***this might come across as a preachy post! That is not my intention. I'm just writing out my thoughts. If you are offended by it, just close the page and move on. I'm sure to have something light and funny on tap by tomorrow, so you can stop by then for your regularly programmed light-heartedness**
I see this sometimes with my female friends and associates. It often sounds like this; "I'm so fat.", "I look like such a disaster today.", "Don't take my picture. I look awful in pictures.", "I'm not creative or talented.", "I'm not smart."
It is such an awkward position to be in, when somebody speaks so terribly of themselves. I never know exactly what to say, and I will admit that sometimes I choose to say nothing to such statements because there really is nothing appropriate to say. If you agree with them, then you are a total jerk and you will put them in an even lower funk than they already are in and since it is not true, you'd be lying. And, if you try to sweetly correct them and tell them "no, you're not fat, or you're not stupid or dull..." they never seem to believe you. Instead they discount your rebuttal and continue on with their pity party. It is a true no-win situation.
When I was in my upper-division psych classes at B.Y.U. I had one professor who said a single statement that has stuck with me all these 20 years later. And, it was this: the same-sex parent is the most influential person in a child's life. Meaning, the mother is the most important role-model for a girl, and the father is the most important role-model for a boy. This wasn't opinion, it was simple scientific fact. For good or for bad, it simply was. And, if a child were not able to form a good (or a bad) relationship with their same-sex parent, they would often find a stand-in to do the job (uncle, good friends parent, grandmother etc...) I've thought a lot about this as I've been raising my girls. My influence on them is staggering. What they know of womanhood, motherhood, wife-hood, and every other important role I have in life is greatly influenced by me. Now don't get me wrong, I'm not their only source of information, and their relationships with other women in their extended family, schools, church and associates are very influential too, but, I am the top role-model. And, in having that position, I have a lot of power. It's a ton of pressure. Additionally, my girls relationship with their dad is extraordinarily important too, but in a different way. He teaches and role-models for them vital things too, but it is not the same as what I do.
So, with all of that in the back of my mind as the years have gone by, I made a decision early on in my mothering career to make sure my girls never saw/heard/or felt self-loathing from me. I decided that they need to know that I like myself. They need to know that I value myself. Yes, they see me make mistakes and they are fully aware of my imperfections, but they never hear me berate myself. I never disparage my body shape or physical structures. I never tell them I'm dumb, or worthless. I never hide behind the camera so I don't have to be photographed. And, I don't do this because I think I'm practically perfect in every way. It's not that. I do this because I know they are watching me. I know my personal self-worth vibe (if you want to call it that) is being felt by them. And, they are going to identify with and possibly emulate it. If I say disparaging remarks about myself, the will eventually start saying disparaging remarks about themselves. And, that is the one single thing I cannot bear to see a beautiful daughter of God do to herself, particularly my daughters.
Think about it from God's perspective: here you are on earth, a wonderful creation of Heavenly Father and Heavenly Mother. They love you- perfectly. They see everything that is amazing, wonderful, beautiful and unique about you. All the while, you, as an imperfect mortal being, develop thoughts and feelings about yourself that are negative. You start to compare yourself to others around you and you feel like you just don't measure up. So, you begin to berate yourself for things that you dislike about yourself. You speak of Gods wonderful creation (you) as a terrible, unspectacular, ugly specimen. This must be such a sorrowful thing for our Heavenly Parents. They love you more than you can even imagine, but you don't even like yourself. What a sad situation.
So, what if you are someone who is in a bad cycle of self-loathing? How is it overcome? To be honest, I don't know all the answers to this question. These are complicated issues, that more often than not can be traced back to childhood experiences and issues or maybe it is a simple as a bad habit, only the individual person will really know. But, I do know one thing you can do to try to change it and that is this: consciously change your negative self-talk. You know that little voice inside your head that talks all day long? Don't let it talk negatively about yourself. Stop it dead in its tracks and start over again. This negative self-talk is a habit that can be broken, and once overcome, those positives that replace the negatives will gradually change how you see yourself. This might also be an issue that is best addressed with professional counseling. Additionally, turning your self-loathing over to The Lord and asking him to help you address this challenge is one thing that I do know will help. That is for sure.
Our young women repeat the same motto every Sunday. And in that spectacular statement the first sentence is:
"We are daughters of our Heavenly Father, who loves us, and we love Him."
It is my feeling that if we truly believe this statement, we will realize our great worth in His eyes. We will see our divine potential and we will begin to understand that Heavenly Father's love for us should influence how we see ourselves more than anything else in this world.