Your True Identity

By Sally S. Johnston, Tara Shingle, Marjorie Foerster Eddington


How can I feel good about myself when I don't like the way I look?


Being overweight for most of my life, I have struggled with feeling fat and ugly - definitely not beautiful. But something I learned one summer in high school has helped me.

At that time, I was really struggling with identifying myself with beauty or goodness of any kind. As I prayed about this, I was led to read the first chapter of Genesis. I was struck by the phrase: "And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness" (Gen.1:26). And it is repeated in verse 27, showing the quality and importance of His creation -- me. I found it interesting that both "image" and "likeness" were used, and I wondered why. I found my answer in Webster's dictionary. I understood the definition of image: "a representation, a reflection, a likeness." But it was the word "likeness" that got my attention. The root word of likeness is "like." The first definition of like is similar to image: "having exactly the same qualities, characteristics, etc." The second definition is "to please; to have a fondness for; be pleased with." I realized that God liked me. God was satisfied and proud of me. Not only did He make me good, He made me "very good."(Gen.1:31). How could I not be pleased, fond of, satisfied with "very good?" Understanding this made it easy for me to like myself because all I was doing was seeing and liking God.

For the next six weeks of that summer, I practiced seeing myself as God saw me. If I associated myself with a negative quality, I asked myself if God could express that quality. It was silly to think God was ugly, fat, etc. So it was silly to think of myself, God's "image" and "likeness," as ugly and fat. This was a turning point. For the first time in my life, I liked who I was. I was the wonderful, beautiful child of God. A side benefit of learning how to love my true selfhood was the loss of two dress sizes. But the most important and the most beneficial lesson was learning to love myself.

Sally S. Johnston

You don't like the way you look?

Do you like the way God looks? Because that's the way you look: "God created man in his own image" (Gen. 1:27). Because God is your one true Parent, you've inherited nothing but God's nature and qualities. So guess what? You are the picture of radiance, health, and yes, beauty. You are the result of Love, the creation of Soul, the expression of Life, the idea of Mind, the delight of Spirit, the perfect reflection of Principle, and the full representation of Truth.

Ugliness isn't a quality of God, so it certainly doesn't have anything to do with you. I, for one, know you are beautiful without ever having met you!

Tara Shingle

I have found Psalm 90:17 helpful for many years. I, too, have not been pleased with the way I look, but I have people tell me how beautiful I am, and I attribute it to my daily reading of this verse in the Bible.

And let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us: and establish thou the work of our hands upon us; yea, the work of our hands establish thou it. (Ps. 90:17)

from Dallas, TX

It's so tempting to let our appearances determine the state of our well-being. If we like the way we look in our clothes, then we're happy. If we don't, we're not. It seems kind of silly, doesn't it, when we look at it objectively? And yet, it's hard when we look in the mirror and really don't like what we see.

Eugene Peterson's - The Message translation of Matt 6:27-28 is very appropriate:

Has anyone by fussing in front of the mirror ever gotten taller by so much as an inch? All this time and money wasted on fashion-do you think it makes that much difference?

We may have to trade in our old concepts of ourselves and our bodies for new, freer concepts. When we identify ourselves as God's children, spiritual and good, we begin to understand that happiness itself is spiritual, and we start experiencing happiness. Loving ourselves then becomes natural and easy.

Here are a few tips to help you be happy and love yourself:

  • Make a gratitude list.
    • Be grateful for everything God does for you.
    • Be grateful for everything you are and everything you have.
  • Write down what qualities or characteristics make someone beautiful or handsome.
    • Express or live those qualities daily.
    • Love those God-given qualities that you now express.

There was an article a friend sent me on the web. The theme went something like this: "If you want beautiful lips, speak kind words." The author applied this type of analysis to every part of the body. Let's do this for ourselves.

If we are living with beauty, grace, strength, and dominion, our bodies will ultimately reflect that God-given dominion. We will love God's image — our real identities. Moreover, we will be better equipped to love others.