This is part of a collection of stories that are about Jesus, my life and millions of ways that God used to help me find myself and heal from my wounds. 3/
Let me ask you this simple question - what words define you?
Words have a strong ability to convey a variety of emotions. They can bring healing, encouragement, affirmation. They can cause abuse, destruction and ruin. Strung together they evoke stunning emotions and yet also leave a wake of destruction behind reminding us that the words we speak, even words that we speak to ourselves, they matter deeply.
I am so hard on myself. Like in an extremely unhealthy way. I am critical of how I look, how I speak, how I laugh, what I do, what I say. My list of words that I would use to define myself are riddled with negative, condescending aspects of my life. I am my biggest (and worst) critic. I collect harsh words because I often see past the good in myself, focusing on the critical. All of those words are wrapped with a nice bow that says - I am not good enough.
(Full transparency - even as I type this, a flash of comparison as an image of a friends social media flickered through my brain... I am not as good as her, she uses less harsh words, her life must be perfect compared to my chaos, she has more followers, she is better, I am useless).
SO MUCH to unpack emotionally. The why in which I do this is extremely personal drenched in trauma that we can talk about over coffee if you ever want to hear the whole story, but for now know that it has followed me for years. BUT here is the most odd thing - one of my greatest strengths (through the Strength Finder assessment) is that I am highly positive. It is actually #3 of 34 identifiable strength. THREE!!!
Why then is negativity DRENCH my thoughts about myself? Simple. I have failed to nurture the strengths that are natural in my life.
The most beautiful book on healing I have ever read is a book by Aundi Kolber called Try Softer. Through it I have learned and continue to learn to try to be softer with myself, yet still acknowledging those circumstances that brought me to the point of consideration to be softer with myself. The years of toxic stress that I have endured - no shame in survival - have taken a deep toll on the damage done to my soul and body manifesting itself in my own self doubt and sabotage.
The beauty of stepping back, walking graciously through healing, allowing yourself to truly evaluate your strengths and nurture them, helps in shifting perspective and creating new habits. The words I speak over myself may be a daily battle, but I am nurturing the positivity in my soul to help bring me back to a place of natural equilibrium in my in order to heal and grow.
I know I am not the only one who talks negatively about themselves or to themselves. Have you caught yourself running negative thoughts through your mind, filling your soul - trying to make it your identity? Do you feel that you have become those words that you repeat to yourself? Since shifting and trying to work towards a positive mindset - especially about myself, I have began to ask myself a series of questions when I am trying to chase away negative words that flood my mind and try to fill the deepest places in my soul.
1. Is this statement true? What words or affirmations remind me of who I truly am? When the evasive thoughts start filling your mind or come out of your mouth - catch them, acknowledge them and ask yourself - what is real? Reframe the statement in a positivity and truth.
2. Why are you choosing to tear yourself down? Why are you making comments about yourself that are not true? Why are you being hard so hard on yourself? We are hard on ourselves because we know our potential and our greatness, but we all encounter hard things that drive us deep into sadness, depression, exhaustion. Some we can control, some we cannot. I spent 1 year battling an illness that lead to weight gain. I could not change my health circumstance, I could not stop the weight gain, I had to allow doctors time to figure out what was going on and fight for healing once they did. When I finally had answers, I wanted immediate changes. But you know what? That was illogical. It took a year to gain the weight, it was going to be an uphill climb to get it off. I am currently in the throws of making changes, yet the exhaustion sets in and I begin to tear myself down. Collecting words that only hurt. This question as to why jolts me back to reality - I am on a journey and I am healing.
3. Would you say that to a friend? Simple. Would you tell talk to your friend that way? One of the most powerful things that someone said to me when I spoke poorly about myself was, "stop, please don't talk bad about my friend Summer." That hit me. We need to stop speaking to ourselves in a way that we would not say to our friends. Truthful words are so different than harsh words. Truthful words help us grow, harsh words tear us down. Speak words of truth and allow growth to flourish. Give yourself grace.
START COLLECTING POSITIVE WORDS. Words that encourage, life you up and drive you towards positivity.
I have learned that I do not need to hustle for my worthiness. It is a slow build daily towards resilience within myself. To not allow the words that I feel negatively about myself to become words that are true in my life simply because I repeat them to myself on a regular basis. I have learned to examine the hurts that forced me into a state of viewing myself with such negativity - even when positivity has always been such a massive part of me. Learning that softer language with myself, seeing the positive when all I feel is negative.
DEFINE YOURSELF as the beautiful person that you were created to be - unique, growing, learning, developing, changing, precious.