Yesterday we started walking through M’s complex thoughts about self-worth, anxiety, and what to do when we don’t like how we look or feel. Obviously it’s not something that can be answered in a short blog post or with a pat answer.
Acknowledging the truth, that we will never live up to the world’s standards is essentially step one. Step two is to then choose to live and see ourselves through God’s loving eyes. But step three involves our eyes.
When I get so focused on my own worries, imperfections and failings I get caught in a crazy cycle of self-loathing. One long look in a mirror, a step on a scale, a harsh word from a classmate… any of these can send our self-esteem reeling out of control. So we ground ourselves in truth, and then we look outward!
The truth of the matter is that joy flows most often when we take a step back from ourselves and notice those around us. Joy comes from blessing and encouraging others, rather than focusing on our own needs. When life is “all about me” it leaves little room for the joy that emerges through loving people.
The next time the tears threaten to overtake you, try one of these tips before you give up.
1. Make cookies and give them to friends and neighbors.
2. Write a letter (snail mail!) to a grandparent, relative, or teacher who has been instrumental in your life. Thank them for the role they have had.
3. Leave a flower for someone and don’t tell them who it’s from! Instead just include a note that says, “You matter. Thank you for being you!” Have fun encouraging from a distance.
4. Go for a walk outside!
5. Turn on some music and dance in your room.
6. Offer to help your mom cook dinner.
7. The next time a volunteer opportunity is presented to you, say “yes”!
8. Go through your closet and collect clothes to donate to a local charity. That sweater you wore once last year might just make someone else’s day.
9. Take time to collect runaway shopping carts in the parking lot and return them to their homes.
10. Commit to only use texting and social media to encourage other people. No more lamenting, moaning, or complaining.
11. Invite someone in your family to go out for lunch, your treat! Plan the “date” and even dress up to make it more special.
12. This list could go on and on, so start making your own!
I know that counting my blessings is a huge kick in the pants when I need to refocus my gaze, but this list can also help in those moments when the hurt threatens to knock us down. We each have so much to give to a world in need!
I pinned this photo on Pinterest this week. I love the thought behind it. Let’s find our passion and get to loving others!