Are you your own worse enemy?
The statement “you are your own worst enemy” has always fascinated me. Do you know that you can be your own worst enemy or your own best friend?
Do you Bully You?
I don’t know about you, but if I’m having an ‘off’ day, and I don’t guard what comes out of my mouth, I’m actually quite mean to me!
Whether it’s about the way we look, what we do for a living, our parenting skills, performance as a spouse, or our role at church, most of us verbally ‘bully’ ourselves at times.
We compare and measure ourselves unfavourably to others, and then verbally give ourselves a hard time for not measuring up.
Do you find yourself saying things like, “I’m so clumsy, so stupid, I’m never picked, I’m too old/too young/too fat/too skinny, I have no friends, I’m no good at anything”?
When someone pays you a compliment, instead of just smiling and saying thank you, do you tend to reply with a self put-down?
It’s Not Okay!
Think about it – would you speak to anyone else the way you speak to or about yourself?
Most of us would walk away from a verbally abusive relationship, yet we think it’s okay to speak to and about ourselves in the negative way that we do. If I woke up in the morning and my usually kind, gentle husband said to me “oh wow, look at the state of you! Look at your hair, it looks like a floor mop. And really, you can’t get away with not wearing makeup anymore. You know, I think you’re putting on weight old girl, you need to go on a diet!”
I don’t think I’d be able to even get out of bed that day. Yet I say those things, and more to myself.
I know I’m not alone in this; It’s not okay that we speak to ourselves this way.
How Do you stop being your own worst enemy?
Most of us don’t really mean to bully to ourselves. It’s not something that you consciously decide to do. But if you do it all the time, it becomes a habit.
1. Speaking the “Right Things”
Habits can be unlearned! You can teach yourself the new habit of verbally declaring what God says about you, every time you feel a tirade of verbal self deprecating remarks on the tip of your tongue – even if they’re said in jest. We can start by simply asking God to teach us right habits: “Teach me your ways, O Lord, that I may live according to your truth! Grant me purity of heart, so that I may honor you.” Psalm 86:11
Is my speech honouring God when I’m saying nasty things about myself- the one he created and loves?
In the very next verse it says “for your love for me is very great”
When God deems you and I so greatly loved, why do we declare anything less over ourselves?
2. Fill Your Heart With The “Right Things”
The Bible says that “What you say flows from what is in your heart.” Luke 6:45
So we need to fill our hearts with the right things – God’s Word -to replace the wrong thinking. This means real, ‘meaty’ Bible reading and study. How can we speak the ‘right things’ if we don’t know what those things are? If you find Bible study difficult, there are lots of apps, daily devotional and easy study books available to help you get started – talk to your church leadership and get some recommendations.
3. Ask God to help you ‘zip it’
“Take control of what I say, O Lord, and guard my lips.” Psalm 141:3
A leader in a church I belonged to years ago used to say, if you feel the urge to pass on a bit of gossip, or say anything about anyone, first ask yourself the question “is it true, is it kind, is it necessary?” I would like to take that question and apply it to self deprecating comments as well. If you struggle to keep your mouth zipped, ask God to help you!
4. Know what God says about you
“Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.” Psalm 139:14
“How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered! I can’t even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand!”
Jeremiah 31:3 says that He loves you with an everlasting love.
So, be ‘your own best friend’ today. Start by thanking God for creating you “so wonderfully complex”. Thank Him for his incredible His workmanship. It’s not big-headed to do so. Think of yourself as a wonderfully unique piece of artwork giving credit to the ultimate Artist. There’s no other you. There never has been and never will be again. That’s amazing! And it’s something to be thankful for.