Happy New Year everyone! I hope you are looking forward to a year full of wonder and awe, mostly of our Creator and what He has done, continues to do and will do.
A teenage girl I know, we’ll call her Emmy, recently talked to me about a girl she knows who continues to make really destructive decisions in her personal life despite having so much going for her. She dates guys that cheat on her and treat her poorly even in other areas as if cheating wasn’t bad enough. I could tell Emmy was frustrated with this girl and as I sat and listened I could see many people have the same patterns in their lives whether they realize it or not. Those patterns come down to beliefs we have about ourselves, our worth, our capabilities, our self-imposed limitations….the list is endless really.
So, today let’s talk about what’s underneath the decisions that we make, good and bad, so we can reconcile those and expose the why behind the decision. This is SO key! But I want to warn you: we don’t just do this once and find the rest of life to be a breeze. This is something we have to develop as a skill; the ability to recognize what’s holding us back. We will still be doing this when we’re 90! The point is to get good at it so we don’t look back at our lives with miserable regret, right?
Here are some examples of things we may believe about ourselves that are not serving us very well:
- He’s the only guy out there for me
- She’s the only girl out there for me
- I don’t deserve better
- I must be worthless or I wouldn’t have been treated that way
- I never have enough time to do what I want or need to do
- I don’t have the time to get to the gym
- I don’t have time to cook well
- I will always live in poverty
It’s not hard to see if we spend any time at all thinking this way it won’t benefit us, right? Right!
What if we started thinking more along the lines of this:
- I’d rather be single and happy than in a miserable relationship
- I am worth being treated well
- I will treat others well because of who I am
- The way others have treated me is a reflection of them, not me
- I will make time to take care of myself and decide it’s fun
- Working out is fun
- Cooking great food is fun
- My effort feels rewarding
- With hard work and good decisions, I will be successful
- The world will be better for it with my contribution
The last thing I think is incredibly important is to separate facts from feelings. Facts don’t care about your feelings which is precisely why they come back to bite our feelings right in the butt! This girl Emmy was talking about thinks her boyfriend walks on water. She says she loves him and that is what will make their relationship work…but at whose expense? Hers. The facts will destroy her feelings as time goes on, so why not look at the facts now and get ahead of them coming back to bite?
The facts say:
- He is a cheater
- He can’t be trusted
- He is not loyal
- He is a liar
- He has no concern for others
- He is selfish
- He is destructive
- He might even be abusive
The feelings say:
- I love him
- I don’t deserve better
Regardless of the feelings, this will destroy her in some way. At a glance it’s easy to see it will definitely further her opinion of herself thinking she doesn’t deserve better. The day will come when she will come to the awful, pit in her stomach, conclusion this is never going to change. She will either resign herself to a future this dim or she will decide this is a load of crap (obviously), dump the idiot and move on. The other way it could go is he will decide he’s done with her and dump her leaving her feeling even worse about herself.
But if you’re Emmy what do you do for your friend in this situation. If you have a close relationship, tell her the truth and then drop it. Just be her friend. Compliment her any chance you get so she can take a second to hear her strengths. Listen and love her. Pray for her. She needs it. God did not create us to be doormats. We are the crown of creation. We are Princes and Princesses designed to bring glory to Him. This is not glorifying in any way. It makes Him very sad and it derails a person’s life to be in this situation. Even if you don’t believe in God, you can clearly see this is not good, to put it mildly. Nothing good will come of any of this.
Separate the facts from the feelings.
Separate the limiting negative beliefs and toss them out.
Replace them with positive ones.
Accept the facts and make healthy decisions.
Realize you cannot have courage and comfort at the same time. The one you choose says a lot about you and the progress you have made and still need to make. You can do this!!