Why are so many of us unhappy with who we are? Unhappiness is an epidemic these days. It primarily stems from feelings of not measuring up to the expectations of the world and forgetting that God loves us as we are.
“I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.”
– Psalm 139:14
Why do so many people want to change something about themselves? Why can’t we accept ourselves for what we are? Why do we dislike our natural selves so deeply?
The answer is that we forget that God crafted us exactly in the way He wanted us to be. We are his perfection.
The problem lies in the fact that we listen to the expectations of the world. We punish ourselves for not meeting unrealistic standards. In short, we need to ignore the world and learn to love ourselves as God loves us.
“We love because he loved us first.”
– 1 John 4:19
“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”
– 2 Corinthians 12:9
The feelings we are talking about here go beyond self-improvement. People are unhappy because they are too short, too tall, have a certain eye or hair color, aren’t as attractive as they’d like to be, aren’t as talented as others, are overweight or too thin… the list goes on.
But the lie we tell ourselves is that we “aren’t good enough” because we don’t possess certain qualities that other people were born with. To paraphrase an old saying: “God must have loved simple folk because he made so many of them.”
What we may see as a weakness in ourselves, God put there for a reason. What we may see as a flaw, God views as a strength. The truth is that the aspects of ourselves that don’t fit the expectations of the world serve to show that such things don’t matter anyway. They are superficial, petty, and have no real value. It is the character of your heart and mind that matter.
A clear indicator of how dissatisfied people are with themselves is the size of the plastic surgery industry. A 2018 report estimated that the cosmetic surgery market size was $50.67 billion in 2018 and was projected to reach $66.96 billion by 2026.
And surprisingly, some of the most religious countries are also the ones that lead the number of plastic surgeries per capita. For example, Brazil ranks number one in plastic surgeries and is also a country where 72% of the population ranks religion as being very important to their lives, according to a 2018 Pew Research Center study. By comparison, only 53% of Americans ranked religion as very important to their lives, while only 10% of people in the UK ranked religion as a major factor in their lives.
What this tells us is that, despite Scripture emphasizing how much God loves us and values us, many people still get caught up in focusing on their outer beauty rather than what is inside their hearts.
Focusing on the materialism of the world and following its beliefs brings unhappiness. The end result is low self-esteem. Just look at so-called influencer culture, which values only the most shallow of qualities in the people who crave public attention.
“But let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.”
– 1 Peter 3:3-4
The Bible reminds us to remember that God made us exactly as we are. He wants you to be yourself. You are made in the image of God. Not a physical, material being that is subject to illness, decay, and death, but an immortal spiritual being who bears the perfect and holy image of God.
Again, it is the nature of the heart and the mind that matter most – they are the only thing that matters – not your physical image or the fleeting accomplishments of your time on Earth. Forget the expectations of the materialistic worldview. Focus on the spirit and the truth of God’s word.
“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”
– Romans 12:2