If you don’t mind, let me start with an old Genie joke.
One day, a Genie appeared to a woman and said, “This is your lucky day! I will give you 3 wishes.”
“Yeheey!” the woman squealed.
“But on one condition,” said the Genie, “Whatever you ask for, your husband will receive 3 times more.”
The woman frowned, “What? But I hate my husband! He’s a despicable man!”
The Genie shook his head. “I’m sorry. I’m the Love Genie. I repeat: What you ask for, your husband will receive 3 times more.”
The woman said, “Oh, okay. My first wish: Make me very rich. I want $1 Million.”
The Genie asked, “Are you sure? Your husband will have $3 Million.”
She says, “Oh, never mind. What is his is mine and what is mine is his.”
“Very well then!” the Genie said, and with a wave of his hand, and “Poof!” the woman had $1 Million—and her husband had $3 Million.
“My second request is that I want to be very beautiful.”
The Genie asked, “Are you sure? Your husband will look like Piolo Pascual and Sam Milby and John Lloyd put together. This is very dangerous. The girls will flock to him.”
The woman said, “Just as long as I’ll be beautiful.”
And with the wave of his hand, “Poof!”, and she became utterly beautiful and the husband three times more handsome.
The woman then said, “For the third wish, I would like to have a very mild heart attack.”
Life Is A Mirror
Here’s the lesson: Whatever you give to yourself, you give to others more.
If you like yourself, you’ll like others too.
If you dislike yourself, you’ll dislike others too.
Because life is a mirror. What you see in others is a reflection of what you see in yourself.
I’ve met very critical people. Sometimes, I think they feel that they were born to criticize others. It’s their life mission. All they do is size up everyone they meet and point out their mistakes. Where does this critical spirit come from? In their heart of hearts, I believe they don’t like themselves. And they project this self-criticalness on others.
This “disliking ourselves” is more widespread than we think…
It’s An Epidemic
At their inner core, people don’t feel good about themselves. Like background music playing 24 hours a day, people inflict upon themselves self-rejection, self-doubt, self-contempt.
It’s an epidemic in the world today, and it’s robbing people of much happiness.
Where does this sickness of self-hatred come from?
Self-hatred comes from fear. After all, hate is fear. We hate what we fear.
Specifically, we fear we’re not enough. Bottom line, we fear we’re unloved.
And when we don’t like ourselves, we try to solve it by many common false solutions. For lack of space, let me give you two here. One is having Status Symbols. The other is Religious Performance.
Collecting Status Symbols
I know a lot of people who clutch, grab, and collect Status Symbols.
I remember the story of the guy with a BMW. After parking, as he opened the door, another car crashed it and ripped out his door—together with his entire arm.
When the police came, they saw the guy looking at his mashed up BMW and crying, “My car! My car! It’s gone…”
The police said, “Excuse me sir, but don’t you realize that your arm is gone?”
The man looked at where his arm was supposed to be, and when he saw nothing, began to cry, “Oh my gosh! Where’s my Rolex?”
Some are so attached with their Status Symbols.
You see these people walking in malls. Shirt by Lacoste. Shoes by Bally. Watch by Rolex. Waistline by Crispy Creams.
I was talking to a friend who wore a Rolex watch. I asked him, “I’m curious. Why are you wearing a P300,000 watch on your wrist?”
His answer made me very sad. He said, “Honestly? To make me feel like somebody. To make me feel good about myself.”
Wow. If I want to feel good, I breathe. I smile. I pray. I love.
Let me give you another false solution to not liking ourselves…
We Make God In Our Image
The other false solution is Religious Performance.
When we don’t like ourselves, some get into religious practices to appease a God whom they believe also doesn’t like them. Why?
Because life is a mirror.
Because we make God in our image and likeness.
Because we project our self-hatred on God.
For years, I used to be like this. I prayed, read the Bible, and did my religious work because I wanted the approval of an angry God.
I do all these because He loved me first. (1 John 1:14)
So how do you start liking yourself a lot?
What’s Your Default Question?
You have a Default Question that you ask yourself a thousand times a day.
It’s like your OS or Operating System, working in the background.
For many people, their Default Question is “What’s wrong?”
They wake up in the morning and unconsciously ask, “What’s wrong with this day? What’s wrong with my life?”
And throughout the day, they keep asking their Default Question:
“What’s wrong with my husband?”
“What’s wrong with my parents?”
“What’s wrong with my kids?”
“What’s wrong with my job?”
“What’s wrong with my friends?”
And the deadliest Default Question is “What’s wrong with me?”
Some people ask this question again and again throughout the day, it kills their spirit. Because they find so many things wrong about them. No wonder they don’t like themselves!
The question “What’s wrong?” is a very useful question—not as a Default Question—but as a question during emergencies. (When there’s really something wrong!)
What then should be your Default Question?
The Default Question we should ask is, “What’s right?”
Ask it a thousand times a day.
“What’s right about this day? What’s right about my husband? What’s right about my kids? What’s right about my job?”
And especially the very healthy question, “What’s right about me?”
If the Bible is right that you’re really made in the image of God, then by golly gee, you must be a phenomenal human being.
You’ve got stuff in you that are fantastic—and you need to take time to appreciate them.
Remember: Only love can defeat fear. And appreciation is love.
When Jesus healed the ten lepers, only one came back to thank Him. He asked, “Where are the other nine?” On that day, ten were healed physically but only one was healed completely. Ten were healed physically but only one was healed physically and spiritually.
Heal yourself by appreciation.
And here’s one thing you can do…
Write It Down
Sit down and write 25 things you like about yourself.
I did this the other day and couldn’t stop at 25. I ended up writing 67 things I like about myself! And since the list is in my journal, I plan to keep adding onto it until I reach100.
But start with 25. Celebrate who you are. Thank God for who you are!
This will change you.
All of a sudden, you realize how special you are.
And slowly, you’ll start liking yourself a lot.
The Most Important Reason
Three days ago, I was swamped with work.
I had so many articles to write, so many meetings to plan, so many business concerns… But my wife said, “Please bring Francis to the Barbershop. He’ll be a ring bearer.” That’s the disadvantage of having a cute son. He gets to be ring bearer a lot.
So I put aside all my work in the afternoon and brought him to the Barber.
After the haircut, I was thinking that we were going back home so I could work. That was when 4-year old Francis said, “Daddy, I’m hungry.”
So we marched to Jollibee and he ate chicken and rice at 4 in the afternoon!
Again, as we were leaving, I was presuming I could now go back to work. But Francis tugged on my arm again and said, “Daddy, I’m still hungry.” My gosh. Where does this little guy put all that food?
Later on, I realized he was hungry not for food but for love. Specifically, hungry for Daddy’s love.
So we kept on walking, visiting other shops, until he saw a playground. His eyes grew large and said, “Daddy, can I play?”
I believe life is about moments. So I bought myself a cup of coffee, sat on a park bench, and enjoyed watching my 4-year old jump from one slide to another.
We had the grandest time.
Why did I disrupt my whole afternoon for Francis?
Because I’m his father and he’s my son.
He’s more important than all my work.
He’s more important than all my ministries.
He’s more important than all the books I write and all the talks I give.
Friend, this is the ultimate reason why you need to like yourself.
Because you have a Father who loves you so much.
You’re more important than all the stars in the sky.
You’re more important than all the galaxies of this universe.
In the heart of God, nothing compares with you.
If He loves you this much, how can you not like yourself?
May your dreams come true,
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