IMPROVE: SELF ENCOURAGEMENT

Robert Schuller said, “It takes but one positive thought when given a chance to survive and thrive to overpower an entire army of negative thoughts.”

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Do you love yourself? When you look in the mirror or examine your heart, do you appreciate yourself? I have a hard time with this because I think I’m hard-wired to find flaws in everything, most of all myself. Have you heard the statement that you’re “harder on yourself than you are on others?” That’s me. Lots of self-judgment going on in my world.

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I was in a class once during which we were asked to look at the alphabet and choose one positive trait about ourselves, one word for each letter. After writing 26 different words, we were then instructed to cut out each word separately and place the words in an empty jar. We got arts and crafty decorating the jar, so it would look pretty on a shelf. Sometimes, when I’m being self-deprecating, I pull out a couple traits that I wrote about myself just to remind me that I love myself. Frequently this works for me and other times I think the jar is dumb and it’s just full of a bunch of words.

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I’ve also used my prayer / meditation time to contemplate a particular trait that I want to emulate right now. Using Yoga Nidra, we are asked to make an “intention” and state it three times before mentally completing a body scan. My intentions are positive affirmations of who I want to be today, in this moment, such as “I am smart” when I am feeling the opposite. If you are interested, you can access some guided Yoga Nidra audio on You Tube.
I once drew a colorful calendar in my journal and every morning I wrote down the answer to I am…. “I am Relaxed, Grateful, Blessed, Honest, etc.” The only rule was that it had to be a positive thing. Subsequently I would try to make sure my actions throughout the day illustrated that word I had decided on.

“This is my command- be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9

I use the skills for IMPROVE the Moment when I am deeply sad and depressed, tied up with anxiety over things that I cannot control. There are times that I don’t feel like using the coping skills. It’s so much easier just to give in to the negative. In DBT, (Dialectic Behavior Therapy,) this is called being “Willful.” I think this is one of the reasons why I didn’t consult God in daily prayer, as well.
I know that God is in control of what is happening next in my life, what is happening now and what has already happened. When things are really bad, it’s just so hard to believe that. I thought it was easier to stay in bed- to mindlessly watch tv- rather than drudge all that up to God. I also think I was afraid that He wouldn’t answer me. Isn’t it easier to act out instead of confessing?
I thank God that He provided these strategies to help me out of the gloom, as well as the experts who work with me every week.

 

 

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