LEARNING TO LIKE OURSELVES

This Spiritual Sunday guest post by Dr. Calvin Metcalf makes some great points about self image, regardless of your spiritual beliefs.

AP-CalvinHave you ever wondered why some people do not like you?  No matter what you do or do not do, they find you rather repulsive.  Since it is a normal tendency to want people to like us, we often grieve when dislike is obvious.  Our frustrations are compounded when, to us, there are no apparent reasons for their rejection.  It hurts to feel the hate of others when, in our hearts, we know it is not our intention to hurt anyone.  If we are people who provoke conflict, then we can expect some “eye for an eye” reactions.  But if, in the sincerity of our souls, we promote peace, then it is strange when others do not respond peaceably to us.

It seems that some folk need a few people toward whom they have an adversarial relationship, and at times we become their victims.  It may be that we remind them of someone who hurt them in the past.  It may be that we did not have the same opinion on some issue, and some people have tender egos when it comes to disagreement.  Perhaps we do not share the same enemies, and that creates problems for folk with hostile attitudes.  Again, it may be that we are perceived as being different and for some, conformity is a “religion.”  There are a variety of ways to analyze the dynamics of people’s dislike of us for no apparent reasons.

Our healthiest response, however, is not analysis but confidence.  Perhaps we need to learn to like ourselves.  If to our own selves we have been true, we must never allow the disapproval of uncomplimentary folk to distract us from life’s pursuit of happiness and purpose.  Our strength can be the strength of ten if our hearts are pure.  No one can ultimately defeat us unless we allow then to do so.  In Christ we can do all things as Paul would remind us.

We must humbly accept the fact that not everyone is going to like us.  Our task as Christians is to make sure we do not give anyone legitimate reasons for their dislike.  When there are offenses, as surely there will be, there must be the grace of apology and forgiveness.  Turning the other cheek and going the second mile and returning good for evil help us to survive the most hostile environments.

There is a sense, however, in which we must not nervously try to please everyone, else we become moral and spiritual jellyfish.  We take our stands, live life to its fullest and let God be God.  Without offending people it is important to know in Whom we have believed and why.  There is surely something to be learned from our Lord when He told His disciples to beware “when all men speak well of you.”

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