Truth is a hard topic to start with. In a world filled with so many voices; it’s nearly impossible to know what is even true anymore. How do we line ourselves up with reality when we’re not even sure what’s “true” in the first place. Moving standards, differentiating expectations, and an overload of opportunities fester us into the frustration of us not knowing what to do, how to do it, nor why. From there, it’s easy to speak incapability, insecurity, indecisiveness, and blame over our lives.
One of the most detrimental things I myself do is entertain negativity, and for too long. I internally decide that I dislike a characteristic about myself (or another person), and eventually, it’s all I can focus on. In different seasons I jump to the conclusion that I am stuck or in a place without meaning, to soon lose sight of the greater purpose within my process.
For this reason, I want to propose that no matter what our previous beliefs and experiences say, we have the choice to find goodness in all situations, by simply shifting the way we think. For as we speak positivity over ourselves, others, and the present moment- we have the ability to control our thought life and end up on top within other parts of our life too.
As we point out the flaws in our thought life and take intentional steps in renewing our minds, Jesus will meet us in providing new strength and changing our perspectives.
Break the Victim Mentality
The worst place we can place ourselves is in the position of a victim. For when we view ourselves as inferior to others, we give up the authority we have over ourselves to be victorious. If we constantly blame our “lower rank” on the decision or character of another person, we need a reality check. No one on the outside can define your value – except for you and God. If we allow other people that voice instead, it will produce instability within our own identities over and over again.
On the other hand, if people in your life feel entitled to defining your worth, that’s something they need to recognize in their lives, as you choose to deny it’s power over yours. It is in our control who we allow having a voice within our hearts, and whose words we allow to fall outside the door.
So, when we take feelings of not being loved, cared for, or needed enough and place that responsibility on everyone but ourselves; we need change in perspective. That starts, with changing our minds.
Claiming in your thought life that you have the ability to make decisions and enforce that obedience as the first step into a victor’s mentality.
We aren’t fighting against people who make us feel crappy nor needing to control how people view us. Instead, we internally need to view our own lives in a light that says “I am victorious. I am beautiful, worthy, cared for, loved, and capable of controlling my own thoughts, emotions, and reactions.”
It is always uncomfortable to break out of old thought patterns. If you’ve struggled with worrying about what other people think, it can feel incredibly unusual to let go. But, it’s only going to get harder the longer you do it, so better yet stop now! If you’re used to constantly hating on yourself, or perhaps practicing the opposite-pride, it’s going to be uncomfortable thinking humbly of yourself (“Not thinking less of yourself, but thinking about yourself less”), but totally worth it.
Whatever your game plan may be in order to shift your thoughts from negative to positive, and your position from pauper to princess; it should be outside your comfort zone. New habits feel weird, but choosing to press into the discomfort of change will be so worth it in the long run.
Investigate the Root
Why is it that you think the way you do? Is your habit caused by a past relationship, experience, or habit that has stuck with you for too long? The deeper we can get in digging up negativity in our lives, the more we understand ourselves. From there a whole world opens to receive healing from the past and act in productivity towards the future.
God can so clearly reveal to us where the roots are. Spend time in prayer seeking God in why you view particular situations or people in a certain way. Then, seek out what He thinks, and commit to taking that view until it becomes more real to you.
Sit down and search out particular thoughts you have throughout the day that aren’t helping you. Start right there by altering it in a way that is beneficial to the atmosphere around you. Focus on that small piece and don’t allow room for compromise. It could be telling yourself you are beautifully and wonderfully made the second you begin to self-hate. Perhaps it’s claiming tasks that you once saw as “difficult” as still difficult, but following it with saying you’re capable of that task. In work that you view as pointless, declare it as valuable over your mind.
If self-control towards your thoughts is too great of a task, don’t be discouraged. Make the change in something smaller. It could be committing to 30 minutes less of social media a day, reading a good book before bed, cooking one meal for yourself daily, or sending an encouraging message to a friend every week. These are all choices we get to make that are tangible! The process of realizing your ability to make these will help you step into breaking out of greater habits, such as the practice of a negative thought life.
Keep Goals Simple
We don’t need to stand in the mirror for an hour and recite an essay about how amazing we are. It’s not necessary to listen to five encouraging pod-casts a day or remove every person from our life who isn’t helping it. Making realistic boundaries that are simple is key to long-term success. It truly is the small, consistent, care-filled (and realistic) things we practice in our day to day life that shows stable progress over time.
I have recently enjoyed setting three “escape thoughts (call them prayers if you may)” that I recite in times of mental drowning. They claim what the fear/worry/negative emotion that is currently clouding my mind, and rebounds it with a truth that contains positivity. For example, if I’m in a season of uncertainty regarding my next step I may say “Yes, I am unsure what’s next; but I trust that the right time will come; and when it does, all this will be worth the wait.” Doesn’t hurt to also add phrases such as, “This is a time of growth. I am being prepared for my next season. Have faith in the process.
At the end of the day, it’s astonishing the freedom available when the bondage of negative thinking is broken: and you are worth that freedom. Even if you’re starting small and keeping it simple, this is a valuable practice to implement in your life. Plus, with time, it will become only more natural.
No matter how weak you feel, you still have the power to change your mind and in return to change your life. If you are seeking that life change, I just want you to know that it is possible, and you can have it.
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
WISE ADVICE FROM
What benefits does uncomfortably have?
I associate uncomfortably with growth. When you are getting uncomfortable it is because you are most likely trying something new, stepping outside your “zone”, or being challenged. Nobody gets uncomfortable from doing the same things, on the same days, while thinking the same things. Being uncomfortable means you are growing and learning and reaching for something beyond yourself. Matthew 5:11 says this, “Count yourselves blessed every time people put you down or throw you out or speak lies about you to discredit me. What it means is that the truth is too close for comfort and they are uncomfortable.” The more uncomfortable you are, most likely means the closer you are to truth of some sort. (Martin)
Putting yourself in uncomfortable situations a lot of the time results in growing or learning something that seems scary to try. That’s a pretty standard answer but when I’m in uncomfortable situations I try to remind myself that the next time I do it, it probably won’t be uncomfortable and will be well worth the pay off in the long run. This is something I really struggle with though (going out of my comfort zone) and would like to take my own advise on more. (Canter)
Discomfort has benefited me in so many ways, if I’m constantly comfortable, I’m not growing. I spent a lot of my life trying to create comfort for myself in so many ways that my ability to create relationships and gain knowledge about the world around me was stunted. When I let myself feel that discomfort I starting thriving, because instead of avoiding it I confronted it. I gained so much awareness for the people around me and I grew a lot stronger and more confident in myself because I was more prepared for all aspects of life. Discomfort is so important, a lot of life is uncomfortable, and the better we know how to weather it the more positive of an impact we will have on ourselves and the people around us. (Mealy)
It’s vital to live in the realm of uncomfortably because only there will we be stretched and grown. It’s often the most painful, uncomfortable parts of our lives that create a fight and passion within us, giving us something to live for. Lives of comfort breed complacency and stagnancy. (Arsenault)
How can we find the roots of hurt in our lives? And then what?
Some people say time heals all wounds, some say talking does and some say it will last forever. The thing about roots, is that they are connected to whatever is growing above them. We are the answer to ourselves. The roots of our past, our emotions, and our stories all come back to the same place…us, as individuals. Personally, I find the roots of hurt in my life through constant prayer. I look within myself and within God and I pray or meditate (or whatever you call it in your life, that is okay), but I soul search and then I find the strength that is undoubtedly in me to face it and to move on. Old hurt and pain in our lives is like a wound that was never cleaned or healed but it scabbed and skinned over anyway, trapping that dirt and infection inside, causing a constant dull pain and ache. Sometimes in life we have to reopen those wounds and it hurts, but we have to properly clean them out before letting them heal again, this time the right way. (Martin)
For some people it’s easier to understand themselves that it is for others. One way I can uncover things I haven’t realized before is writing down my thoughts. Often when I do this I end up with an idea, thought, or emotion I hadn’t realized I’d been feeling. Once you know why or how you’re hurting it’s easier to deal with even if the pain doesn’t go away. (Canter)
I begin to identify the root of hurt in my life by first identifying what it is that triggers that pain. If I find myself becoming upset over something or behaving in a way that is not benefiting me, I try my best to stop and ask myself where that behavior or thought pattern is coming from. Taking time for journaling and self-reflection can really help in the process of understanding where these feelings stem from. From here, I try to start recognizing these emotions as a response rather than a part of my identity, allowing me to step back and ask myself “is this serving me or my life any longer?”. If it isn’t, and it usually isn’t, I take a moment of gratitude for the ways that pain has served me in my life so far, and then I try to let it go. (Hammer)
I don’t think you always can find the roots of pain in our lives. I think the first step to trying though is to stop blaming the people around us for anything rough we might be going through. Know what’s yours and what isn’t. A lot can be traced back to how we were raised and who had the largest impact on our lives and what their values are. Sometimes it’s worth confronting and sometimes it’s good enough just to know and to move forwards with awareness of what is behind our reactions and responses and personal views. (Mealy)
The only way I’ve known to find the roots of pain in my life has been through the gentle guidance of God but His Holy Spirit. The deeper the pain, the deeper and more planted the roots. As humans, our defense mechanisms naturally bury these roots further and further down, so we need God to bring us into revelation and then from there healing by the power of God, which surpasses all understanding. God doesn’t dig up old roots without replanting a new garden, but He can’t plan the new without digging out the old. (Arsenault)
What are small and simple ways we can start planting truth in our thought lives?
I believe that knowing and living truth starts within ourselves. Tell yourself one truth about yourself every morning when you look into the mirror. “I am beautiful.” “I am smart.” “I am talented.” If you have a hard time complimenting yourself, start out with the one thing that is true about all of us, “I am a child of God. I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” Once you start speaking truths about yourselves into you daily lives, your minds will become more positive and your hearts will becoming more faithful, and YOU will start seeing so many more truths then the lies that the world tries to feed us. (Martin)
We need to begin to shift our perspective away from the lies this world feeds us on a daily basis. It’s all about what we fill our minds with. For me – I strive to surround myself with a strong and supportive community, play clean and truth-filled music, read literature based on truth and fill my own words with encouragement and uplifting positivity. These small changes have the power to alter atmospheres around you. (Arsenault)
What tips do you have in regards of goal setting?
Just set one, what a great way to start! I think a lot of time in life we spend too much time planning and creating itineraries of what we want to do and how we want to do it, that by the time we actually get to it, we are almost out of time. There is a time to plan and there is a time to schedule, there is also a time to just say to yourself, “That’s something I want to accomplish” and then you make it happen! Don’t just set goals, make them happen by jumping to it and getting excited about it and making that idea a reality. (Martin)
Goal setting needs constant observance to really work. Once you set your goal do monthly, weekly or even daily check ups to see how your progression is. Set small tasks regularly to complete your bigger goal and focus on one at a time rather than having a massive overwhelming list of things to do. One quote I really like is “You can do anything, but you can’t do everything.” Be okay with achieving your one or few goals without regretting everything you didn’t do. (Canter)
Make a list each day of what you can get done TODAY, don’t focus on the intimidation of the entire goal, think about today. (Mealy)
I always lay out a goal, pray about it and solidify if it’s something I truly should work towards. When I find peace and clearance I run after it. I make a strategic and realistic plan about how I will execute it (time line, due dates, budget, etc.) And then begin following the steps it takes to complete it. (Arsenault)