Three factors are essential to a healthy self-image.

Our mental image of ourselves is paramount for ourselves, our relationships, our ability to function as healthy adults in this life. Three factors are essential to a healthy self-image. They are:

• A sense of belonging: (I am loved). All humans need to know that they are loved and that they themselves love in return. When the lack of love is paramount in one’s life, people will question themselves. Their sense of belonging or lack thereof, will affect their self-image. The need - the knowing that we are loved is essential to a healthy self-image, and thus it leads to the building of healthy relationships.

• A sense of worth and value (I am somebody). In addition to belonging, there must come the sense of worth in a person’s life. We all must feel that we can contribute something worthwhile in life. Again, when this is missing in life there is the sense of failure that begins to creep in. Remember that no one is a failure who keeps trying. There is a difference between failure and failing. We all will fail in something, but failure is when we refuse to get up after being knocked down!

• A sense of competence (I can do/cope). The last factor is the ability to cope with what life throws at us. We call these coping skills. How do we handle life’s problems? The Bible teaches us how to deal with this life. The greatest coping skill that is available is the Christian life. Paul, the apostle, says, “I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13).

Paul’s strength can be our strength when our lives are lived for Christ.

We are who we think we are.

“For as a man thinks within himself so he is.” (Proverbs 23:7).

Michael Harmon is the minister of the Augusta Church of Christ.