Be Good to Yourself…


shutterstock_1392252401Recently, while enjoying a glorious weekend away playing golf in Palm Springs during my first ever men’s trip, I had an astounding epiphany. On the inside, in the quiet place where nobody goes but you, you are having a relationship with yourself. I know it sounds weird, but your capacity to think and consider means the ability to draw conclusions about yourself, both good and bad. You weigh evidence, listen to people’s opinions, estimate your place in the world, evaluate your own behaviors and actions and finally arrive at some end point wherewith you consider your own worth and value. Maybe it is better described as your self-image. But, no matter how you get there, you are making decisions about how you should treat yourself, what you should say to yourself and what it is you deserve from yourself. Ultimately, you are choosing how you should interact with yourself. And in that vein, from personal experience and a multitude of interactions with other people, I’m guessing those interactions are not always good. In fact, if someone could actually hear your private thoughts, I think it is safe to say you are saying anything but good things to yourself. Oh my friends, you need to be good to yourself.

How could a man or a woman get to the place where they are treating their own selves poorly? Having only one precious life and one shot at this thing, how does a person become convinced to function as their own worst enemy? What must take place in our minds day after day, that leads us to the place where we are at odds with our own selves; where we need constant validation and affirmations; where we cannot trust own assertions and opinions about important things? How do we sink to the low places whereby every negative, outside opinion concerning ourselves sends us reeling into self-doubt and second guessing? It is not just how life is and everybody doesn’t do it to the same degree. As crazy as it seems, we are doing it to our own selves. We are actively opposing our own best interests. Every parent learns eventually that they have to love the negative behaviors out of their children rather than attempting to beat it out of them with threats and punishment. Yet, here we are as adults approaching ourselves with contempt and even disgust for who we are or for what we have done or maybe not done. Something has gone awry in our thought processes. Something or someone has worked us over. Something or someone has broken us down inside, in our own hearts and in our minds. We have listened to and considered influences outside of ourselves and have drawn conclusions that guarantee our perpetual defeat. We need to learn or relearn how to be good to ourselves.

It’s interesting to think that children do not naturally draw negative conclusions about themselves, that is until they learn to do so. In fact, children don’t give much thought concerning themselves at all. They just move along nicely, anxious to get past troubles and return to enjoying life. It is not until they get much older that they learn to chastise themselves and beat themselves up. If you think about it logically, what value is there in thinking poorly about yourself? When you chastise and berate yourself, who is the winner? Has any of your self loathing ever led you to a better place? Does constant criticism and fault finding lead anyone to a better place? Further, does mental self-abuse or self-torture change any of the mistakes you may have made or erase painful memories? Yet here we are mature adults continuing to play in a game we cannot win, doing things that only promise us defeat. These issues are indeed part of the human condition, but they are not inherent in human beings. We all have the ability to change our opinions of ourselves and we all have the right to stand up for ourselves. Our failure is not in failing to think positively, but instead failing to recognize what is really going on. We have become blinded to our own reality by habituation and repetition. Something isn’t right or true because you have done it a lot. Your opinion of yourself may have been forged over decades of time, but that doesn’t make it a reality unless you have concluded it so. Thus your job, my job is to gain some clarity about what is going on and make the necessary changes. You have to learn to be good to yourself in the same way you know to be good to someone else whose struggles you are trying to alleviate.

Being good to yourself means being willing to give yourself a break. If you listen to the devil long enough, you will end up thinking you are more evil than he is. He will drive your mistakes, your shortcomings down your throat until you arrive at the place he chooses. Then, your days will be spent judging yourself and confirming his negativity until you die. Well, why sit we here until we die? For God’s sake, are you really that bad? Are you truly the personification of evil because you have a few areas where you fall short? Isn’t it even possible that you continue to fall short because of what it is you are thinking about yourself? Maybe, just maybe you are bringing the trouble on your own self because of how you have been “trained” to think. I can assure you that the things you do are what most people do and we aren’t all that dissimilar at all. We are human beings and at best limited in our scope and understanding. And to take it step further, maybe the things you think are wrong with you aren’t wrong with you at all. Maybe you are a human being with all of the myriad thoughts and feelings that accompany being a human. Maybe you are functioning just as God intended for you to function requiring some adjustments that make sense as you learn and as you grow. My friends, being a human being means you have to learn to forgive yourself. It means you have to learn how to love yourself and continue to love yourself. It means you have to get past this preoccupation with your self and your sins and just accept what God did for you in the life of His son. You will never overcome the weaknesses of your humanity on your own, so you may as well cut yourself some slack along the way. The devil is a liar. Learn to think properly concerning yourself. Make your mind your friend. Speak to yourself like you would speak to your friend whom you love. Be kind to yourself. Love your self. Offer yourself some compassion and some empathy. Lord knows it’s hard enough to be a human without adding brutal scourging towards your own self. And most importantly, stop judging yourself. Negative self-judgment is the entire basis on which all self deprecation; all internal defeat is built. And negative self-judgment is the one thing God did away with in Christ Jesus. (That’s how big it is!) Refusing to judge yourself is as simple as refusing to continue considering all that appears wrong with you and choosing instead to consider all that is right with you; whom God made you to be; what God did for you that you could never do for yourself! Self judgment comes from the accuser and as such must be discarded at every turn.

At the end of the day, you only have one life to figure some things out. If your days have been less than the best, chances are you are not thinking properly about yourself. Chances are you are entertaining evil conclusions about yourself that did not originate with yourself. Chances are you have been deceived. Well, not to worry. You always have the opportunity to turn things around and our great God will help you to do so. Get off your own back. Give yourself a break. Forgive yourself for being so negative and get back on the path of life. Decide today to be good to yourself and to be kind in your dealings with yourself. Be on your own side for a change and see how much sweeter your life will become. Let God do the hard stuff. Be good to yourself…

Just some good thoughts…

Self Talk…


Human beings, unlike any other creature, contain this wonderful capacity to say things to themselves. It’s called self-talk. Inside, where no one else can hear, you can engage in your own internal dialogue whereby you say things to yourself, about yourself, concerning yourself. We all do it. The question is, what sort of things are you saying to yourself? How are you treating yourself? Are you being kind and patient with yourself or do you scold yourself for your shortcomings? Do you allow yourself the privilege to be human or are you harsh and overly critical with yourself? It’s time for some real honesty about the relationship you have been having with yourself! How is your self talk?

As you move about in the world, chances are you treat people the way you have been treating yourself. If you find yourself being critical of everyone and everything, it is a sure fire indicator that you have been levying that same criticism against yourself. If you have been angry and full of frustration towards others, you must be angry and frustrated with yourself. All of those emotions and negative feelings got their start somewhere. Their origin can be found within. Similarly, you cannot really love other people until you love yourself. You cannot freely forgive other people without first extending that forgiveness inward. Your behaviors and actions towards others are always a direct reflection of what is going inside you. As crazy as it may sound, you are literally in a relationship with yourself. You aren’t just you acting, absent anything going on inside of you. And, like any relationship, it is either maintained or damaged by how you communicate; by what you say. What is it that you are saying?

There is absolutely nothing positive that can come out of berating and chastising yourself. It just doesn’t work. Who do you know that got any better as a result of being severely castigated and rebuked? Sure, we all need correction at times, but hurling insults towards yourself and outlining, in order, all that is wrong with yourself is a recipe for failure. If you chew yourself up and spit yourself out, who is left behind to pick up the pieces? If you insist on opposing your own self, who is left over to fight for you? In the final analysis it is aberrant behavior and it comes forth from evil. Every single animal in the animal kingdom knows to fight for itself and protect itself. Animals do not work against their own best interests, but people do. But, when people do it, it is unnatural. Something, somewhere has gotten to you. Something has been working to turn you against yourself. Once you finally figure that one out, you have a chance to change it. Here is a welcome newsflash – every wrong thing you have ever done; every mistake you have ever made; every hurt you have ever caused; every dum dum thing you ever got caught up in, happened because of evil influences outside of yourself. If there was no such thing as evil, those influences would not exist and absent their influences, you would always make a better choice. Don’t you see it? All of that self torture you have been inflicting upon yourself is wrong on an epic scale. It is not noble or humble or pious, it is evil working within you to defeat you! If God be for you, who can be against you?

You must, in the absolute honesty of your soul, stop doing that to yourself. Stop opposing yourself. Stop speaking and doling out cruelty towards your own self. It is enough to stand against the endless accusations and judgments of the world without cooperating by endorsing and supporting it. I think you wouldn’t dare say the things you say to yourself, to other people. Yet, inside it is just another thought, spoken without any real consideration. Well, consider it! See it for what it really is. Look, if you had a friend whom you loved, what would you say to them? When, in the honesty of their own soul, they shared the negative things they thought about themselves, wouldn’t you challenge them? Wouldn’t you encourage them and point out all their good parts? Wouldn’t you extend your heart to them and offer how much you loved them? Wouldn’t you? Well, what about you and your own heart? Couldn’t you, at least, do that for yourself? Couldn’t you remind yourself that you are a work in progress; a human being with flaws and weaknesses? Couldn’t you give yourself a pass at times? Couldn’t you chalk it up to learning and give yourself a fresh, new start? Of course you could and you most assuredly should? You’ve got enough to stand against and oppose day by day, to try and accomplish it divided against your own self. Can’t you be a little better towards yourself?

One of the greatest defeats a human being will ever suffer is what happens when a person allows themselves to be talked into actively opposing their own best interests, to live in perpetual and active opposition against themselves. Every time you put yourself down; every time you speak harshness to yourself; every time you chastise and berate yourself, you are simply cooperating with your own personal adversary in severely limiting and hurting yourself. You have to learn how to be kind to yourself. You have to be patient with yourself. You have to get off your own back and encourage yourself towards a more worthy endeavor. None of us like it when we blow it, when we fail to measure up, when we fall short of the person we know in our hearts that we really ought to be. None of us. But, if you are honest, you know the only way to do better is to be better and we accomplish that by choosing carefully what we say to ourselves. God is on your side, even when you aren’t! Change what you have been saying to yourself and let God clean up the rest. How has your self talk been going lately? I hope it is full of love…

Just some good thoughts…

 

Why So Damn Critical?


The world, the people in the world, maybe even you have become so damn critical about everyone and everything. All day long it’s what you don’t like, who gets on your nerves, who did you wrong, what you didn’t get, what drives you nuts, what makes your blood boil and on and on and on. It seems the world as we know it has officially gone crazy. That criticism; that ever-present fault finding doesn’t come from nowhere, it comes from you. It is developed within the confines of your own mind and the things you are saying to yourself. Criticism towards others always begins with criticism towards yourself. Why so damn critical? Take a look within…

I think that people being critical of themselves has been around for as long as people have been around. But, it seems someone has added an accelerant; something is fueling the fire. Never before have people had so much access to information. There’s a YouTube video for everything. You can self-diagnose, self-administer, self-study and self-start. You can literally learn anything you want to learn simply by owning a computer and having access to the Internet. However, there is another dark side to the information machine. The same system that offers you help also offers you standards, artificial standards about how you should look, how successful you should be, where you should live, what toys you should own, what credentials you should possess and how popular you should be. The system measures your likes, your comments and defines your level of acceptance in the world. But, like Hollywood it is ultimately an illusion. It’s a false portrayal of life. All day and night you are being fed images of successful people without any real problems or challenges, living a life of luxury, planning trips, having plastic surgeries, being made beautiful and slim and sexy. They are called influencers who influence your life, not to enhance it, but rather to carefully and subtly point out what is wrong with you, what you lack, what you need to be happy, what you need to purchase to achieve your life dreams. Buy the makeup. Buy the weight loss package. Buy the skin cream. Buy the hair restorer. Buy the medicine. Buy something damn it and buy it now. Ultimately it is all a carefully crafted lie.

There is nothing wrong with you! Your life is not defined by how slim you can become. You are not failing at life because you are not yet rich! (Have you ever noticed how we equate a successful life with how much money a person has, despite whatever else they have going on.) You are not weird, odd, a failure, incompetent or dumb. You are not falling behind. (Behind what?) You are allowing the world, the media, other people, to define who you are and what you should be. How could someone else possibly define what your life should be? You are uniquely you! What is important to you may not be important to me. How insane it becomes to try to live your life according to another person’s priorities. How much money you need should be how much money helps you to be happy. I’ve often said that if you had about $50,000 in your checking account (not millions) you would feel like you were rich. Good Lord, how much stuff do you want to buy? Seriously! And, all of this absolute madness concerning being slim. How slim do you have to be? And, what is all the slimness going to get you? What nirvana state accompanies being slim? Look, at the end of the day there is nothing wrong with getting healthy and there is nothing wrong with being wealthy. But, if getting something important to you means sacrificing your own well-being and happiness, it’s not worth it! If the goal you seek does nothing but make you perpetually down on yourself or causes you to  insult yourself in the bathroom mirror, something is amiss. People ultimately do the things that are most important to them. Maybe that goal you never seem to reach really isn’t that important to you after all.

If you really think about it, what happened to you that led to you being so critical concerning yourself? You only have one self with which to live. As far as you are concerned, you are it! What dastardly treachery convinced you not to like your very own self. What evil, rotten being talked you into being in a battle against your own self; your own best interests? Who convinced you that you are not worth anything; that you cannot trust your own judgments; your own opinions? Indeed who? The things you say to yourself that no-one else can hear, ghastly! How quickly and easily you are thrown off center, shook up, full of doubt. Someone doesn’t like your shirt or your shoes and you never wear them again. Someone dismisses your great idea and you cast it aside like a dirty diaper. Can’t you see what is going on? You are being led astray. You are getting perpetually talked out of who you are and what you have to offer the world. You worship and harbor and cleave to your shortcomings and failures like religious relics instead of focusing on all of your excellent parts! You don’t think the people you admire have their share of shortcomings? I can assure you that they have just as many as you do, the only difference being in their refusal to allow them to hold such a place of high esteem!

Do you want to really help the world? Do you want to have a positive impact on people? Do you want to win at life? Then get off your own back! Decide today that you are going to stop saying negative things about yourself to yourself and to other people (even if cloaked in jest). Be kind to yourself. Nurture yourself. Give yourself a break. Learn to love and respect yourself again and see how differently you will feel about other people. People need your love, not a lecture. People need someone who believes in them until they can believe in themselves. Don’t be so damn critical. Be kind and it starts with you…

Just some good thoughts…

Be Good to Yourself…


imagesHave you ever had the experience where you think you are doing something the right way only to find out later that you’re not? We humans get so caught up in our systems about how things work and it seems to get worse as we get older. We already know, ya know? It’s like we stumble into a methodology that worked a couple of times and start replicating it out over a thousand situations. That’s all gravy if you got it right, but if you didn’t…life gets crappy in a hurry.

One such system, well rehearsed and approved as right, is the universally accepted notion that one can improve on his weaknesses and faults by analyzing himself. While ‘thinking’ is always encouraged (another forgotten aspect – smile), I’m talking about that dreadful analysis that only leads to one thing…the conclusion that you are not okay!

To understand this better, you need to understand certain realities. Everything that man does and is, is flawed. Not by design, but by some things you can read about in your Bible sometime. The more closely you inspect man’s accomplishments, even masterpieces, the more imperfection you will discover. In stark contrast, everything that God does is perfect. You can put it under the highest power microscope on Earth and the intricacy and perfection just multiplies. But, I don’t have to tell you that, right? It is literally (and beautifully) all around you!

So, how does this have anything to do with you and what you are doing to yourself? Well, almost everything really. In life you cannot really progress beyond what you think about yourself. If your opinion of yourself is poor, your results in life will be poor. Conversely, if you think highly of yourself and respect yourself, your results will be off the charts. So, what is one of the chief components that faithfully and regularly holds people back? Not being good to one’s self!

You are by your very nature an imperfect being. You were born into this world with imperfection in your blood. You get it? You started out that way! You didn’t start out all rosy and brilliant only later to botch it up with all of your misdeeds. No! You began imperfect and you will remain imperfect until some future day when God sets it all back in order again. This is so vitally important for you to understand. The great Apostle Paul said (by revelation) that he knew that in himself (his physical nature or his body and mind) dwelled no good thing. Nothing, nada, zip! So let me ask you another question. When you dwell on yourself and analyze yourself and deeply probe yourself to learn why you behave the way you do, what are you going to find? No good thing! You are only going to discover your imperfection again and again and again! The old familiar end will be that you are going to conclude that you are not so good; not deserving of good things and basically woe is you. You cannot reach any other conclusion. That old trick has been whooping mankind’s behind since the beginning of time. But, and get this my friends, it is always a trick!

The only way out of your messes is to stop dwelling on your messes! You want to teach a child how to be successful? You cannot persist in his mistakes, but instead capitalize on his accomplishments. Seek out what he does well and laud it to the heavens. Build him up, build him up, build him up until he finally starts to believe he is worth something. Once that’s in him, he is off to the races for success in life. If that works with children, (and believe me it does) then how about with adults? How about using that principle when you are dealing with you? Does that harsh taskmaster referred to as yourself, ever lead you anywhere good? You know it doesn’t! It just makes you feel like sh*t and then you are ripe for the next set of errors.

Getting you to deeply analyze your faults and your failings is the oldest trick in the book. It’s a rabbit hole with no rabbits inside. It’s a black hole of epic proportions that leads surreptitiously to more and more darkness. And, dwelling on the darkness won’t bring forth the light, as I love to say again and again! Now, lest you get all righteous on me here, of course doing “bad” things is wrong. There’s no free pass for hurting and damaging things. But logically, unless you’re planning on doing some evil, I’m assuming your failings are in the past tense. They done already been done and done already got did! So, to stay in that dark place is categorically insane if you’re trying to get to the light.

God’s simple solution to help you out of your “no good thing” state is by giving you an opportunity to get His “every good thing” spirit on the inside. You don’t have to work for it or change for it or become “good” for it. You simply believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and that God raised him from the dead (Romans 10:9-10) and you get it. Probably one of the greatest things God ever did! So profoundly simple, yet missed a lifetime by people. Once you get His spirit on the inside, He makes you every good thing. He does it! His son paid the price for every ‘effed’ up thing you ever did and ever will do. It’s over, you win, you will live forever!

Make up your mind not to spend another millisecond analyzing your imperfections because as long as you have a body, your imperfections will always be right there. Instead, focus on what is the best about you. Focus on who God says you are and not what your old worn out mind says you are! There’s a new road for you to travel on if you decide you want it.

Be good to yourself. Love yourself. Accept yourself. Respect yourself. Focus on all that’s good in you knowing that in your flesh or anyone else’s flesh for that matter, dwells no good thing! Life is too short and fraught with too many dangers for your own mind to be your personal enemy. Become real good to yourself because it is the only way…

Just some “good” thoughts…