Speak Better To Yourself

This morning, I spilled ground coffee all over the floor as I sleepily tried to put the container back into the cupboard.  It slipped out of my hands and went flying, spewing coffee everywhere.  

Even though I get up early every morning, I'm not a morning person. So those kinds of accidents in the wee hours can feel tragic.  

Immediately, my mind went to a dark place, and I asked myself, "Why do I always do things like this?" and "What is wrong with me?"  

I also gave voice to some of those thoughts as my wife was helping me to clean up the mess.  "It's only Folgers," she said to me, which was an excellent point, but also one that didn't keep my self-defeating thoughts from racing.  

Afterward, I wondered how quickly those thoughts can become words we say and hear.  And then I wondered what harmful effects those words can have on us over time.  

It also brought to mind the following quote from Melody Beattie that I'd written down a few days ago:  

Listen to yourself talk about other people, about what life is really like, and about what always happens to you. Listen to what you say about what you can and cannot do. What you hear yourself say is what you believe. And that is probably what you are used to perceiving as happening. 

I can't tell you enough how true that quote felt for me.  I'm willing to wager that it resonates with many of us, especially when we experience challenges, make mistakes, say the wrong thing, or make a bad decision.  

Not only do we hear the negative things that we say about ourselves to ourselves, but we also hear the things we say about other people, which can also prove to be self-defeating prophecies when it comes to our relationships. 

Further, when we speak about our lives in demeaning, diminishing, and altogether negative ways, we can all-too-quickly begin to live our lives with a feeling of impending doom, always waiting for "the other shoe to drop," so to speak. 

Far too many of us walk around feeling less than, not capable, prone to mistakes, and waiting for the inevitable next bad thing to happen solely because we've talked ourselves into it.  

The Apostle Paul wrote this in his letter to the Colossians: 

Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.

Paul meant this as an exhortation for early Christians to speak gently and kindly to others and find winsome and compelling ways to speak to people both within their community and outside of it. 

But his exhortation reveals a more profound lesson regarding how we speak to ourselves and others. 

We can get the part right about how we speak to other people, which many of us can do if we try, but if we get the part about speaking to ourselves wrong, we miss the point entirely.  

And if we never learn how to speak to ourselves about ourselves in kinder and gentler ways, eventually, we will struggle to see the world and others with the loving eyes of Christ.  

So be careful how you speak to yourself.  Let yourself hear kind words about who you are.  Give yourself more grace; knowing God's grace is enough to cover many mistakes. 

And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.  


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