change

Why Trying To Change Yourself Never Works

When was the last time you met someone who said, “Um, can you please reject me?  I mean, I really thrive and feel amazing about myself in atmospheres of rejection and hatred.”

Nope, doesn’t happen.  Why?  Because we were made for love.

Just turn on the radio and television for ten minutes to find out what the human heart is searching for.  Our movies are centered around it, our reality shows showcase people fighting for it, and just about every pop star can’t stop singing about it.  The human heart wants to be loved.  In Brain Rules for Baby, Dr. John Medina describes how the ultimate environment for babies to thrive and grow is in a place of love and affection.  That’s right, even science proves that our brains work best when we know that we’re loved.


I’m safe to say that because wounded people wound people, you probably didn’t get the love and affection you needed, regardless of how amazing your parents are.  We’re imperfect beings in an imperfect world, and we pass on whatever has been passed on to us.  When you didn’t get the love you needed, or when it was perverted and cruel, your heart endured emotional trauma. Trauma is anything that has happened where your capacity for pain exceeds your capacity for joy.

If you’re anything like me, you had a lot of trauma according to that definition.

My first memory of life outside of the home was sexual, so every time I looked in the mirror, all I could see were all the horrible things that had been done and said to me.  So to make up for it, I became the queen of perfectionism, attempting to hide the shame of my past behind achievements and a perfected exterior.  But no matter how hard I tried to sweep the pain under the rug, the emptiness was like a monster inside my heart, and I lived every breath to numb and escape life.

Pain was a reality stronger than love, so for years, I tried everything from drugs, alcohol and boys to overachieving, perfectionism, and food.  But no matter what I did to my body, it never permanently satisfied my soul.  In fact, I kept finding myself enslaved to counterfeit affections that simply put a quick bandaid over fatal heart wounds.  I might have found temporary release from a food binge or a drunken stupor, but it never healed my problem.

And my problem was a heart starving for the medicine of unconditional love.

In order to ever find permanent peace and healing, each of us must realize that the drugs, alcohol, food, sex, pornography, perfectionism, overachieving, control, eating disorders, obsessive compulsions, money, and fame we long for will never heal the pain of the past.  These things might keep us distracted from the truth we carry inside, but they will always be temporary solutions to permanent problems.

For years, I felt like a tree whose branches produced baskets of bad fruit.  Every time I tried to get rid of the destructive behaviors (my eating disorder, weight problem, insecurity, self-hatred, anger, control), something would always grow back in its place.  In order for the fruit of my life to change, I had to go after the root.  And the root system needed the unconditional love I was created for.

No matter your religious orientation, I believe and have experienced God as the personification of Unconditional Love.  As amazing as my hubby is, my parents, and friends, they will never be able to fully love me unconditionally.  There’s only one who I believe can do that, and that’s the God who made me.  Unconditional love, at its very essence, means it’s without condition, so you can’t earn it, be good enough for it, perform for it, or lose it.  You have to simply receive it.

Receiving love into the places of my deepest pain and greatest shame healed me in a way that no earthly medicine ever could.  I live my life to abide under the waterfall of affection God has for me–pouring buckets of sticky-sweet unconditional love into the places I believed were unlovable.  But when you’re seen and loved as you are, believe me, you change from the inside-out.

You cannot change yourself.  You can only be loved into wholeness.  And there’s One waiting to do just that.

 

Christa Black is a popular blogger, speaker, and singer-songwriter whose songs have been recorded by multi-platinum-selling artists Jordin Sparks and Michael W. Smith.  She has toured with The Jonas Brothers, Michael W. Smith, and Israel Houghton.  After years of battling depression, addiction, and a chronically broken spirit, Christa was radically shaken by a God who truly loves ugly.  She lives in Nashville, Tennessee, with her husband and son.  God Loves Ugly is her first book and corresponds with her CD, God Loves Ugly. Visit Christa’s site to learn more and read the first chapter! http://christablack.com/book/

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  • http://manishad.wordpress.com/ Manisha

    Beautiful. I thank God for allowing you to giving you the power to write the words that my heart has been trying to say for days. Have a great life!

    • Christa Black

      Thanks Manisha!  When you’ve wanted to kill yourself and finally found peace, you definitely want to share your story.  I’m so glad it resonated with your heart!  Blessings.  xx

      • esheabo

        How did you find God. I relate a lot to this article and I just am perplexed because I to would like to find God.

        • Erinshea1

          I meant to put a question mark after “how did you find God”

  • Nick Vannello

    So, essentially atheists will never change because they don’t hold your belief system?

    What a load of crap. You went from being dependent upon other’s approval of yourself to receiving messages of approval from an invisible man. You didn’t change – you simply found something to give you the message you wanted to hear.

    Get some therapy, grow up and work your way through this. You’re not out of the woods yet. When you can accept yourself for who you are without anyone or anything else’s approval, THEN you’ve changed.

    • Christa Black

      Hey Nick!

      Thanks so much for your opinion and I’m so sorry if I offended you.  My life was a wreck, I wanted to kill myself many times, and the pain of sexual abuse, addictions, depression and substance abuse left me in a cage I couldn’t find my way out of on my own.  I’ve had therapists, psychologists, and nutritionists for years–about 40 hours of help a week while in in patient treatment!  It was incredibly important in the healing process and got me to a point where my addiction was manageable.  But I didn’t want to manage my pain.  I wanted to be free.

      I refused to believe that it was just my lot in life to suffer because bad things had happened to me as a child that were out of my control. When you’re desperate, you’ll try anything.  And believe me, I tried everything!

      The second step of the 12 step program is ‘Came to believe a Power greater than ourselves can restore us to sanity.’  All I know is, it worked.  There was a force and a power that was outside of my ability to love myself.  I tried to love myself–but my attempts to change myself, love myself, and heal myself never worked.  I needed help–I needed something more powerful than what I had received from some of the best doctors in the world.  When you’ve lived in hell and found your way out of it, you definitely believe in what you peddling.

      All I know is, my life is changed.  I’m finally living the peace of freedom I’ve searched for my entire life.  I don’t deal with the hell I used to deal with, so when you look around and see so many in pain around you, you want to help.

      This article was simply my attempt to help.  (:

      Glad you’ve found the freedom, life, and love that I was searching for!  Make sure and give it away to as many people as you can!  The world needs it!

      Blessings,

      xx, Christa Black

    • KateS

       Why are you such an angry person, Nick?

  • Trainermikegbac

    Really? God? Seems weak and delusional to me. Love yourself unconditionally, at least that’s real.

    • Christa Black

      If you have the formula for loving yourself unconditionally, let me know!  I tried everything and couldn’t do it on my own!  

      When you’ve believed you’re unlovable, ugly, and dirty from sexual abuse for most of your life, you need a little help seeing something good within the blackness.  It took someone loving me in the places of my greatest shame to actually break that shame.  

      Glad you’ve found that love in your own life.  Just like I said to Nick, make sure and share that love with as MANY people as you can!  The world is hurting and needs you!  xx, Christa

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Dakota-Wayne/100000773283222 Dakota Wayne

         God does seem dilusional because like the wind we can stay inside and not feel it, but if we go “outside” we can definitely feel it, and then, is when we witness a true and meaningful God. I understand this world is corrupt and makes you wonder about the existance of God. I as a christian wonder what God is doing while people are killed and robbed from and so on. I am not saying this is what God is doing, but its my humble opinion and mean nothing but to share with you what i think. I dont intend to offend you at all and if i do iam sorry.
      I think God sometimes will sit and let things go because he wants people too see how this world is without Him. I am not saying people who arent Christians don’t have morals, I am saying people who want nothing more than too destroy and wreck this world will do so and its up to us to either blame it on God or blame it on man.
      Another thing is that our society focuses on the evil and the problems this worl had WAY to often. I often feel like this world is going to collaps on itsself some times, but when I go look for good news i find it. Lots of it. :) One cannot focus on hisself/herself and make the world a better place for  everyone. One must focus on serving others to make the world a better place.

      • Mike

        When reading my reply, please not I am not the one you replied to, just an atheist giving his view.
        “God does seem dilusional because like the wind we can stay inside and
        not feel it, but if we go “outside” we can definitely feel it, and then,
        is when we witness a true and meaningful God.”
        I agree. By leaving our own reality, and ignoring the lack of evidence for a deity, and evidence against dogma, one may convince themselves that there is a higher power to blame for all that is wrong in this world the creation of it.
        “I understand this world is corrupt and makes you wonder about the existance of God.”
        I can’t answer for the person you replied to, but I seldom wonder about the existence of a deity because I see no logical reason to make such a leap of faith.
        “I am not saying people who arent Christians don’t have morals, I am
        saying people who want nothing more than too destroy and wreck this
        world will do so”
        If you look around, most people trying to destroy this world are doing so “in the name of god”.
         ”its up to us to either blame it on God or blame it
        on man.”
        It would be irresponsible to blame one’s own actions on anyone but them.
        “Another thing is that our society focuses on the evil and the problems
        this world has WAY to often. I sometimes feel like this world is going
        to collaps on itsself, but when I go look for good news i find it.”
        Ignorance is bliss, I guess. But you sort of contradict yourself here:
        “One cannot focus on hisself/herself and make the world a better place
        for  everyone. One must focus on serving others to make the world a
        better place.”

        • Bee

          I’ve always been so confused about Atheist.  How is it, if there were no God there would be no Atheist either?  So is there or isnt there?  Hmmm…enlighten me?

    • Cwspartan


      Love yourself unconditionally, at least that’s real.” It is real because it is biblical

  • Davidhutchison72

    Beautiful article to start the morning. Like crabs trying to get out of a bucket, your critics will always be there trying to pull you back down. Thank you for such an honestly raw song from the heart 

    • Christa Black

      Thanks, David!  

  • Fireflyrider

    I liked the article until you mentioned “God”… I’m happy on my own without people loving me like a pop song or believing in an imaginary being that systematically murders people of earth. That being must be very very loving. You just sounded like a right wing. If you believe in love you will be happy, if you don’t then it doesn’t concern you.

    • Christa Black

      I’m sorry that the god you’ve been exposed to murders people.  That’s definitely not the guy I’m talking about.  The God that I’ve encountered is very different than what organized religion has notoriously portrayed.  In fact, I hated that god, too, and wanted nothing to do with him.  That god liked to tell me what was wrong with me through the cruel lips of his ‘followers.’  But the God I’ve come to know loves to tell me how amazing I am and how much He loves me unconditionally.  

      As far as right wing, I checked and I don’t have any wings back there.  (:

      Have a great day!

      xx, Christa Black

        

    • Cwspartan

      “I’m happy on my own without people loving me” Scientifically that seems contrary to the nature of a humans because we are social animals. Social animals meaning we need each other. I might of interpreted your statement wrong. Rather you meant a mind set, if that is the case then I hope that mind set will carry you far. I for sure need to know that at least someone on this earth cares about me or misses me. At the end of the day I want to share my life (successes, failures, pain, joy, etc.) with others, not by myself. http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/en/david_brooks_the_social_animal.html

  • http://www.suzanne-jones.com/ Suzanne Jones

    With trust in God we must love ourselves before we can expect anyone else to. That which we seek we must first find inside.

    • Christa Black

      Absolutely!  

  • ditzydaizi

    I agree with Nick to a certain point. Everything that your ‘god’ supposedly brought to you was already there, within you.  We look outside for acceptance when people find ‘god’ they think they suddenly have the strength to do it all.  I thank You for finally accepting your soul and its path.  If you still want to call it God, then I say we are each God within.

    • Christa Black

      I wrote a bit more to Nick to hopefully clarify a few things. (

      Pray HUGE blessings for you today, of peace, life, hope, and joy!!!

      XOXO, Christa Black

  • fireontiger

    Agreed, Nick. Why do we need God to make us happy, especially in the face of such astounding evidence contrary to his existence? If that’s what you need to make you happy, more power to you. However, I find the notion that I will never be happy or make positive changes to my life, simply because I choose not to believe in a higher power, highly offensive.

    No disrespect to the author, but I don’t come to this blog to be told that I need to find God to make myself happy and whole. If that’s the brand of self improvement that will be peddled here, perhaps I need to find another resource.

    • KateS

       It’s probably wise to find another source for self-improvement help, especially since you are so highly offended.

      • fireontiger

        I didn’t say I was highly offended by the article; I said that I was offended by the notion that I would not be able to be happy without finding God. I think it’s great that Christa found something to make her life worthwhile – many people search their entire lives and never find anything, which is a real shame.

  • Claire

    Thank you for this article, you are very brave.

    • Christa Black

      Thanks Claire!

      When you’ve been set free, you kinda don’t care who throws stones at you.  (:

      All I can do is love those who throw stones–unconditionally–as I’ve been loved. 

      Blessings!

      xx, Christa Black

      • Bee

        I like the article as well.  I do not know what I believe in and yes its pretty sad.  I believe then I dont.  However, I do know what ever makes you feel free and works, works.  You sound like a great person and Im glad you have overcome all the obstacles that were thrown at you through out the years.  Im sure you know, the fighting will continue and its not over but to be free and then deal with it all gives you the strength needed to prevail.

        Your a courages person posting your thoughts and experiences and I know for a fact theres a few people out there that you have inspired.

  • Edward San Martin

    Thanks Christa!
    I love how God continues to use you to touch the lives of so many! You were a welcome addition to Bethel school of worship this summer. :-D

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Dakota-Wayne/100000773283222 Dakota Wayne

    Loved the article and is very true. I have always done things to fill that “hole” in my life, but it was temporary. I started to pursue God every morning and it has made a such a difference. Thankyou for the article!

    • Christa Black

      Awesome!!!!!

  • http://www.inlpcenter.com/ Marcelina

    Your story is an inspiration  to so many people. I think what many people must remember is that what works for one person may not work for someone else. So, all the critics that say how you helped yourself isn’t the right way to help yourself are just voicing how it doesn’t or didn’t help them To each his or her own… 

  • Khaled

    I agree with every word you said.I had painful experiences from the past that were chasing me all my life.The One thing that helps me to live peacefully is accepting & loving myself Unconditionally.I learned that I should love myself first before I could love anyone else.

  • http://triisne.com/blog/ RahimTSNE

    but if we want the blessing of goodness in our life, we sure need to pretend as exactly as the change what we want and one day the pretension will become the habit, the change, what we initially wanted.

  • http://aaroncouch.me/ Aaron Couch

    Christa,

    You did an amazing job expressing many of my thoughts exactly. I applaud you for writing a topic that few have the “guts” (for lack of better word) to write. So many of my morals and beliefs that I enjoy blogging about simply come from my belief in God, but it seems so many don’t want to read that. Why? Because it’s the REAL source. Instead, we want to find tips, tricks, methods and techniques to fix problems, but like you said, there will always be something else that comes up.

    I would just like to add something that I have the feeling you believe as well, but didn’t put a lot of emphasis on. And that is that we have to LET God into our lives to receive that love. He loves everyone, but that doesn’t mean that everyone will see the affects unless they put Him first in their life. That’s when the changes will be made and their soul will truly be at peace.

    Thanks again for writing this.  :) I look forward to more of your articles!

    • Christa Black

      Absolutely, Aaron!  So true!  

      xx, Christa

  • Vanessa

    Very inspiring. This is just what I needed. Thank you! 

    • Christa Black

      Awesome! 

      xx, Christa

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