Why do I need to accept myself?
Your attitude about yourself has a profound influence on your attitudes toward God, your family, your friends, and your future. Understanding the concepts of self-acceptance brings freedom from comparison with others and allows you to discover God’s goodness and His purposes in your design.
Understanding Keys to Self-Acceptance
The foundation of self-acceptance is confidence that God personally fashioned you according to His love and wisdom. Self-acceptance comes by recognizing that God has only begun His creative work in you and that He will finish His good work of conforming you to the character of Jesus Christ. (See Romans 8:28–30.)
Accepting God’s design in your life starts by thanking Him for the way He has made you up to this point, especially for the unchangeable features you might not have chosen. It requires an active, daily acceptance (by faith) of whatever God brings into your life and an awareness that He will work all things together for your good.
Self-acceptance is a very personal commitment. It acknowledges God’s sovereign decisions about ten unchangeable traits in your life:
- Physical features
- Brothers and sisters
- Birth order
- Place of origin
- Time in history
- Mental capacity
- Aging and time of death
When you face challenges in these areas, remember that God chose each one for a reason. God works with your unchangeable traits to equip you for life and to develop the character of Jesus in you.
People tend to measure themselves with the outward standards of others in order to gain approval from others. If your life is marked by characteristics that cause others to ridicule or judge you, you may feel rejected and try to compensate for these traits. You might hide your defects, conform to fads, become extremely critical of yourself, compare yourself with others, develop a fear of failure, or become excessively shy.
Accepting God’s design frees you from these negative patterns of comparison and rejection. Ask the Lord for grace to accept your design and overcome your weaknesses. As God works in your life, you will develop the inward character qualities of Jesus, which are far more valuable than attaining a physical standard promoted by our culture.
Seeking God’s Purposes in Design
Many people resist the decision to dedicate their lives to God, because they are not happy with how He made them. They feel that if their physical features are an indication of what God will do with the rest of their lives if they surrender to Him, they’d rather not give it a try.
Remember that what may appear to be intended for evil, God may intend for good. In perfect wisdom, God designs each person with strengths and weaknesses needed to fulfill His purposes. It is often through a person’s deepest needs that God can demonstrate His greatest glory.
By accepting yourself and surrendering your life to God, you allow the Master Designer to continue and complete the work He began in you when He designed you. “Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6, NKJV).
Growing in Self-Acceptance
- Identify areas you would like to change.
Are there details about your appearance, abilities, family, or social heritage that you would like to change? List these features and identify areas that you can improve. If there are areas that cannot be changed, consider how God can use those features to help you bring glory to Himself, depend on His grace, come to know Him more, and grow in faith. Ask God to show you the potential benefits of things you cannot change.
- Thank God for the way He has made you so far.
Expressing gratitude for God’s design is a vital step in embracing His work in your life, especially when you thank Him for things you would not have chosen.
The features you are unable to change can help build in your life the message God wants to showcase through you. God still has more work to do! He understands the big picture of His plans for you, and He will work to complete the good work He has begun in your life. (See Philippians 1:6.)
- Put yourself back on “God’s easel.”
When God created you, He began a good work in your life. Surrender yourself to Him now, especially the areas that are difficult to accept. By faith, invite God to continue His good work in you and to fulfill His purposes for you. (See Romans 8:28–29.)
As you respond to God, He will fashion your character to reflect the character of His Son, Jesus Christ. Meditate on Scripture passages that describe the qualities God wants to develop in you, such as Matthew 5:3–12, Galatians 5:22–23, and I Corinthians 13:4–8. Be alert to circumstances God can use to develop Christlike qualities in your life.