Do You Love Yourself, Flaws and All?


The other day I was listening to a teaching from my good buddy Mark Wallace. He told a story about an experiment where people were asked to describe themselves to a criminal sketch artist. Then, those same folks were also described to the sketch artist by their friends. Amazingly, the friends’ description of the person looked much more like the person than their own description! Why, you ask? Because when people described themselves they overly focused on their perceived flaws, resulting in an image not even close to how they really looked. So the question that begs is, do you love yourself, flaws and all?

People tend to be brutal in their own estimation of themselves. They have been caught up in a culture that falsely represents who people are and as such have been talked into focusing on everything they are not instead of everything they truly are. They have forgone any recognition of all that makes them unique and wonderful in favor of an obsession with having to be something the world deems acceptable or beautiful or admirable. They magnify their “wrong behaviors” out of all proportion in comparison to their “right behaviors.”  In short, they have believed lies and accusations concerning themselves; failed to recognize them as such, and landed at a place where they don’t even like themselves much less love themselves.

The root of this dilemma stems back as far as there have been people to trip up. The enemy of mankind knows that if you can divide people against themselves, they become weak and easy to defeat. If you can progress deep enough into their psyche they eventually become their own worst enemy hurling internal insults at their own selves and perpetually shaming themselves, the end point of which is self-loathing and a complete loss of self-respect. Oh no-one is going to tell you this, much less admit it to themselves. But, it is a distinct reality of the human condition. There’s so little love in the world because people don’t even love themselves. Or worse, love does not prevail because people have a distorted view of what love is. They think love and self-respect accompany financial success or having a “perfect” body, marrying the right person or getting into the right school. They wrongly assign love worthy acts as something they must do or be in order to be worthy of love. And, in never being able to fully realize those love worthy acts or become, by their good behavior, love worthy people, they eek out love to themselves as if it was a scarce commodity.

Loving yourself is a decision you make about yourself in the same way it is a decision you make about other people. When you have a new baby, no-one has to remind you to love them. When you meet a potential life partner, though you hardly recognize it, you have made a conscious decision to love that person. You didn’t “fall” in love, you chose love based upon certain criteria you already decided. In the same way, you make a decision to love yourself! You cannot say, as some falsely report, that you choose love as long as the behaviors are right or the conditions are right or the time is right. Love, real love, exists above behaviors. It is not fleeting, flitting around based on whether or not the sun is out or the vibe feels good or if that certain someone says the right things. Love is so much bigger and so much more important than that! Love is the most necessary ingredient of the human condition and you need it more than anything else you could ever need!

Do you know where I learned this? I learned it from God. God loves me unconditionally, past, present and future. He loved me into finally loving myself. He continues to love me despite me and for that I am forever grateful. He taught me that love isn’t something you reserve for good behavior, but rather something you decide to do no matter what. Love does not change and alter itself according to the ebb and flow of life. It is not dependent upon conditions. It is persistent and determined and never ending. It is to be freely and liberally shared with others. In so doing, it finally persuades your stubborn heart to apply it to yourself; to love yourself!

You must learn to love yourself, not in a conceited or inflated way, but in the true depths of your being. You decide to love yourself, not because you are so good or so righteous or somehow have achieved perfection, but rather because you are imperfect and not always good and maybe seldom of your own works, righteous. You love yourself despite your frail humanity and weakness. You love yourself even when you falter and fail. You love yourself because your Father in heaven loves you and wants nothing less for you…ever!

You would be surprised to find that the weird stuff you do and think is the exact same weird stuff we all do and think. We are all in this thing together. Your secret sins are no worse than my secret sins. Your propensity towards error is no greater than my propensity towards error. We are all people, wonderfully flawed and unique, seeking in unending revolutions, endless expressions of love. Be yourself! Express yourself. Love yourself, not because you deserve it but rather because you need it. No-one is worthy of love as love chooses its object first and not after.

Decide today to stop entertaining the accusations about everything you are not. Stop focusing in on what isn’t right about you or what things you foolishly have concluded need revision. Instead embrace who you are; who God made YOU to be and give every bit of that loveliness to a love starved and dying world. You are a wonderful, unique masterpiece formed, made and created by God to help other people love themselves too!

Oh my friends, God is love…

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…

Do You Approve…of Yourself?


226ASP6179944780The world we live in is an approval machine! From birth forward we were all taught suggested behaviors, traits, personality types to help us gain the approval of others. As we matured, we started getting additional messages from the ‘system of things’ on how to continue garnering approval. I suppose it makes sense, in some respects, that if you are going to live in a society then you have to abide by certain societal expectations to be accepted. You generally have to wear clothes and you’re not allowed to pick your nose in public, for example. On the surface, it doesn’t seem like there’s anything wrong with wanting to be accepted. I mean who doesn’t like receiving approval from others? But, there’s something infinitely more important that being approved by others and that is being approved of yourself. Do you approve of yourself? That’s a question worth answering!

You being the only you, you have; begs the question, do you like yourself? I’m not talking about publicly where we’ve all been taught to develop a cheery public persona. I’m talking about you, home alone, staring in that mirror. Do you love and accept how that guy or gal acts? Or are you pissed at that image for its apparent failure to live up to…wait for it…what everyone else thinks he or she should do?

You may not realize it, but all of us were conditioned very early on to seek the approval of our parents. It wasn’t such a bad idea because we were children and didn’t have the wherewithal to make good choices yet. Some parents gave you unconditional approval. Some parents provided you with conditional approval or said another way, “If you obey what I say, you are good. If you disobey what I say, you are bad!” Some parents gave you very little or no approval no matter what you did. And finally, some parents were just not there! If you were unfortunate enough not to get the unconditional love parents, as many people were, then you learned very early on in life that you needed other people’s approval to be okay. Then your life mission became, what do I need to do to be approved by others?

So, here’s the rub. Assuming you are an adult now, you have to learn to get approval from that person staring back from the glass:

The Man in the Glass

When you get what you want in your struggle for self
And the world makes you king for a day
Just go to the mirror and look at yourself
And see what that man has to say.

For it isn’t your father, or mother, or wife
Whose judgment upon you must pass
The fellow whose verdict counts most in your life
Is the one staring back from the glass.

He’s the fellow to please – never mind all the rest
For he’s with you, clear to the end
And you’ve passed your most difficult, dangerous test
If the man in the glass is your friend.

You may fool the whole world down the pathway of years
And get pats on the back as you pass
But your final reward will be heartache and tears
If you’ve cheated the man in the glass.

~ Peter Dale Wimbrow Sr.

You see, us humans are a peculiar breed. We all have our own weirdness, quirks and undesirable characteristics. We all make mistakes. We’ve all zigged when we should have zagged! We are all imperfect and have all been broken in some respect. The trouble is we don’t want anyone to know it. So we parade around in our masks literally hating the person we are or have become. Our love and acceptance of ourselves is conditional and we don’t meet the conditions. It may have worked to shape your behavior when you were five, but it doesn’t work now!

You have to get to the place where you approve of you, no matter what. “He’s the fellow to please – never mind all the rest, for he’s with you, clear to the end. And you’ve passed your most difficult, dangerous test, if the man in the glass is your friend.” Make your mind, your friend!

Now track with me here for a minute… Let’s say you’ve done some pretty gnarly deeds. Let’s imagine you’ve hurt people in catastrophic ways. Or maybe you just haven’t lived up to what you know in your heart you should be. In any case and in every case, you don’t have a snowball’s chance in hell of ever doing better or being better or getting better if you don’t love that person in the mirror. No one beats themselves into becoming something admirable. Instead, self loathing and self hate only issue in more awful results. The past is passed and cannot exist in the present unless you make it so (including your upbringing). What is in the present is you, with all of your faults and failings and human frailties. Love that guy anyway! Love that gal anyway! Approve of yourself anyway!

You just make the decision that you are worth something. You matter. You do have value. You’re not of value because you do everything right. You have value because you are a living, breathing human being, formed and made by God Himself.

Step out of the ‘wheel of things’ and finally recognize that you don’t need other people’s approval to be okay. Stop masquerading, it’s exhausting. Cease changing colors to match the whims and fancies of every person you meet. Do you, be you in all of the glorious you, you can possibly be. The world doesn’t need another me, one is enough ;-). What the world needs is you; the real you; the true you; and nothing but the YOU!

Just some good thoughts…