Archive for January, 2013

What helps you love yourself?

Friday, January 11th, 2013

“Love your neighbor as yourself” is a basic teaching of Christianity, emphasized by Jesus himself, but that seems to be something that many of us struggle to do. Ironically, it is often those who seem the most sure of themselves, and may even be thought of as conceited or stuck up or full of themselves, that in reality are the most insecure and feel the greatest need to prove their worth, because deep inside they have a critical voice telling them they are not worthy of love.

I think we all have a critical voice like that, actually. For some of us, that voice is loud and insistent and beats us up for every little thing we didn’t get done, or didn’t do perfectly. It drowns out or minimizes the praises we get from others, and may even drown out God’s voice of love reminding us that we are of infinite worth and are precious in God’s eyes no matter what. It can rob us of joy if we let it.

How do you counter that voice? Are there strategies you have learned along the way, books you have read, affirmations you have said, or other things you have done that have helped you accept your shortcomings and celebrate your successes? What helps you silence that inner critic and truly love yourself? I’ve suggested a few resources here (see especially the “Knowing and loving yourself” category on the right side of that page), but would love to hear from readers about what has worked for you.

Are you ready to achieve your New Year’s Resolutions, or are they just wishful thinking?

Thursday, January 3rd, 2013

Many people start the New Year by making resolutions. It’s an honorable tradition, though the sad reality is that many of those people will make the same resolutions next year. The problem with New Year’s Resolutions is that they are generally vague (“I will lose weight” or “I will get in shape”) and don’t specify how one will achieve the goal. The truth is that they usually amount to little more than wishful thinking.

The reality is that meaningful, lasting change takes time and a lot of hard work. It is a process, not an instant event. Perhaps you have heard the story of the man who watched a butterfly struggling to emerge from a small opening in its cocoon. The man saw how much difficulty the butterfly was having, and noticed that it seemed stuck, so he took a pair of scissors and carefully created a much larger opening. The butterfly soon emerged quite easily, but it had a large body and small, shriveled wings and could not fly. What the man did not realize is that the process of forcing its body through the tiny opening is what enables a butterfly to force fluid from its body into its wings and become capable of flight. His attempt to make life easier for the butterfly actually crippled it for life.

How often do we cripple ourselves in similar ways? We want change to be easy, and painless, so we do things like buy pills or powders that promise rapid weight loss without dieting or exercising. We look for quick fixes instead of long-term results. It is only when we are willing to do the hard work required to clarify our goals, make detailed plans to achieve them, actually execute those plans, and adapt the plans as needed until we succeed, that we can reasonably expect to see the results we desire.

What are your New Year’s Resolutions? More importantly, what will you do to ensure that you actually achieve them?