In part 1, we established the following:
- We all have clutter that if not dealt with will cause trouble, including a variety of unhealthy behaviors
- If we aren’t free of ourselves, our primary focus tends to be on ourselves, rather than on God
- Jesus already paid the price for our freedom, hence we better not waste it; we simply can’t afford not to get free of ourselves
The way to get free of ourselves is to develop and maintain a healthy relationship with ourselves. So how do you do that?
The secret to developing a healthy relationship with yourself, is to become your greatest fan. Unfortunately, we’re naturally our biggest critic, so this takes some work.
Becoming your greatest fan could be compared to planting a flower garden. If you plant good seeds and see that they get adequate water and sunshine, in time you’ll get flowers. However, inevitably, you’ll also get some weeds.
In your relationship with yourself, the weeds are the harsh, critical comments you make to yourself –often without awareness of the damage you’re causing. Just like weeding, start catching those thoughts and yank them out by their roots. God’s Word says it this way, “take every thought captive unto Christ.”
In their place, learn to plant lots of positive, affirming and encouraging thoughts; improve the quality of your self-talk by learning to treat yourself as you do a good friend. Again, God’s Word provides direction; scripture says to “love your neighbor as yourself;” the assumption is that you do in fact love yourself –or at least like yourself.
Lastly, if you’re serious about becoming a fan, you must learn to validate feelings. Validating feelings simply means to give permission to feel them. You’d be surprised how often we try to cheer others up and “put a Bandaid” on negative feelings. Our own discomfort with feelings often prompts us to help others avoid them as well; instead of giving them space and permission to feel their feelings, we try to cheer them up and as a result, minimize or dismiss them. Feelings –whether yours or those of others, simply need to be felt.
If you’ve done a good job tending to your “garden,” the results can be amazing:
- You’re more receptive to others’ needs
- Your confidence soars
- You’re more comfortable with mistakes (yours and others)
- Your patience increases
- You’re less defensive
- You’re more tolerant and receptive (and less divisive)
As you maintain a healthy relationship with yourself (having become your greatest fan) you can more fully experience the freedom Christ purchased for you. Now go enjoy your freedom –giving all the glory to God.
– Alicia Economos, Founder & Director of Wholehearted Living