I work with a lot of people each and every week. Sometimes in worship. Sometimes in meetings. Sometimes in classes. Sometimes in counseling.
One thing I have noticed is how hard it is for people to accept how beloved we are. We can easily judge ourselves and one another. We can easily write the laundry list of all those things we can't do or don't do well, but really struggle to write the list of what we do well.
Self-esteem is an issue for a lot of people, particularly women (though I think the issue is equal for men, only that women are free to articulate that self-esteem is an issue). One thing I have found myself doing more and more is encouraging people to name 10 good things about themselves. I have them take a sheet of paper and number 1-10 and then write 10 good things about themselves.
Surprisingly, everyone struggles. Some folks give one or two, others may make it to 5 or 6 and then almost without fail, they stop. They don't know what else to put. So, I throw out possibilities and tell them to choose those that seem relevant. (intelligent, creative, honest, loyal, persevering, determined, helpful, kind, gracious, merciful, funny, thoughtful, helpful, empathetic, sympathetic, risk taker, joyful, faithful, etc).
Then, typically, I have them number 11-20 and have them do it all over again. Most roll their eyes or groan and look at me like I am the meanest task master ever (which is ok since rumor has it that I am 40 times more demanding than my dad) ;) But they do it. Resentful, but they do it.
Then I have them number 21-30 and write down 10 things they are good at (it can be simple or profound). Laundry. dishes. gardening. cooking. photography. cleaning toilets. mowing the lawn. music. playing an instrument. reading. teaching. learning. biking. skiing. the list goes on.
And then, 31-40. 10 experiences that have helped shaped them. Again this can be simple or profound. This can be places you've traveled. Places you've lived. Being the eldest/youngest/middle child. Cultural heritage. The languages you speak. The schools you've attended. Anything that has shaped you. Accidents. Illnesses. Awards. Anything that has made you into the person you are.
Then if they are really lucky I might have them number another 5-10 and list physical attributes about themselves that they like.
I want people to see how amazing they are. What an incredible package God has helped make them to be. I also want them to have all kinds of affirmations on the ready when those self-defeating and self-deprecating comments come to mind.
So, give it a try. If you're brave, do the whole set!