One of the most popular topics for the Women of Peace Workshop/Retreat is self-talk. Time after time this is women's number one choice.
So what do you say when you talk to yourself? Is it generally positive or generally negative? Are you kind and gentle? Or do you put yourself down? What thoughts that come into your mind do you choose to entertain?
Once when I needed some spiritual advise I went to a wise woman. I'll never forget what she said. "We can not control the thoughts that come into our minds, but we can choose to entertain them." Before that I mistakenly thought that I shouldn't even have certain thoughts, but after her guidance I realized that the choice was mine to dwell on something. That truth set me free.
Developing a sound mind has much to do with what and how we choose to think about something or someone. Let's begin with ourselves. If I think of myself as ugly or stupid, how much glory is that giving God? Scripture exhorts us to think on these things..."whatever is true, whatever is right, whatever is pure, lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy..." Phil 4: 8
So what is true about ourselves? We are a beautiful child of God. We have been given many gifts. The Spirit has been given to help us in all things. Not just some things-all things. That's the truth. It's a lie to think we're ugly or stupid because the Spirit within us gives us knowledge and wisdom and beauty. Sometimes we beat ourselves up unnecessarily and waste so much energy that could be used for other creative endeavors.
Well, it's not just negative thoughts about ourselves but how about others? When someone annoys or angers us do we begin to let one negative thought lead to another and another until we are completely in a stew? Why not stop the thought processes at the beginning and choose to think about something good and lovely? It's again our choice, and it can apply to the varied circumstances of our lives.
We all want to be transformed into the best person possible. And how do we become a better person? "Be transformed by the renewing of your mind." And look at the reward of that. "Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will." Rm 12:2
Being our own best friend is good and healthy, so we must be kind to ourselves and treat ourselves with compassion. When we look at our face in the mirror, we can easily focus on the wrinkles and think, "Yuk, I'm losing it." But we can also just as easily look and tell ourselves, "What marvelous character lines that speak to my life's story." We have to reassess the value of the lines in our face and see with new eyes the greater meaning. Again, what messages am I sending myself?
Negative thinking can be habitual, but like all bad habits, even addictions, they can be broken. With prayer, perseverance, the grace of God and the right choices, we can become all we are called to be. So let's be mindful of what we say when we talk to ourselves and make better choices to think on "whatever is true...excellent or praiseworthy."