Archive for July, 2013

July 31, 2013

Humility Vs. Pride

1 Kings 3:16-27

The Message (MSG)

16-21 The very next thing, two prostitutes showed up before the king. The one woman said, “My master, this woman and I live in the same house. While we were living together, I had a baby. Three days after I gave birth, this woman also had a baby. We were alone—there wasn’t anyone else in the house except for the two of us. The infant son of this woman died one night when she rolled over on him in her sleep. She got up in the middle of the night and took my son—I was sound asleep, mind you!—and put him at her breast and put her dead son at my breast. When I got up in the morning to nurse my son, here was this dead baby! But when I looked at him in the morning light, I saw immediately that he wasn’t my baby.”

22 “Not so!” said the other woman. “The living one’s mine; the dead one’s yours.”

The first woman countered, “No! Your son’s the dead one; mine’s the living one.”

They went back and forth this way in front of the king.

23 The king said, “What are we to do? This woman says, ‘The living son is mine and the dead one is yours,’ and this woman says, ‘No, the dead one’s yours and the living one’s mine.’”

24 After a moment the king said, “Bring me a sword.” They brought the sword to the king.

25 Then he said, “Cut the living baby in two—give half to one and half to the other.”

26 The real mother of the living baby was overcome with emotion for her son and said, “Oh no, master! Give her the whole baby alive; don’t kill him!”

But the other one said, “If I can’t have him, you can’t have him—cut away!”

27 The king gave his decision: “Give the living baby to the first woman. Nobody is going to kill this baby. She is the real mother.”

July 30, 2013

Love Yourself: 10 Ways To Foster Self-Love

Love Yourself: 10 Ways To Foster Self-Love

By Barrie Davenport on June 17, 2013

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If I were to ask you to tell me everything that’s wrong with you, I bet you’d have no problem reeling off a long list of your flaws and failures.

Even as I was typing that sentence, my brain quickly latched on to my own flaws and failures. It’s almost automatic.

Why is it so hard to love yourself?

It seems we keep an “I’m a loser list” handy in our minds ready to pull out at a moment’s notice when we wish to take a self-flagellation break. (I’m conjuring images of shirtless monks walking in a circle whipping their own backs.)

But don’t you think that’s just crazy? I mean really it’s beyond crazy — it’s kind of warped. We say things to ourselves we would never say to those around us, even those we don’t like. We berate ourselves in ways we’d never consider berating anyone else. We hang on to our failures for years, sometimes for a lifetime, and replay them over and over. Life becomes a constant struggle.

And of course, the more we do this, the more we focus on all that’s wrong with us, the more real and debilitating these flaws become. They start to define us. They hold us back from becoming who we want to be. They impact our relationships. They impact our self-esteem, our mood, and our overall outlook on life.

It makes me sad to think about all the people in the world who don’t even like themselves, much less love themselves. Maybe you are one of them. I hope not. But the odds are that some of you reading this would like to trade yourself in for a better model. Or at least trade in parts of yourself.

Maybe you . . .

  • don’t like the way you look;
  • don’t like your personality;
  • don’t like your lack of (fill in the blank here — intelligence, creativity, motivation);
  • don’t like your life choices;
  • don’t like the way you are in relationships.

Quite often we don’t like ourselves because of our perceived inability to follow through, achieve goals, earn enough money, or reach a certain level  of success. Much of our self-loathing comes from looking at what others have and viewing ourselves as inadequate because we don’t have it.

I could go on and on about the reasons we don’t love ourselves. Our tortured childhoods. Our devastating relationships. The lack of opportunities or luck. The less-than-perfect body or face we’ve been given. Life is a constant struggle. These things all may be true. They may feel painfully real. They may legitimately hold you back in some regards.

But they don’t matter.

When the rubber meets the road, there is only one person who will be with you for a lifetime.

  • There is only one person whose good opinion really matters.
  • There is only one person whose love can transform you.
  • There is only one person who deserves your unconditional love most of all.

You.

Regardless of all of your perceived flaws and failure, you are the only you you have. Now you could wait to love this you until you reach some level of perceived accomplishment, beauty, or perfection.

But as you’ve probably learned, it’s damned near impossible to become a better person when you don’t love the person you are. When you can’t see or embrace your inherent value, beauty, and uniqueness, you don’t have much to offer yourself in the way of energy or motivation for continuous self-improvement.

Here’s an insight I’ve embraced in recent years: life isn’t about achieving some outward standard of success, achievement, or physical perfection. It is about becoming more and more of who YOU are. It is about continual self-evolution and authenticity. It is about diving into the depths of your unique self and coming up with treasure after treasure that was previously unknown to you. You are a veritable sunken Titantic of mysteries to be explored.

That’s how you begin to love yourself — by making that mental shift. You shift frombeing a victim to a creator. You are the treasure, with layers upon layers of uncharted and undiscovered potential. What you hate about yourself on the surface is just the rotten crumbs of who you really are and who you can become.

Whether you are fat or thin, rich or poor, beautiful or plain, successful or struggling, young or old — none of that really matters. When you can scratch past the crusty surface of those things, you can find endless pools of crystal clear love for yourself. And when you find those pools and dive into them, you will find that surface things begin to change naturally as a result. Self-love requires us to become our best selves in all regards.

I know this all sounds lovely and inspiring, but I also know this is the real world with real pain and problems. And in the real world, loving yourself doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time to embrace the notion that loving yourself is your highest calling, your most important work, the most life-changing thing you can ever do for yourself.

So how to begin? Here are some thoughts . . .

1. Acknowledge

Acknowledge the life-altering importance of loving yourself. Recognize that everything good in your life hinges on seeing your own unique beauty and worthiness. Accept that all of your life successes, all love and acceptance, all happiness, begins with embracing and loving who you are right now.

2. Refocus

On a daily basis, refocus your attention away from flaws and failures and on your uniqueness and positive qualities. Define those for yourself, even the smallest positive aspects you see in yourself, and write them down. Review them every single day. Remember that these qualities are as much or more a part of you than your flaws.

3. Redefine

As you work to accept yourself as you are, you can also define the best version of yourself that isn’t yet fully expressed. This ideal self should be based on who YOU are authentically, not crafted from the influences of peers, parents, the media, or anyone else. Who is your best self? How do you want to look, feel, think, act, and operate in the world? Write a “character study” of this yet-to-be-expressed self.

4. Choose

Carefully choose your friends and associates so you surround yourself with loving, real, caring, and supportive people. These are people who reflect back to you the beautiful qualities they see in you. Open your eyes to be able to see yourself as they see you and to accept the validity of their assessment.

5. Envision

Envision yourself as your own best friend. Begin to see your higher self as the best friend taking charge and talking to your wounded self. As your higher self, think or speak only the words that you would say to your best friend in times of crisis or self-doubt. Use words of approval, support, reinforcement, and praise. Don’t let your wounded self be the spokesperson for your psyche.

6. Explore

Set aside time to learn more about yourself — your personality, aptitudes, interests, etc. Take assessments, workshops, courses, read books and blogs. See yourself as an interesting multifaceted package to open and explore. Go beyond how you look, what you’ve achieved, how much money you have, etc. Find out what moves you, what brings you deepest joy, what true intimacy feels like. Find pockets of creativity, areas of untapped intelligence, pathways to potential passions.

7. Accept

Accept what you cannot change about yourself. Everyone has parts of themselves they can’t “fix” or alter — aspects of our appearance, personalities, our past experiences or choices. There are only two options here. You can forever struggle against those unchangeable things, or you can grow beyond them and choose the path of self-acceptance. Having these unchangeable things doesn’t have to condemn us to a lifetime of unhappiness. The opportunities for happiness in life are so vast — our flaws are infinitesimal inky droplets in a sea of potential for joyful living. They will dissolve and dissipate if you don’t focus on them.

8. Change

If there are things you can change and want to change about yourself to become more of your ideal self, then embrace the privilege and glorious opportunity to effect change. Define the actions that change requires. Break the actions down into small and manageable goals. Every day, give yourself one small goal as a gift. It is a gift your higher self is offering from love and the desire to move you closer to your ideal.

9. Patience

Learning to love yourself requires patience. If you’ve spent years disliking or even hating yourself, it will take time to turn the ship around and forge a new direction. You will likely have times of slipping back into old beliefs and negative self-talk. But remember, if you see how the entirety of your life experience hinges on self-love, you will be tenacious and determined to love yourself.

10. Practice

Just as it takes practice to maintain a healthy and loving relationship with your spouse or child, it takes the same practice to maintain your love for yourself. You must remain actively mindful of it every day. Maintain your focus on your unique and beautiful qualities. Continue to make small and purposeful steps toward who you really are. Acknowledge and celebrate those steps. Reflect gratefully on all that you have and all that you are in process of becoming.


Are you able to love yourself? How have you had difficulty with this in the past and what have you done to foster self-love? Please share your experiences in the comments below.

http://liveboldandbloom.com/06/life-coaching/love-yourself-10-ways-to-foster-self-love

July 30, 2013

TRUTHS ABOUT TRUTH

 

Whoever is careless with the truth in small matters
cannot be trusted with important matters.
– Albert Einstein

Half a truth is often a great lie.
– Benjamin Franklin

It is essential to tell the truth at all times.
This will reduce life’s pain.
– John Bradshaw

Truth never damages a cause that is just.
– Mohandas (Mahatma) Gandhi
Fear is not in the habit of speaking truth.
– Publius Cornelius Tacitus

Morality is the basis of things
and truth is the substance of all morality.
– Mohandas (Mahatma) Gandhi

Only good comes from being honest and true.
Only harm and suffering cone from falsehood.
It doesn’t always feel as if good comes from truth and honesty, but, in the long run, it does.
– Jonathan Lockwood Huie

July 29, 2013

Dealing With Toxic Relationships

Dealing With Toxic Relationships

  By Michael Josephson of Character Counts (750.2)

Are there people in your life who regularly cause you
to feel bad about yourself?

Most of us care what others think of us, so knowing
that someone doesn’t like us, or doesn’t approve of the
judgments we’ve made, or doesn’t like how we look can
be hurtful. And when we’re judged by someone whose
approval we crave, such as a parent, spouse, teacher,
or boss, the criticism can cause intense distress and
damage self-esteem.

Harsh or relentless disparagement from people who love
us, often clothed as caring advice or helpful prodding,
can be particularly toxic.

It’s helpful to realize that it’s one thing to feel bad
when someone doesn’t approve of us; it’s quite another
to allow their disapproval to shape our self-image.
Eleanor Roosevelt said, "No one can make you feel
inferior without your consent." She was absolutely
right. Negative comments about our lives are opinions,
not facts.

How we feel, however, is a fact, and an important one
at that. Thus, it’s rational and healthy to nurture
relationships that bring out the best in us, and to cut
off or distance ourselves from those that bring us
down.

There are, however, two strategies worth trying before
you limit or eliminate contact with critical people
whom you care about, or who are important to people you care about.

Try to fix the relationship by respectfully confronting
the negative influences in your life honestly and
directly. Don’t attack them for hurting you, just
explain how you feel when they criticize you and see if
they care about you enough to modify their conduct. If
that doesn’t work, try to build immunity to their
negativity. Think of the hurtful comments of your
incorrigible critic as irrational ravings—and ignore
them.

If neither of these strategies work, more drastic
action may be justified.

It may be uncomfortable, but it’s relatively easy to
exclude annoying friends and co-workers from your life.
Family and committed relationships are another matter
entirely. You are entitled to happiness and healthy
relationships and it’s unfair for you to be imprisoned
by the wishes and wants of others. Nevertheless, there
are both moral and practical reasons that require you
to make serious and sustained efforts to fix these
relationships before you disown, disavow, or divorce
someone who is part of a network of relationships that
will be affected by your actions.

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character
counts.
(c) 2013 Josephson Institute of Ethics; reprinted with
permission. Michael Josephson, one of the nation’s
leading ethicists, is the founder of the Josephson
Institute of Ethics and the premier youth character
education program, CHARACTER COUNTS! For further
information visit www.charactercounts.org

July 29, 2013

Top Ten Predictions

For this year and beyond:

1. The Bible will still have all the answers.

2. Prayer will still be the most powerful thing on
    Earth.

3. The Holy Spirit will still move.

4. God will still honor the praises of His people.

5. There will still be God-anointed preaching.

6. There will still be singing of praise to God.

7. God will still pour out blessings upon His people.

8. There will still be room at the Cross.

9. Jesus will still love you.

10. Jesus will still save the lost when they come
    to Him.

It is good to remember who is really in control and
that "the Word of the Lord endures forever" (1 Peter
1:25 ).

"Can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when
we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in
the minds of the people that these liberties are of the
Gift of God?" — Thomas Jefferson
  — Submitted by Carol Lacy Pell

July 28, 2013

Prayer for the USA

Heavenly Father, we come before you today to ask your
forgiveness and to seek your direction and guidance. We
know Your Word says, ‘Woe to those who call evil good,’
but that is exactly what we have done. We have lost our
spiritual equilibrium and reversed our values. We have
exploited the poor and called it the lottery. We have
rewarded laziness and called it welfare. We have killed
our unborn and called it choice.

We have shot abortionists and called it justifiable. We
have neglected to discipline our children and called it
building self-esteem. We have abused power and called
it politics. We have coveted our neighbor’s possessions
and called it ambition. We have polluted the air with
profanity and pornography and called it freedom of
expression. We have ridiculed the time-honored values
of our forefathers and called it enlightenment. Search
us, Oh God, and know our hearts today; cleanse us from
sin and set us free. Amen!

NOTE: This prayer circulated via e-Mail and was
credited to Billy Graham. However, according to Truth
or Fiction, Billy Graham was NOT the writer of this
prayer. Nevertheless, it is an excellent prayer.

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