Okay, here’s the truth: February has been an emotionally exhausting month. While it may be the shortest month of all, it seemed to drag out in slow motion. At times, I felt as though I was regressing into unhealthy thought patterns that I thought were behind me. Primarily, I allowed myself to fall into the trap of believing lies about myself that trapped me in a box of fear and insecurity.
The lies said I wasn’t enough, I was useless, and that I was always an afterthought to the people I love.
I didn’t want to write. I didn’t want to let anyone close to the intimate and vulnerable thoughts of my heart. I didn’t think I had anything to say that anyone would want to hear. I went through a period where I felt so weak and alone (which wasn’t true!).
However, as I sit here gazing at the trees outside my window, hopefully on the other side of the struggle (for now), I feel a new clarity. I am reminded that moments of weakness, despair, and pain are not regression. Failing and struggling to love myself 24/7 does not make me a worse persons than I was, say, two months ago.
We put so much pressure on ourselves to show up as strong and put together ALL. THE. TIME. But guess what!? I am human, I am weak. Honestly, so are you.
I was so bogged down, struggling with all of the lies I was believing about myself, that it wasn’t until a friend reached out to ask how I was, that everything I was feeling came pouring out. That friend, seeing my struggle, then took the time to take me to brunch and spend time with me. She listened, cared, took time for me, and poured into me. A simple loving gesture helped me shift my head space, and the lies began to melt away.
You guys, the points that I am trying to push today are:
- Struggling, failing, and having a hard time loving yourself does not make you a worse person than when you felt “strong” and good about yourself.
I know what a struggle truly loving and accepting yourself as you are can be. Don’t beat yourself up when you have a hard time with it. However, don’t ever give up on it either, okay? The lies about yourself that creep in and hold you back, are just that: lies. Something that I have found helpful when I begin believing that I am not enough, is refusing to speak negatively.
I am a firm believer that our words have power, as it says in Proverbs, “Gentle words bring life and health; a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit” (15:4), “Kind words are like honey – sweet to the soul and healthy for the body” (16:24), and “A person’s words can be life-giving water; words of true wisdom are as refreshing as a bubbling brook” (18:4). What we speak has influence in our life, so when we consciously cut out negative talk we will see a shift in our lives, starting with our thinking and flowing out into everything else.
2. My second point is to be the person to reach out to those around you. Make others feel seen, appreciated, and loved. Check in with the people in your life to genuinely see how they are doing, care about what is going on in their life.
This is something that I am actively challenging myself to improve on. I truly want to love, encourage, and support the people I have in my life! I do not want anyone to feel over-looked. I desire for every person to see the absolutely beautiful creation that they are. You are a beautiful and unique being that has something no one else has – don’t hide who you are.
I guess, I simply want to remind everyone to openly appreciate people in their lives. This is specifically a reminder to myself.
We need to be supporters and encouragers. We need to be the biggest fan of the people around us. We need to cheer them on and champion them. We also need to be the ones helping them away from negative or bad life-situations. We need to care enough to speak truth into their lives, even if the conversation is hard, do it. Love them enough to speak your concerns with love. REMEMBER to do it with love and OUT of love (Ephesians 4:15).
We are called to be a community. We are all different parts of the same body, we all have our own gifts and talents. In order to flourish as a body, the individuals need to be seen and encouraged to thrive in their giftings so that they can contribute to a healthy thriving body. I could go on and on here about 1 Corinthians 12, however all I will put here are these verses, “so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honoured, ever part rejoices with it” (1 Corinthians 12: 25-26).
We live in a society that preaches self-love, which is awesome! Self-love is beyond important, but I do not believe that we are capable of becoming our best selves all on our own. Which is why it is so important for us to be the type of people that lift each other up, and to love and empower others. If someone is struggling or feeling weak, we need to be there to see if they need help getting back up when life knocks them down.
So, this week I want to leave you with a challenge. First, Stop speaking negatively. Second, I want you to reach out to a friend, think about how you can make someone feel seen, loved, and appreciated this week, or even today.