll soon be able to recognize negative thoughts as soon as they occur. These thoughts are often triggers for depression and anxiety too.
Learn to love yourself. You must inherently believe that your self-worth comes from yourself – not others. Life is a series of experiences. Some are good, others may be bad. But we live them either way. Live your experiences for yourself – not for what you think others may want or expect of you. If the experience is good then enjoy it. If it is bad, learn from it, and accept it for what it is – a temporary experience and nothing more. Remember, our experiences in life do not have to define who we are (but often do).
Finally, but most importantly, pray. Talk to God. How can you not have confidence when God is always by your side? He’s there, and willing to help. Ask God to help you feel better about yourself. Ask that he help you recognize when you begin to have negative thoughts about yourself. Ask that he help you recognize the good in you. Ask that he help you live life for yourself and the good of those around you – living your life according to what God expects of you, not for what you want others to think about you.
What does the Bible say about confidence?
You may be surprised to find that the Bible has quite a bit to say about worry, insecurity, and confidence. Below are a few verses related to self-worth and confidence.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness,
“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. …
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.