Healing from Self-Hatred
By Beverly Moore
Lord help me. I live with this deep-seated inner hate for myself that manifests every time I experience failure or rejection. Father, in the name of Jesus I look to You to help me; I keep failing to measure up. I really do need You Lord and I need the power of Your Holy Spirit to enable me to cast out this demon of self-hate.
This is a prayer I wrote after experiencing a setback.
Many of us have been bamboozled, hoodwinked and duped into believing lies about ourselves from the enemy of our souls, the Devil, without even realizing it. I used to think that when I heard these negative words coming up from myself that it was me, but I have come to discover that they are suggestive thoughts from the enemy using my voice as a channel and once I open the door through acceptance these negative voices take residence.
For most of my life I have struggled with self-loathing or self-hatred. You may ask how can anyone hate themselves but it is a very real problem that stems from internal damage to the self-esteem and lack of self-worth.
I know the damage took place at an early age and has shown itself into adulthood. I also know that at the root of self-loathing is rejection. As a child I was teased, for being overweight, couple that with family dynamics which included divorce; both caused me to be deeply wounded with a sense of emotional abandonment.
Sociology teaches us that a child’s identity starts at home with the family and as a child develops their peers, school, and community play a pivotal role in formation. As one of my professors Dr. Reginald Blount notes, “These socializing forces are conversation partners in identity formation.”
If a person in development experiences trauma along the way, without a proper response of positive faith-filled reinforcement, the damage germinates into a healthy dose of low self-esteem. I am not writing this to place blame on my family or community but I do hope we recognize the power of our voices in helping to shape a child’s identity, the power of our voices in helping them fulfill their God-given purpose.
As a result my soul (mind, will and emotions) were murdered at a very young age with words; words that my socializing forces at the time did not consider lethal, but because of it, I struggled to see myself differently. I can honestly say that this problem has impacted every area of my life and one of the physical manifestations of its roots was my weight.
As child I had behavioral problems. Rather than receiving counseling to help me work through what I was experiencing they were swept under the rug. So in an effort to win love, acceptance and approval I became a people pleaser. When I couldn’t please those from whom I sought acceptance, I retreated into deep depression, self-hatred and blaming myself. This withdrawal was often misunderstood as me being moody or even difficult to get along with or with many friends I was just good “Ole Bev” because I hid it well.
As I continued into my young adult years I saw the impact in my career and bad choices in relationships. We are good at teaching people how to succeed but we do not teach people how to fail and get back up again. I experienced setbacks in my life that left me lost and I believed that my value was based on where I worked, who I knew, the title I carried, or having a man in my life even if it was the wrong man.
What God has shown me in this season is that my identity is not found in my outer appearance and my worth is not based on what I do or who I am with.
Okay, so enough of this whining. What’s the solution?
For me the solution has been my relationship with God in Christ, plain and simple. Through the study and confession of the Word of God, prayer, praise and worship, and changing my focus, God has manifested Himself and poured out His love for me.
I had to learn how to receive His love and receive love from others by knowing that I am chosen to be in Him and that I am accepted in the beloved (Ephesians 1:4-6 is one of my favorite Scriptures). I also had to recognize that just because I confess some Scriptures and do positive self-talk that the enemy was not going to let up, as a matter of fact the warfare intensifies. If I allowed my circumstances to talk louder than the power of God in His word I would quickly lose the battle and this is where faith is a powerful defense to block the fiery darts of the enemy.
A Work in Progress
I have my days when things don’t go my way, when I have to wait and life happens (disappointments, loss etc.) but I am learning to celebrate who I am in Christ and to love me in a healthy way. With that I also recognize that there are areas of my life that need to change and that God gives me the grace to make these changes.
The Lord gives wisdom, understanding and insight on how to live differently. What I love most about our Father is that unlike how we love, His love for us is not based on our performance.
His acceptance of me is not based on what I do but that by faith I receive what Jesus Christ accomplished at the cross. My righteousness is settled and I can breathe.
I don’t have it all together, but I am a work in progress and I declare my healing. My prayer is to serve as a conduit of healing for others and as I continue to mend.
Beverly Moore is walking in her anointing as a teacher of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Her personal vision statement is to “To be a woman of God who lives an uncommon life centered on bringing glory to God by studying and teaching sound doctrine.” She is currently a second year graduate student at Garrett Evangelical Theological Seminary in Evanston, Ill. where she is pursuing a Master of Arts degree in Christian Education.
Click on the cover to read this story and other powerful testimonies in the spring issue of The Well Magazine.