As she looked in the mirror and saw the flaws in her body and face she thought to herself “if only”. If only I wasn’t as chunky, if only my eyes were blue and my hair wasn’t starting to turn grey. If only my arms were more fit and my waist was more slim. If only I was smarter and more talented, then maybe, just maybe I would be happier. The critical thoughts hit their mark, making her feel unworthy to do the day ahead, so she fell back into herself and found activities to keep her mind off of what she thought of herself. What she doesn’t realize is the critical thoughts she had for herself are not just hurting her, they are hurting her future self, her family, and the people around her.
What if all of the things she was saying to herself were spoken out loud? What if her teenage daughter overheard her saying these things? What if her husband did? The self criticisms are already screaming at her in her mind and now the people she loves just heard them as well. We are what we choose to be, what we want to believe about ourselves. So if we say we are ugly, then we believe we are. If we say we are not smart, then we believe we are. That doesn’t mean the people around us believe that. What if that teenage daughter thought the world of her mom and looked up to her for how she wants to live her life? What if the husband thinks she is the most beautiful woman in the world and so very smart? And now how he feels about her is thrown back in hi face?
We all have our doubts about ourselves. Things we want to change, things we wish were different. We were made with a purpose though, and those things we want to change and that we want different should not define us. We are our own worst critics. Some ladies were overheard at a restaurant recently talking about an event that happened at their job. One of the ladies was feeling bad about getting upset at a co-worker. Instead of allowing the gal to go further about feeling bad her friends gently reminding her that she is not perfect. That sometimes getting upset needs to happen but it needs to be done respectfully. We are not perfect, which means we need to give ourselves grace.
Some of the best people I know if my life accept who they are, flaws and all and encourage others to do the same. Their lives are not perfect and they are ok with that. I imagine when they look in the mirror they have a different conversation with themselves. I would think they would say things like: “Today is going to be a good day. I will do my best, and I will think the best of others. I will encourage those around me, and I seek out ways to be a blessing to someone I meet. I will love as Christ loves me.” Then they will apply that eyeliner, straighten their outfit and head out into the world. This would be the conversation I would love to have with myself each and every morning. When I look at my family and listen to their conversations, I pray they know they are special. When I have the conversations with myself in the mirror I try and replace the criticisms with affirmations not just for my family, but for myself. How can someone love others when they can’t love themselves?
If only we were kinder to ourselves, then we could be kind to others. If only we saw our bodies as works in progress rather than failures to keep up with what the world says, we would love our rolls, and respect the greys we earned. If only we decided to take care of ourselves spiritually, mentally, emotionally and physically, we would be able to love who we are more, thus making it possible to love others. If only we could be selfless instead of selfish, acknowledging the world doesn’t revolve around us. The “if onlys” could define us or confine us, the choice is ours. What “if onlys” are you facing? What would happen if we encouraged who we are vs. discouraged who we are? The world needs more people who are encouragers, who accept people for who they are. We need families that love each other, and support the differences. We need the love that Christ teaches us in 1John 4:7-11:
Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation of our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. Until next time:
First, know your worth
Second, control your emotions
Third, never settleUnknown