When Positive Self Talk Isn’t Enough


It’s been many a year that I have wrestled and worked through how to deal with the lies in my head about how God made me and who I am and how I look. It’s always been a big deal to me. Good gravy, I wrote a book about it. But that doesn’t mean I don’t still struggle.

The lies still come. Sometimes they are a whisper when I am walking onto a stage, sometimes they are a quick cut when I see a picture of myself, and other times, they scream. They scream in a way I cannot describe- they are constant and vulgar and violently unkind.

And when the lies get loud like that in my head – the ones that say I am painfully ugly, unlovablely fat, ruined, unsalvageable, disappointing, etc. – the first step, I have learned, is to invite truth in. So I stand there, or sit there, or lie there, and I say the true things.

God made me on purpose.

God loves me unconditionally.

God doesn’t make ugly.

Bible verses long memorized about who I am, how I was made perfectly, and how God treasures me.

And repeat repeat repeat.

If you’ve never struggled with self-hate, maybe this doesn’t make sense to you. But sometimes, even when you say the true thing over and over and over again, your brain cannot hear it. And for me? That’s when I know it’s bad.

When the truth, from the Bible into my mind and out of my mouth, doesn’t resonate with my heart after a few days (yes, days) of saying it, writing it, singing it, and choosing it, well… that’s bad.

Sometimes, for me, when the mean voices get too loud, positive self-talk isn’t enough.

It’s been that way, in recent days. Sometimes there is a trigger, an event or experience that sends me down the self-hate rabbit hole, but this time, nothing. I can tell you a few things I know- summer is usually harder because it gets hot and sweaty and it makes me feel unhappy, I can pinpoint a few experiences lately that would be knocks to any gal’s self-esteem, but nothing out of the ordinary. So I can’t tell you where it started. I just know the self-talk wasn’t working and I was falling farther and farther.

Because this has been my struggle for years (YEARS), I have learned what to do next- the next level of arsenal. Besides the yelling out to God for rescue from the onslaught, I do a few other things to mute the lies.

Hang up words.

And so I did. On my mirror. This beautiful print from Aliza Latta now hangs in my bathroom, forcing itself on me every morning.

Tell somebody.

I did. I told my counselor this week- I spoke the lies to her, the ones that have screamed at me recently. I told her where I heard them and who was there and what I was wearing and way more detail than she could ever want. When someone else knows, it’s better.

Go on a walk.

I know. It sounds ridiculous. But for me, the farther down the self-hate hole I am, the more I sit still. So I head out, through my neighborhood, for twenty minutes or so, just to move.

Do something kind for yourself.

I’ve been living on a strict budget this summer, so when my normal makeup ran out, I used some I found in a drawer. (I’m cheap. Sorry.) But on Saturday, I popped over to the mall and replaced the few essentials I use daily. It may sound silly, but it mattered to me. So I did some creative budget shifting, and found some moola for the makeup I really like.

And you know what? I’m feeling better. The lies are less than, and there were days this weekend when I didn’t hear them at all. I’m not mad at myself for struggling, but my guard is up now and I’m watching with a protective eye over my own mind and heart.

So why tell you this? Because I guarantee I’m not alone. I am sure, like 100% sure, that one of you reading this feels this with me. And if that’s you, I just want you to know you aren’t alone.

You aren’t alone in this fight. I’m here too. And God is with us.

“Is anyone crying for help? God is listening, ready to rescue you. If your heart is broken, you’ll find God right there; if you’re kicked in the gut, He’ll help you catch your breath. Disciples so often get into trouble; still, God is there every time.”

— Psalm 34:17-19 (The Message)

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