by Deborah Maxey
As a psychotherapist, I found every client presented with one common issue. They mislabeled themselves. And believed it. They might tell me they were “losers,” only to find they may have created a profitable business or raised successful children. Many could tell me they hated being around people because they were “ugly, too fat, too thin, too tall, too short.” And I was looking at an attractive person.
Their thoughts had become labels they believed. Where did the labels come from? Together we worked to locate the sources. Those around them saw them that way first. But once they believed it was true, the negative label became their own. It was embedded in their core. Their heart.
For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he. Proverbs 23:7 (KJV)
Our brains are wired to accept the negative far faster than the positive. Negative is like a heavy ball rolling downhill. Positive is like pushing a heavy ball uphill. We argue against compliments inwardly, “This old thing? Yeah, well I have gained ten pounds since you saw me. Or, “Yes, but that isn’t as good as yours.” We accept the negative quickly. “I agree, I could have done better. I loused this up. I do look sick, tired, older….”
Negativity defeats self-love.
Paul wrote: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Romans 13: 9 KJV). If we don’t love ourselves, we can’t love our neighbor. We believe that everyone we meet is judging us harshly by the same criteria with which we judge ourselves.
So how do we overcome that? We can start with prayer, asking the Lord to show us what prevents us from accepting and loving ourselves. Then write down our negative labels. Who taught us to see ourselves that way? Finally, we dispute every one of them with facts that disprove them. One at a time. No giving it a quick once over here. Pray to be shown.
Jesus asked his disciples, “Who do you say I am?” (Matthew 16:15, KJV).
Jesus knew that many labels were assigned to him by people who had watched him heal the sick, raise the dead, or feed thousands with a child’s lunch. Yet, they had difficulty saying who He was: The Messiah, The Son of God. Their thoughts about Him, despite evidence, prevented them from accepting Him and allowing it to change their hearts.
Who do we say that He is? Is He the Lord of our hearts that can help us exorcise the negative labels that keep us from seeing ourselves as His exquisite creation? He is. He performs much bigger miracles than that!
We can pray to let go of the labels that other humans have given us. We can begin to acknowledge and accept the truths of how God labeled us in His Word: “For I am fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14 KJV). We can listen for how we speak or think about ourselves and know that we are not praising God when we annihilate our positives and rehearse negative thoughts that become reality in our heart.
We have a Helper. He’s on standby. Just waiting for us to call Him in. We are not alone in this battlefield of the mind.
This article was brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).
About the author: Deborah McCormick Maxey Ph.D. “Re-tired” from her psychotherapy practice to be “Re-purposed,” writing Christian devotions, articles, and fiction. She features personal miracles monthly at deborahmaxey.com.
Deborah’s debut novel, The Endling, released this year. Native American Emerson Coffee is the last surviving member of her tribe. When US Marshals inform her she’s being hunted by a mob hit man, Emerson declines their offer of witness protection. But when three innocent children become caught in the crosshairs, Emerson must decide if she will risk it all—her mountains, her heritage . . . even her life—to secure their safety.
Join the conversation: With what labels do you struggle?
Deborah McCormick Maxey Ph.D. “Re-tired” from her psychotherapy practice to be “Re-purposed,” writing Christian devotions, articles, and fiction. Her debut book, The Endling: A Novel is available at Christian Books, Amazon, and Barnes and Nobel. She features personal miracles monthly at https://deborahmaxey.com/