Don’t Bully Yourself: Listen to What God Says

Reading the bible

“I’ll always be alone.”

“I’m not enough.”

“I’ll never be able to.”

And the list continues…

Have you ever said something like this? Or maybe thought something like this about yourself?

The Bible, in The Message translation, talks about using our “powerful God-tools” to “tear down barriers erected against the truth of God” (2 Corinthians 10:5). One such tool is the power and ability to speak life over ourselves—and in this case, to think and speak the positive instead of the negative. To see ourselves as God sees us, not as the world might.

But how can we win the battle of thinking and speaking rightly about ourselves if we don’t value who we are?

Bob Hoose recently wrote a blog here about a strange, new trend in cyberbullying—where teens cyberbully themselves. According to a story in USA Today, the issue came to light through the tragic story of a 14-year-old girl from Leicestershire, England, who hanged herself after months of online harassment. Investigators later discovered she had essentially bullied herself. She harassed herself for months, engaging in what researchers are calling “digital self-harm.”

This is a new thing, experts say. But while the technology may be new, our inclination to diminish, belittle and even abuse ourselves is certainly not. And that’s particularly true for teens.

We’ve seen more and more evidence that we don’t like ourselves very much these days. Rates of teen depression are rising. Suicide rates among adolescents have skyrocketed. Kids are dealing with all sorts of pressures that their parents and grandparents never envisioned, and our online social worlds often hurt more than help. We hear so much negativity, it’s hard not to internalize it and begin to think, say and even write negative things about ourselves.

It’s scary.

All that negative self-talk and thought can be extremely harmful. When negativity begins to take root and win out over the positive, our mouths can give us away as can our fingers on a keyboard.

But it’s not easy to turn away from this negativity.

I have friends and family who have struggled with depression. I have as well. But I came to a breaking point one day: I knew that I needed something to help me overcome my harmful, negative thinking. There wasn’t just one thing that helped turn my attitude around, of course: Depression and mental health are incredibly complex. But one critical practice helped me a lot: biblically-based positive thinking and speaking.

Because I believe that the words in the Bible are true and powerful, I’m a huge advocate for using the truth in the Bible to replace our own negative thoughts and words with God’s positive ones. How can we win the battle of thinking rightly about ourselves if we don’t value who we are? Truth is, we can’t. Not until we learn to see ourselves as loved and valued, the way that Jesus sees us.

We were created to be loved and adored sons and daughters of God, and when we allow our negative thoughts to speak louder than the positive, we’re compromising who we were created to be.

We need to tell ourselves the real truth: we are loved and valued (1 Thessalonians 1:4), and we must believe this so that we can teach our children their self-worth and in turn “love our neighbor as ourselves.”

So, I have a challenge for you, or for those you know who might be struggling with their self-worth: write down all of your negative thoughts and words you sometimes use toward yourself—words that belittle or demean you. Then, find the positive/true counterparts in the Bible, and write those down too—right across from the negative. If you continue to read the positive and true words over yourself—even when you don’t feel like it—I believe that your mind will begin to change. It will help you see yourself as God sees you—as His precious creation.

No good habit is formed overnight, and this is not easy. But it helped me. I’m praying that it may help you, too.

Who wrote this?

Kristin Smith is the most recent addition to the Plugged In team. Formerly a Spanish and English teacher, Kristin loves reading literature and eating authentic Mexican tacos. When she's not writing or editing, she enjoys traveling the world with her husband, Eddy, and running through Colorado Springs’ Garden of the Gods. She loves coffee, music, her dog (Cali) and cat (Aslan), and is eagerly awaiting the birth of her first baby, Judah.

Have something to say? Leave a comment.

seraph_unsung More than 1 year ago
I wanted to say thank you very much for this post, ma'am.
Kendude44 . More than 1 year ago
Sorry but the "Message" bible is about the worst Bible available. It takes liberties with the scriptures by ignoring the original translations of the text,. There are MANY passages that are written in such a way as to completely CHANGE the intended and original meaning of the text.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Negative talk is a sad sign of the times.  If we are a Blessed, Broken, and Given people then we need to understand that our lives should not center on self.  First, we have no reason to feel that we deserve any more than eternity away from the presence of God. If we have accepted Jesus then we know that we will remain in His presence, second, if we are living a broken life then we know that we are not looking for personal perks but we are fully in His hands. and third, as a Given people we are really not our own so where does that leave "Self Worth"?  It leaves it as a non issue.  to be given is to not own any more.  It has been my experience that less is by far a greater blessing than more.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I so agree with your conclusions, thank you for posting!  
Anonymous More than 1 year ago

Um, I think the Bible has some pretty negative things to say about humanity, so why do we put stock into the idea of "self-worth?" I case you haven't forgotten, the Bible makes it pretty clear that we are worth nothing. I once wrote in a previous blog post that humanity is everything God hates; a physical representation of all things evil. We may have once been made in His image, but that was before Adam's fall. So, is that not the truth as well? Is it not true that we are only one step above demons in terms of how God views us?

We are the scum of this earth, a cancerous tumor that God should have destroyed long ago. What worth can we possibly have when we are so fallen? None.

Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If we are worth nothing, then why did Jesus come to save us? God obviously loves us or Jesus would have just stayed in heaven, it's better up there anyway. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If we are saved through Jesus Christ, we are perfect and blameless in the sight of God. If we repent of our sin he puts them on Jesus and declares us redeemed. 
We are beloved by God and are his sons and daughters, not some meaningless scum on the earth. 
True self-worth is knowing that you are a sinner but also knowing that through Christ you are pure and holy, redeemed, and a child of God with infinite worth and value in his sight.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Here before bobed
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Me to

-Steved (for some reason it does not show my name anymore :( if anyone has any guidance on how to get it back I would be grateful)

[removed] More than 1 year ago
This comment has been deleted
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Do you have one?

Evan Weisensel More than 1 year ago
You get a gold medal!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Speaking of suicide and depression, I noticed you guys did not review Logic's song 1-800-273-8255, despite it's mass success. Was there a reason you did not review it or were you just not able to?
[removed] More than 1 year ago
This comment has been deleted
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was just asking. The song went 3x Platinum in the US and got nominated for a Grammy. 
Josh R. More than 1 year ago
Thanks for pointing that out, friend. Right now, we're only able to publish two music reviews a week. We try to cover as much as we can, but not everything we'd like to!
Cj lastrue More than 1 year ago
profound truth