Would you like one hundred dollars? Of course, you would. However, what if I crumpled up a hundred dollar bill, threw it in the mud and stepped on it? Would you still want it? Of course, because you know that the bill still holds its value. It is worth the same as a brand new, fresh, clean one hundred dollar bill. The truth is that you are the same way. You maintain your value. Life may crumple you, muddy you and step on you, but you still have the same value as the day you were born. Unfortunately, the people in this world often send a very different message.
Other People’s Words
Throughout your life people have been telling you about you. You are smart or you are stupid. You are beautiful or you are ugly. You are in great shape or you are fat. All your life, you have been listening. In fact, you can still hear their voices in your head, right? Your current value, self-worth, is a cacophony of all the people that you listened to and believed what they said about you. Sadly, a cacophony is a harsh, discordant mixture of sounds like an elementary school band concert. It is nothing like a beautiful symphony. How have other people’s words shaped you?
The Mirror Judgment
Other people’s comments do not disappear as you get older. The reason you can still hear them in your head is because they caused an emotional reaction. That is how your mind works. Emotions heighten your capacity to remember. Your past affects your present. What did you see when you looked in the mirror today? Beauty or imperfections? More importantly, what do you hear? Perhaps, it was what your mother said years ago or what your friend said just yesterday. Those thoughts in your head are either building you up or tearing you down every single day. Your self-worth often determines your destiny. I found this quote to be quite shocking from David E. Carlson’s book, Counseling and Self-Esteem. “I cannot think of a single major psychological problem – from fear of intimacy or of success, to underachievement at school and work, to anxiety or depression, to alcohol abuse or drug addiction, to child molesting or spouse battering, to suicide or crimes of violence – that is not traceable to a poor self-concept. Of all the judgements we pass in life, none is as important as the one we pass on ourselves. Our self-concept tends to be our destiny.” How you think about yourself is extremely important. Do you judge yourself when you look in the mirror? I call these defeating thoughts, STINKING THINKING.
Walking the Dog
We have a Brittany Spaniel named Milli. She is a beautiful dog bred to find birds and point them out to me. Unfortunately, I live in the city and have to put her on a leash. She hates the leash and I feel bad for limiting her nose. When we walk, she pulls me around. She pulls so much that she hurt my wife’s shoulder. Now, I am the only one who walks Millificent. I call her that when she does evil things like digging up my yard. This whole scenario of walking Milli is a perfect image of how stinking thinking can harm your life and tear down your self-worth. The thoughts in your head are like walking the dog. You can control them or they can control you. You do not want your thoughts pulling you around all day causing harm. Instead, you need to know how to control your thoughts and put them in submission. There is a time when Milli submits to me. It begins when I wake up. She will follow me around the house in total submission. She prostrates herself at my feet waiting for me to take her for a walk. Honestly, that is the Milli I love. She is totally under my control. That is the mind you need. A mind that keeps all thoughts in submission is a healthy mind.
I know very well that keeping your thoughts in submission can be very difficult. Sadly, many people commit suicide because their thoughts defeat them. They “think” it is the best or only option. What is the healthiest solution to stinking thinking? I know that many professionals have their methods, but rom personal experience I have found that the best solution is to stop listening to what others say and start listening to what God says. God repeats over and over in the Bible that He loves you, values you and forgives you. You were wonderfully made. So, when you realize you have stinking thinking, submit that thinking to what God says about you. In 2 Corinthians 10:5, Paul states, “I take every thought and make it obedient to Christ.” Many times your defeating thoughts are lies. The words of Christ are truths. You need to hear truth. You need affirmations.
I believe affirmations are extremely important for mental health. These are four that you should write out and keep visible. Fill in the blanks and remind yourself often.
I am loved by ___________.
I am valued by ___________.
I am capable _____________.
I am forgiven ___________.
These affirmations will certainly help build your self-worth. I hope you will take the time to improve your mental health. It is definitely a process.
Be encouraged and please add your comments below.