How You Talk About Yourself Matters
It's a terrible feeling to discover that someone close to you has been talking badly about you behind your back. The feeling of betrayal in those moments is enough to take your breath away. We all know that feels like, sadly.
But over time, I've discovered that the person who spends the most time talking trash about me and tearing me down is none other than the same person who I squint at in the morning when I brush my teeth--namely, me.
Debilitating and defeating self-talk is one of the most bruising and awful things that we do to ourselves. It often sounds something like this:
"I'm not good at those kinds of things..."
"This always happens to me..."
"I'm so stupid..."
"Why do I always get myself into these messes...?"
"That's the story of my life: one bad thing after another..."
You can probably come up with a few of your own that you've heard yourself say from time to time. My own list is a lot longer more profane and fairly hurtful. I'm my own worst critic, for sure.
I've been reading a lot of poetry from the great Lebanese poet Khalil Gibran lately. This one struck me today:
You have been told that, even like a chain, you are as weak as your weakest link. This is but half the truth. You are also as strong as your strongest link. To measure you by your smallest deed is to reckon the power of ocean by the frailty of its foam.Jesus often told his followers: "The kingdom of God is within you."
Throughout my life, I've heard that line quoted in sermons and Bible studies and I've kind of relegated it to the mystical and the abstract, but I am beginning to understand that Jesus may have meant this as a concrete, down-to-earth truth.
There is power in us. Holy Spirit of God power. KINGDOM power. And when we continually focus on our weaknesses and frailty we ultimately deny the power within us, we diminish it and extinguish its light.
That's why we need to work at this. We need to work at speaking gently to ourselves. Of giving ourselves a break. We need to learn to believe in the power that God has embedded within us and learn to trust it. "Believing takes practice." Madeline L'Engle once wrote.
So, look at yourself in the mirror today and instead of criticizing yourself for all you are not... lift up your head with the confidence born out of the other-worldly strength flowing through you like electricity. And take these words from Khalil Gibran to heart:
The veil that clouds your eyes shall be lifted by the hands that wove itand the clay that fills your ears shall be pierced by those fingers that kneaded it. And you shall see. And you shall hear.And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.