Thursday, October 20, 2005

Lymphedema and Your Self Image

Lymphedema and Your Self Image
Lymphedema can take a terrible toll on a person's self image. So many many times I hear people with lymphedema talk about how they hate the way they look, how they can't stand seeing themselves in a mirror...can't stand being who they are.
This to me is sad, because I am much more then lymphedema. I am the person inside, my values, my beliefs, my talents, my creativity....I am the person within my heart and within my soul.
Lymphedema may be a part of my life...but it doesn't define who I am as a person and I can't let it decide for me, what my self image is.
Here are a few items I thought were good on the concept of self image.
Building A Positive Self-Image
Self-esteem is how you see yourself as a person. If you value the type of person you are, you have a good sense of self-esteem and you're proud to be you. You value your skills and talents, respect your own intelligence and act on your beliefs and feelings. But if you could feel better about yourself, these tips might give you some ideas about how to start.
Listen to Self Talk

We all carry on a steady mental dialogue. Do you ever listen to what you're saying to yourself? Do you put yourself down or call yourself names? Learn to hear the things you say about yourself, then replace that dialogue with positive images. Stop negative self-talk and take the first step toward a more positive self-image.

Recognize Accomplishments

Make a list of your accomplishments, no matter how small they may seem to you. Maybe you won't win a Nobel Prize, but your accomplishments have worth to you. By recognizing them, you can begin to understand that you are important and that you have self-worth.

Be Assertive

Learn to be assertive and to practice clear communication. Say what you mean and respect what others have to say. Remember that you have rights, too.
* I would add that if you are comfortable with who you are, it will be ok for others to have different opinions and perspectives without you feeling threatened or intimidated *

Be Tolerant

Be tolerant of yourself and others. Nobody's perfect! Try not to criticize yourself or other people and don't expect others to criticize you. Recognize that a mistake is only a mistake and don't dwell on it.

Know Good Friends

Spend time with people who value you. Listen to what they say about you. If others are constantly putting you down, you might want to reconsider those relationships. People you choose to be around are often mirrors of how you feel about yourself. You can find the best in yourself and others by expecting it.
* * * * * *
Negative self-talk and your self-esteem
Self image is how we see ourselves, and how we think others see us. Self image plays a HUGE role in how we behave and feel.

Q: What is self esteem?

A: Self-esteem is our internal feelings and evaluation of ourselves based on our "perceived" self-image.

Self-esteem and self image are closely inter-related. And, are largely based on our feedback while growing-up (parents, peers, other important figures).

Fact: it takes about 20 positive statements ABOUT OURSELVES (the foundation of our self-image---self-esteem) to counter-act even just 1 negative personal statement!

Here's the difficult part: it doesn't take a continual repetition of negative statements from our parents, peers, and others throughout our childhood to cause low self-image-self-esteem...fact is, once we get a couple in our head, we can use them over and over again. Again and again we take those false negatives and repeat them unconsciously (completely unaware). It's like having a constant heckler with you.
* * * * * *
Charles Stanley
January, 1990 Radio Message
"Self-Rejection: Its Characteristics, Causes & Cures"
"Self-rejection is a form of bondage that causes you to project these feelings on others that they didn't feel them at all." (Self-rejection, and all the so-called feelings associated with it, would be better defined (Biblically) as one's sinful response to ones circumstances and/or sin against him.)
- Uses Col. 1:21,22 as proof-text for this message and the thesis that people who suffer from feelings of self-rejection, "suffer from a very painful form of bondage."- "People in self-rejection syndrome have chronic feelings of unworthiness."
- "Rejection is a form of control, manipulation, and domination; when someone needs acceptance and we deprive them of that, we are controlling, manipulating, and dominating them." (The Bible, of course, knows nothing of this "need for acceptance;" its source in humanistic psychology.)
- Stanley's bottom line is that "people who suffer from self-rejection are willing to base their self-worth on opinion of others rather than on relationship to God."
- "Dominating thought of person feeling self-rejection is this: 'I must please these people in order to feel good about myself.'"- Characteristics of people feeling self-rejection:

- Overemphasis on dress (a self-image problem)
- Difficult time trusting God- Difficult time loving others/being loved by others (psychic determinism/childhood hurts)
- Critical spirit- Feelings of inferiority/inadequacy
- Anger
- Perfectionism ("I must be perfect to feel good about myself; arrogance and pride feelings are really cover-ups for insecurity.")
- Easily hurt
- Suspicious of others actions
- Self-isolation (that way, the only one that rejects them is themselves)
- Depression (because you failed your expectations)
- Self-verification (of their worthiness/self-worth)
- Sensual fantasies (not a matter of sexual morality, it's a matter of acceptance)
- Domineering the circumstances

The above list should actually be labeled "sinful responses of people claiming self-rejection." The above items in the list have no Biblical basis. Their roots are instead Rogerian/behavioristic psychology and Freudian psychic determinism.
- "So what if someone else rejects you, your self-worth is not based on that individual's opinion, but on God's."
*Causes of self-rejection: (This scenario completely ignores an individual's responsibility for sinful responses to ones circumstances and/or to sinful actions against them.)

- Early in life deformity
- Deep emotional hurt from past childhood [psychic determinism]
- Death of a parent ("Daddy died because he didn't love me" feelings.)
- Abandonment ("You create awesome feelings of rejection that will go with that family the rest of their life, and you will be the ultimate reason for it.")
- Divorce
- Child abuse
- Guilt feelings from past sins/mistakes
- Criticism from other people

- According to Stanley, three feelings needed for one to be emotionally healthy:

(a) Feelings of belonging
(b) Feelings of worthiness
(c) Feelings of competence

- Self-worth should be based upon what God says, which according to Stanley is, "I have a sense of worth -- Jesus died for me; I have a sense of competence -- the Holy Spirit is working in me" (complete failure to recognize that Christ died for us, not because of our great worth, but because of our great sin!).
- Stanley's three steps to overcoming self-rejection:

(a) Identify the feelings of rejection(b) Reject the feelings of rejection (based on God having said, "I'm worthy ")(c) Affirm the following: (sounds a little like positive confession)

(1) "Father, I thank you that I am
unconditionally loved"(2) "I am completely forgiven"(3) "I am totally accepted"(4) "I am complete in Christ"

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