worksheet 3: Self -acceptance

The human being comprises body, mind and spirit. To thrive, all facets must be working at their best individually but also in sync. God has given us all different physiques , but society sends out pervasive messages, largely through media promotion and advertising, that there is a right way, and therefore by implication , a wrong way to look .

Q: What is the physical attribute you like best about yourself?

God purposely created each individual to certain specifications – “Your hands fashioned and made me …You clothed me with skin and flesh , and knit me together with bones and sinews .” Job 10:8-11 All manner of exercising , calorie-counting , vitamin-pill popping ,primping and preening should serve to achieve the desirable goal  of making us feel at home in the body that God has given us. But looks can never take precedence over our state of health, whether physical,  spiritual or emotional for this is what ultimately determines our quality of life.

Suicide (death at one’s own hands) can be slow or sudden and is the ultimate expression of self-hatred. It may take the form of slow starvation, a limiting phobia or destructive compulsion or be the result of a sudden impulse to do away with oneself. Our relationship with ourselves, in terms of what we think and say about ourselves , is fundamental to our well-being . After all, what we tell ourselves that will permeate our sub-conscious and determine our behaviour .

Apart from God, no-one can know you the way you know yourself , and only you can decide whether you will share that knowledge with another . To know oneself is to understand one’s motivations which stem from one’s desires, as well as one’s behaviour which stems from one’s fears . “To get wisdom is to love oneself .”Proverbs 19:8 We tend to opt for the deceptively safe haven of denial because dealing with the unsavoury aspects of ourselves can be painful.

Q: Is there something painful about your self or past that you need to admit to yourself? Having done so, which trustworthy confidante can you share this with?

We can never be free if we keep shameful secrets. For a silent majority , suicide is a taboo subject to be treated with a mixture of contempt and denial. Although suicidal thoughts may enter our minds at some time or another,  fortunately only a relative few actually follow through. Nevertheless, even one suicide is an irreplaceable loss of human potential, and its high incidence across the globe  is an indictment on the prevailing attitude that life is for the survival of the fittest , thereby marginalizing those who are weak or disabled , whether physically or mentally . The Bible encourages us to support the weak -“We who are strong ought to put up with the failings of the weak…”Romans 15:1. There is no shame in weakness – it is part of the human condition.

Q: Consider the quote below. What are some of your gifts which you and others may be trivializing?

                     “The weakest among us has a gift however seemingly trivial ,

                        which is peculiar to him , and which worthily used will be a

                           gift to his race forever .”(John Ruskin)