Give Yourself a Break!

God, today let me be as kind to myself as I would be to another of Your children.

Sometimes it’s so easy to be critical of ourselves, beating ourselves up for the problems that occur in our lives. But we should really try to focus on the positives in our lives and not bring ourselves down. If God demands you treat your neighbors as you would be treated yourself, you have to ask, ‘would I say these things to my neighbors that I say to myself?’ Probably not. So don’t beat yourself up.

Beating Yourself Up

“Linda, if beating yourself up were an Olympic sport, you’d win a gold medal!”

Annabel, my close friend, stunned me with that blunt observation after I told her how I had mishandled a situation with a student in a third-grade class where I was substituting. “I should never have let him go to the boy’s room without a pass! It was my fault he got into trouble with the hall monitor! I’m so stupid!”

My friend burst out laughing, and then made her “Olympic” comment. After a brief period of reflection I had to admit that she was right. I did put myself down an awful lot. Why, just during the previous day I had called myself “a slob” for having some papers spread out on my desk, “ugly” when I left the house without makeup and “an idiot” when I left the house for an emergency substitute job without my emergency lesson plan.

In a more reflective tone, Annabel said, “I once took a workshop at church where the woman in charge had us list all the mean things we say about ourselves.”

“How many did you have on your list?” I asked.

“Fifteen,” she confessed. “But then the teacher said, ‘Now turn to the person next to you and say all the items on your list as if you were speaking to that person!’ “

My jaw dropped. “What did you do?”

“Nothing. Nobody did. We all just sat there, until I said, ‘I could never say these things to anyone else!’

“And our teacher replied, ‘Well, if you can’t say them to anyone else, then don’t ever say them to yourself!’ “

My friend had a point. I would never insult a child of God—and I’m God’s child, too!

God, today let me be as kind to myself as I would be to another of Your children.

– by Linda Neukrug