I missed a meeting a few weeks. Totally forgot I made the commitment to attend it. If I had just taken the time to think that day, I would have realized it. But no, I fixed all my attention of my to-do list and my all-important busyness, totally forgetting my obligation.
As I traveled this morning, I beat myself up once again about my lapse of memory.
“You really should have remembered that. How could you be so stupid?”
Then I listened to myself. Why, I would never talk to another human being in that tone of voice or use those words. How cruel, mean, and heartless. Why am I treating myself this way?
Dan Milligan wrote, “So be gentle with yourself; show yourself the same kindness and patience you might show a young child – the child you once were. If you won’t be your own friend, who will be? If, when playing an opponent, you are also opposing yourself, you will be outnumbered.”
A few years back I heard a speaker say, “Listen to your own self-talk.” I tried it and was shocked by the amount of negative words inside my head. I heard them once again this morning. I don’t think I am the only one who judges themselves harsher than they judge others.
The speaker suggested a psychological tool called “thought stopping.” Once you catch yourself with thoughts that are not real or too negative or exaggerated, stop, reflect and evaluate how true they really are. Squeeze a lesson from them, then let them go.
Gentleness is a fruit of the Holy Spirit. My old habit of negative self-talk blocks the spirit from being cultivating within me. When my heart, head, and hands cling to its old nature full of condemnation and criticalness, I never get a full grasp on the great gifts from God, such as the precious present of gentleness.
My image to help me become gentler with myself? How about this:
Fragile: Handle with Care stamped across my forehead and my soul. God has already marked me as His child and holds me in His loving hands. If that is how He treats me, I better start taking care of myself in that manner also – with gentleness.
“Be gentle with yourself, learn to love yourself, to forgive yourself for only as we have the right attitude towards ourselves can we have the right attitude towards others.” Wilfred Peterson.
Are you gentle with yourself? How do you cultivate gentleness?
I couldn’t agree more; thank you for this wonderful reminder. I appreciate your statement, “Why, I would never talk to another human being in that tone of voice or use those words.” Very good point, and very helpful. We shouldn’t talk to ourselves this way, either. I hold myself to absurdly high standards and often am not so gentle with my thoughts when I mess up. Thanks for the great post.
Kathy Collard Miller says
Jean, this is so important. When I speak on this subject, I pass out rubber bands to the women and have them put a rubber band on their wrist. As they wear it for a month, it is a reminder to ask, “What am I saying about myself?” and to give themselves a little snap when they succumb to not thinking of themselves as God sees them.
Keep preaching it, sister!
Jean Wise says
Thank you for all your kind words and it helps to know I am not the only one struggling with this. I wonder the more we treat ourselves kindly the more we treat others more gently, the more we see God as gentle too.
I am absolutely not gentle with myself…so your words are meaningful to me tonight as I mull the idea of treating myself with gentleness. Never quite thought about that!
Kaye - SandwichINK for the Sandwich Generation says
Great points! And lovely graphic to help us remember. It all goes wonderfully with Phil. 4:8. 🙂 Thanks for a good reminder.
Oh, Jeanie, thanks for this! I tend to berate me more than I know. I will try to keep this in mind. Bless Ya
I do this ALL THE TIME. My husband tells me that I hold myself back too much because I always think so negatively of myself. You’re right though-I wouldn’t say those things to other people so why should I say them to myself? Beautiful words (as always)!
Thank you so much for always linking up for Tweet Me Tuesday, sometimes you really help me to see things a bit differently–and sometimes that’s all it takes!
Rebecca Ramsey says
What an important subject. Thank you!
I remember so many times hearing my Dad talking to himself in the bathroom or the bedroom, speaking so harshly, even hatefully, trying to goad himself into doing something better or scolding himself for some mistake he made.
Now I sometimes hear myself doing the same thing! Lately I’ve been trying to retrain myself not to do that, to treat myself as God would treat me.