In today’s society, negative body image is a prevalent issue that affects individuals of all ages. From adolescents grappling with body dysmorphic disorder to adults seeking the ‘perfect’ physique through body sculpting procedures, this challenge is widespread.

Photo by Cottonbro Studio

But why does this persist even when we desire to embrace our bodies? It’s because we’ve unknowingly conditioned ourselves through our own words. The power of language is profound. When we continually speak negatively about our bodies, we reinforce pessimistic beliefs about ourselves and inadvertently convey to the world that we’re not content as we are.

The narrative of creation in the Bible reveals that God brought the world into existence using His words. He spoke the heavens, the earth, and everything in them into being. As humans created in the image and likeness of God, we have the power to shape reality with our words. Positive words generate a positive reality, while negative words give birth to a negative one.

For instance, when we repeatedly tell ourselves that we’re ugly, unintelligent, or worthless, we gradually begin to accept these falsehoods as truths. In stark contrast, affirming our beauty, intelligence, and self-worth eventually makes these affirmations our reality. Such is the incredible power of words.

Consider these additional insights on the transformative potential of our words:

1. The Brain Prefers Familiarity Our brains tend to gravitate towards the familiar. Repeated experiences and thoughts become etched in our minds. Continuously berating ourselves as unattractive or possessing unappealing bodies conditions our brains to accept these notions as reality. Even when we present ourselves well, we’re inclined to focus on our perceived flaws. The key is to be mindful of the words we choose to describe ourselves. Speaking positively about ourselves retrains our brains to recognize our inherent beauty and worth, ultimately fostering a more positive self-image and a happier life.

Photo by Eric W

2. We Attract What We Concentrate On When we obsess about our supposed physical shortcomings, our brains direct us to seek out and emphasize these aspects, even against our conscious wishes. Repeated thoughts create new neural pathways, making it easier to revisit these thoughts in the future. Hence, we must exercise caution in our thoughts and words, especially when it pertains to our self-concept. Proverbs 4:23 advises us to “guard our hearts with all diligence, for out of them flow the issues of life.” Unbeknownst to us, much of our insecurity stems from the comparisons we make with others.

3. The Power of Life and Death in the Tongue Proverbs 18:21 states, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.” Our words possess the ability to build up or tear down, both in our lives and the lives of others. Negative self-talk generates pessimistic beliefs and expectations, often resulting in a bleak self-image that hinders our pursuit of personal goals and a fulfilling life. Conversely, affirmations such as “I am” can shape our reality, turning our words into powerful agents of transformation.