Have you ever felt less beautiful, less successful, less loved, less than?
There are days that I do. Being a Christian doesn’t give me a pass ticket or an exemption to feel less than on some days. I am a person wired with desires and longings, after all. And we live in the era of social media when it is all too easy to fall into the comparison trap just by scrolling our screens.
When the feelings of being less than cripple your heart, may I offer these simple practices to help you get through it?
1.) Start by Acknowledging the Feeling
Start by simply acknowledging the ugly and awful feeling of being less than. Do not numb it by distracting yourself with a hum of entertainment or a night out or hours spent sedentary in a corner trapped by one little gadget connected to the virtual world.
Whatever it is that distracts you from acknowledging your feeling, decide to leave it for the moment. Leave your phone/gadget. Go for a walk. Stay inside a room or wherever somewhere quiet.
Give yourself five minutes to name the pain in your heart.
I usually do this in the form of honest prayer or an entry to my journal. “God, today I am feeling less _____, less ______, less ______. It hurts!” is all I need to say to acknowledge that it is not well with a part of my heart and my being.
2) Ask Yourself Why
“Why am I feeling this?” is the question you can process to get to the root cause of feeling less than. It can be that I am feeling less beautiful and less loved because I’m not receiving these affirmations from the people I expected and longed to hear these praises from. , or mostly I am not the one loving myself just a little bit more.
If you are married or in a relationship, it is only natural that you desire the other person to make you feel beautiful or to affirm you that you are. I have learned that in marriage though, expecting my husband to affirm me every single day is a sure-fail that only leaves me feeling resentful and unappreciated. Do I even affirm my other half every single day? No. I am a fallible human being prone to forgetting and prone to being selfish.
It can also be that I am feeling less successful because everyone looks like they are on social media except me! I have to continually remind myself that I only see the best parts on social media. Often, people don’t share about the hard days, the messy middle of getting to somewhere, the hundred times they took the family photos on their vacation before finally posting the picture-perfect ones.
Understanding why I feel the way I do enables me to reset my heart and my expectations.
2.) Reset your heart by reminding yourself ofThese Truths
When I feel less-than, going back to the scriptures and resting my heart on these truths always change my perspectives.
God is greater than my heart – I may feel less than in many aspects of my life, but God supersedes all my feelings of inadequacies. The first time I read this verse in the bible, I cried because it was comforting to know someone is greater than my struggles:
“for whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything.”
~ 1 John 3:19
My identity is in Christ– I am an image-bearer of God which means I belong to God, I bear His image (Genesis 1:27, 31). He made all things good, therefore, I am good and enough just as I am.
And the best thing? This status of being an image-bearer of God will never ever change.
My satisfaction comes from the Lord – Only God can fully satisfy my longing to be fully known and fully loved.
I cannot expect my husband to fulfill all my longings and desires. I am prone to sin and fail, just as he is. We are fallible. Instead, I seek joy and satisfaction in knowing Jesus, hoping I can love my spouse out of this joy and satisfaction.
Also, we cannot get true fulfillment from our other relationships, home-making, parenting, profession and even our physical bodies.
My beauty is within– I am an image-bearer of God which means I belong to God, I bear HisWell, those are the things I’ve been battling lately.
We cannot get true fulfillment from our marriage or relationships, children, homemaking or even our physical bodies. But, neither can we get it from any preoccupation we might have, whether it be educational attainment, career or profession.
There are triggers. Sure, there are.