That's what happened this weekend, when my church started a new series called Words. The message this weekend was about how words can shape your life, and change your direction. At the end of the message, we all wrote down negative words that have been spoken to or about us - and then threw them away, and replaced them with the words God uses to describe us.
It's a nice thought, and quite powerful. Honestly - I've been struggling a little bit with negative image, and figuring out how to see myself in a positive way, even when I get the opposite message.
But truth be told, it's hard to use words like "redeemed" or "victorious" to replace words like "fat" or "ugly" and feel like I've come out ahead. I mean, I can be redeemed or victorious all day - it won't change my New Year's Eve situation.
With regards to relationships, I was recently told that I need to stop with the negative thinking. If I start putting positive thoughts out, I will start getting some positive back.
I was told I need to stop thinking I'm not pretty enough or smart enough or successful enough. I especially need to realize that the right person is going to look at me for my whole person. He will see that I've "got it all going on" - but I have to see that first.
I was told that I need to not assume every guy will be a jerk, and start giving the good ones a chance. I need to start listening to my instincts more, and have more faith in myself.
I guess the message is the same - I need to replace the negative thoughts with more positive, and start seeing myself the way I want others to see me. After all, I can't expect to get positive, good things in my life if I'm not putting out positive, good thoughts. Right?
I think we're taught too soon, and for too long, to judge ourselves based on what others think. We choose how to dress, what to say, who to like - and more - based on how our choices shape the opinions of others.
By the time we're old enough to figure out that the opinions of others shouldn't really matter...it's kinda too late to unring the bell. So what's a gal to do?
I guess I could start by listening to what people who actually like me have to say. They'll tell me I'm pretty, smart, funny, talented, compassionate, generous, thoughtful, sincere...those are some nice words. Plus, I mean, let's face it - I obviously surround myself with the best people. If that's what they're saying...well, there's no way they're all wrong. Right?
Even bigger than listening to those words, is figuring out a way to silence the words of others. To completely discount the opinions of people who don't think I'm any of those things. When someone says or does something that makes me feel less than what I know myself to be...he needs to go.
I need to remember that I have the option of seeing myself the way he sees me - or the way I know myself to be. Then I need to make the right choice.
Negative words will always be there. I guess the trick is to make sure the positive words are talking louder.