I’ve been thinking a lot about deconstruction: the changing of our beliefs, the loss of faith, the shift in our religious habits and behaviors, and the transformation of our inner and social selves. This is what I help people do. I’ve been doing it for many years.
One of the things I have come to realize is that while we deconstruct, for many of us, something else has to be happening at the same time. That is – the reconstruction of our self-esteem and confidence.
For many of us, we’ve been exposed to a religion that is anti-human. Inhuman. It is often to worm theology – you know – that we’re wretched and no better than a worm. Many beliefs ingrain into our minds that we are worthless sinners, broken, and bad. The only thing that can save us is the blood of a lamb that covers the sin but doesn’t remove it. We live the rest of our days in a state of shame, guilt, fear, and lowliness. We despise even ourselves.
This is reinforced by our families, friends, churches, and even our God.
But what happens when we start to question, challenge and even reject beliefs that teach us this about ourselves?Where do we go from here?
This is what I’ve come to realize: we need to edify ourselves. We need to start a new program of reprogramming our minds. We need to rewire our brains – and some claim this is physically as well – and train it to think positive thoughts about ourselves. We need to reconstruct (and for many of us it is constructed for the very first time) a self-image that is positive rather than negative.
How do we do this? For example, how do we start feeling proud of ourselves when we’ve been taught to be ashamed of ourselves our whole lives? More than that, how do we feel proud of ourselves when we’ve been taught that this is the worst sin of all, initiated by Satan just before he was kicked out of Heaven for his rebellion and sent plummeting into Hell?
Well, I know for one that it’s going to feel weird. It’s going to feel foreign. It’s going to feel wrong! But I’m here to tell you that you must do it.
Here’s where we can start: We can reverse the flow. Negativity is reinforced by ourselves, our families, our friends, our churches, and our God. Instead, we need to start by positively reinforcing ourselves.
There might not be much we can do about our family, our friends, our church, and our God. Or is there? Yes! As we boost our inner confidence, we can silence the negativity of those around us. Our inner voice can drown out theirs. We can distance ourselves from negativity if and when we can. We can surround ourselves with positive voices if and when we can.
Finally, as our new philosophy about life and ourselves is reconstructed, everything else will eventually fall into place. It doesn’t matter what kind of negative voices are around us, we’ve built ourselves up to the point where it doesn’t affect us like it used to.
So, as you deconstruct, find ways to construct or reconstruct your positive inner voice and build yourself up. Strengthen your inner being, fortify your self-esteem and confidence. Again, it might feel weird and even cheesy, but it works! I can testify to that.
You’re awesome, and you’re worth it. I mean it.
David Hayward has a Masters in Theological Studies from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, as well as a Diploma in Religious Studies and Ministry from McGill University in Montreal. He left the professional paid clergy in 2010, after almost 30 years of ministry. David helps people deconstruct without self-destructing. David lives with his wife Lisa on the beautiful Kennebecasis River near Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada. They have three grown children. And a dog, Sophie. Got questions? Email David today!
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