How do you cope when you’re depressed and sad because you feel ugly and unloved? Maybe you feel ugly because someone called you a bad name. Maybe you feel unlovable because of a breakup or divorce. Maybe you feel worthless because you aren’t as pretty or skinny as your sister, best friend, or neighbor.
Who do you turn to when you feel ugly and unloved? More importantly, who is always gazing at you with more love, compassion, acceptance, peace, joy, and forgiveness than you can imagine? Stick with me. I’ll tell you what to do when you feel ugly and unloved.
“No matter what you look like, you will have ‘ugly days,’” I wrote on What to Do When You Feel Ugly and Sad. “We all do – but we don’t have to let our ugly feelings make us sad! Maybe you feel like an ugly person because of a physical abnormality or disease that involves your skin, limbs, or facial expression. Maybe you feel bad about yourself because you asked someone “Am I ugly?” and they said you’re not ugly but you are fat (that happened to me! I was 10, and back then I had no idea what to do about feeling ugly and sad). Or maybe you constantly compare yourself to your beautiful sister or gorgeous girlfriend, and that makes you feel like an ugly and unlovable person.”
Remember that “ugly and unloved” days are part of being human. We go through low, worthless, unworthy feelings all the time — which is why I keep writing articles like How to Stop Feeling Unlovable After a Breakup.
You can’t avoid those low days of being in the dumps, but you don’t have to feel bad about yourself for longer than a few seconds! You can’t avoid toxic criticism, difficult breakups, negative feedback, mean comments, deliberate or perceived slights, or even breakups and divorces that come out of nowhere. You can, however, avoid the darkness that settles in your body and mind! You do not have to live with feelings of ugliness and unworthiness…unless you choose to.
3 Things to Remember When You Feel Ugly and Unloved
This blog post is part of my She Blossoms Through the Bible project; I’m writing an article for every chapter in every book of Scripture! I started with Genesis, and am now three chapters away from finishing Exodus.
I have to confess that writing about Exodus 38 — today’s She Blossoms article — isn’t easy. In fact, I’ve been putting it off for a couple of days. This chapter describes how Bezalel designed the tabernacle, altar of burnt offering, and courtyard of God’s tabernacle. This isn’t the first description that Moses brought God while the Israelites were camped at the base of Mount Sinai…and it won’t be the last. It’s not exactly “She Blossoms” material. These tabernacle-building articles would be well-suited to a construction blog, artist’s website, or even a pastor’s online church.
But then I realized something. Looking at the design and construction of God’s tabernacle — His dwelling place — is exactly what we need to do when we feel ugly and unloved.
1. Your body is a complex, intricately designed, amazing creation
Unless you’re an artist, carpenter or artisan of some type, the description of the tabernacle in Exodus is tough reading! Check this out: “The hangings on the south side of the courtyard were of finely spun linen, 150 feet long, including their twenty posts and their twenty bronze bases, with silver hooks and silver bands for the posts. The hangings on the north side were also 150 feet long, including their twenty posts and twenty bronze bases. The hooks and bands of the posts were silver. The hangings on the west side were 75 feet long, including their ten posts and their ten bases, with silver hooks and silver bands for the posts. And for the east side toward the sunrise, 75 feet long, the hangings on one side of the gate were 22½ feet, including their three posts and their three bases.” – Exodus 38:9-14.
You are that tabernacle! The tabernacle in Exodus 38 and other chapters is your body. God’s dwelling place in Exodus included gold, silver, bronze and other precious metals. The draperies and veil was made of beautiful embroidered cloth, tinkly bells, and finely spun linens. The altar, the lampstand, the cherubim, the mercy seat — God’s dwelling place was stunning. It was expensive, too! Priceless, precious, and predestined by God. Just like you. Read If You Knew What God Knows About Your Body – Blossom Tip 80 for an idea of how intricately created you are. God designed you to be specifically, uniquely, intricately you — just like He designed the tabernacle in Exodus.
2. You are more than your body
God’s tabernacle in Exodus 38 wasn’t just a building. It was the portable tent, in fact, that the Israelites took with them as they wandered the desert for forty years. God’s tabernacle wasn’t just a church, temple, or priests’ meeting place…it was God’s dwelling. And why did He create it? So He could travel with the Israelites as they moved from place to place. It was a portable tabernacle that lived in the center of the Israelites’ camp. God wanted to be in the middle of their lives, a physical presence, part of everything they did and said. And He wanted to be a presence of joy, love, beauty, and awe.
When you feel ugly and unloved, what do you tell yourself? Maybe you tell yourself how worthless and unlovable you are. Or maybe you’re like me, and you don’t say mean things to yourself but deep down you remember being told how bad you are. Maybe your feelings of worthlessness, shame, guilt and self-hatred go so deep you don’t even know where they came from. The bad news is that it’s really hard to face and deal with feelings of being ugly and unloved. Searching the internet for tips on how to love yourself when you don’t feel good enough won’t solve your problem. The good news is that healing a terrible self-image and negative self-identity is a journey towards joy, blessing, and peace.
3. You can live like you really are God’s dwelling place
One of the many things I wondered while reading about Moses, God’s tabernacle in the desert, and Bezalel’s design and construction is how long it took. It must have taken weeks — if not months — to build the altar, ark of the covenant, lampstands, and all the furnishings. The tabernacle involved metalwork, embroidery, sewing, hammering, sawing and tanning of animal hides. It had to have taken a long time for Bezalel to create God’s dwelling place, especially since he mostly worked along. He had some artists, craftsmen, and women who helped him…but essentially he was a one-man show.
Give yourself time to learn healthy ways to cope with feeling ugly and unloved. I’m almost 50 years old; it has taken me years to deeply know who I am in God and blossom into who He created me to be. This week I learned that I — as a spiritually healthy woman (or a Holy Girl) — can receive criticism and negative feedback without falling into a pit of despair. Knowing Jesus and living out of the Spirit has changed how I see myself, the world, other people, and everything about life. But it has taken time and attention. A relationship with God is like a little seed that needs to be planted and nurtured. It eventually sprouts and blossoms, but only if it is tended with love and care.
When you have a growing relationship with God, you realize that it’s no longer about figuring out what to do when you feel ugly and unloved…it simply becomes looking at God and seeing that He has been gazing down at you the whole time.
What do you think about these things to remember when you feel ugly and unloved? Your comments — big and little — are welcome below.
With His love,
P.S. If you’re struggling with a low self-image, read What to Do When You Feel Ugly and Sad.