From the Executive Director
A Healthy Self-Image
In this issue of Horizons, we explore health issues and sports projects’ contribution to people’s health.
While humankind works to eradicate diseases and can claim that some like smallpox and rinderpest (cattle plague) have been successfully eliminated, modern medicine can do very little about building self-image. In the mission field, we often pay attention to having good medical facilities, but personally I think that a healthy self-image, rooted in Christ, is essential to effectiveness in ministry and longevity.
It is fair to say that although today’s society is equipped with good hospitals with advanced medicines, we are still plagued by eating disorders, addictions, depression, anxiety, physical and emotional abuse, suicide and other human conditions. Most of these conditions are related to our self-image. Self-image is how we see ourselves: what mental picture we have created of ourselves. What we tell ourselves about “who we are” can be healthy but also devastatingly unhealthy and make us unhappy and depressed.
For instance, “I am smart and good looking” versus “I am mediocre and nobody likes me” are some ways of seeing ourselves. The first is extremely positive and the second is terribly negative. Often, such statements form the foundations of our self-image.
If you only see yourself from a negative perspective, you will use statements such as, “I am not good enough,” “I am not as smart as X,” “I always make wrong decisions,” or “I don’t measure up!” Eventually, you will be full of self-doubt and discouragement, admit defeat and become depressed. On the other hand, you can falsely see yourself in a positive light only. Statements such as “I am the most qualified here,” “Mine is the best,” or” I am always right,” can lead to arrogance, pride, and over-confidence.
Therefore, a healthy self-image is a fair judgment of ourselves. It includes both positive and negative statements that reflect our true, honest perceptions of ourselves. The Bible says that we were created in God’s image and that we are God’s children. But the Bible also says that we are sinners, in rebellion against God! As Christians, we uniquely bear God’s image and have a precious status as God’s children. But due to sin, we are far from perfect. So our self-image should be, “I am important, special and unique; I am loved and have great potential but I am a sinner, I am imperfect, I have limitations, and I can be wrong sometimes.”
A healthy self-image helps us accept ourselves as “who we are” and does not allow external factors to define us. An unhealthy self-image can pressures us to conform to “who we are not,” eventually leading to stress and even burnout.
As we work and serve in Mongolia, let us not allow the outcome of our projects or work or people’s expectations define us. Rather, let us root our self-image in who God has created us to be.
Click here to download full version of Newsletter – Horizons Oct/Nov 2017