Love yourself from the inside out sounds kind of funny to say, but no piece of advice you’ll ever receive about loving YOU will ever be better. This came to me earlier today because I was taking a long look in the mirror and I had a moment that I actually embraced the fullness of how much God loves me. My whole life kinda flashed before my eyes (both good and bad) and I realized how thankful I am for my life, victories, defeats, trials, good, bad, blessings, lessons, and the process. Most of us have heard over and over that God loves us no matter what, He gave his life for us (John 3;16) but I don’t think I’m alone in the boat when I say although I heard that, it really didn’t mean that life changing “ah-ha!” like it should have. For most people, it is extremely difficult to fully comprehend an all loving creator that you can’t see when most of your life most of the experiences you’ve had paint a very different picture about the world. It can be drowning, exhausting, depressing, etc. What we forget most of the time that we as human beings are made up of 3-parts (Spirit, Soul, Body).
A lot of people leave out the Spirit part and say mind and soul which are actually the same thing. Your soul includes your mind because it’s the part of you that your memory, emotions, and free-will are. Your soul is the part of you that experiences the emotional side of your life that your physical body lives. So when your physical body’s life experiences rejection, abuse, hurts, disappointments, pains, etc. the memory of it lives in your soul (your mind). Just because something doesn’t haunt us on a daily basis anymore doesn’t mean that we’re over it. A lot of people experience things and unless you looked very closely or knew what to look for (i.e. close enough to know someone has trust issues) you’d never know that it still exists. So when we find out God loves us, that’s good news and our spirit receives it, but most of us can’t even comprehend what that even really means because our souls are busting at the seams with contrary information. What happens then is our spirit wakes up and begins to try to climb it’s way out of the quicksand of our soul. I use this analogy because this is exactly what it can feel like on the inside when you make a decision to follow Christ but there’s that “thing” that keeps blocking you from experiencing the fullness of it. (We’ll get into the “How thick is your soul’s quicksand” in another article)
We are constantly fed through media outlets “the quick fix” for just about every problem we can create. The truth of the matter is, the quick fix isn’t always the best fix. You can’t put a band-aid on a broken leg. Sometimes the real reason we can’t fully receive God’s love, is because in all honesty we have no idea what love is actually supposed to look like. The hardest person to love, is always going to be yourself. Loving yourself has nothing to do with being conceited or running around in designer shoes with a T-Shirt stating “I woke up like this”. Loving yourself is the inner sense of knowing that you are unique, precious, and irreplaceable to the creator of the universe and He wants nothing but the best for you no matter what has happened, what you’ve done, what you have accomplished, what you’ve failed at, in your brokenness, and in all your flaws He loves you. Loving yourself from the inside out encompasses everything from allowing God into the secret cracks and crevices of your soul, letting him into every memory, hurt, pain, attitude, or poor self images you have collected or been given over the years, all the way to the food you feed your body.We have been mislead thinking the answers to it all was to make it look good on the outside because that’s what everyone sees. What good does it do you to put lipstick on a pig or a fresh hair cut on a bag of rotten garbage? Isn’t it still a pig? Isn’t it still garbage?
Take sometime to really search out the things that have or still hurt you. Be honest with yourself and be honest with God. There is no problem you can bring to him that He can’t or won’t fix, but it has to start with you. When you can begin to see yourself the way God see’s you, the outside will eventually catch up to your inside. The happier you are on the inside will begin to change what’s projected outwardly.
The cycle of relational healing is very similar to the cycle of grieving when someone dies. Unfortunately, many people do not take the time to properly heal before getting into another relationship and then 2 or 3 relationships later, they can’t figure out what’s wrong. Too bad relationships aren’t like taking an exam for a license where you’re forced to wait at least 90-days before taking the test again.
Let’s take a look at the stages of grief as it relates to death (some sites will show you 4, 5, or 7 steps but it’s all basically the same):
1. SHOCK & DENIAL-
You will probably react to learning of the loss with numbed disbelief. You may deny the reality of the loss at some level, in order to avoid the pain. Shock provides emotional protection from being overwhelmed all at once. This may last for weeks.
2. PAIN & GUILT-
As the shock wears off, it is replaced with the suffering of unbelievable pain. Although excruciating and almost unbearable, it is important that you experience the pain fully, and not hide it, avoid it or escape from it with alcohol or drugs.
You may have guilty feelings or remorse over things you did or didn’t do with your loved one. Life feels chaotic and scary during this phase.
3. ANGER & BARGAINING-
Frustration gives way to anger, and you may lash out and lay unwarranted blame for the death on someone else. Please try to control this, as permanent damage to your relationships may result. This is a time for the release of bottled up emotion.
You may rail against fate, questioning “Why me?” You may also try to bargain in vain with the powers that be for a way out of your despair (“I will never drink again if you just bring him back”)
4. “DEPRESSION”, REFLECTION, LONELINESS-
Just when your friends may think you should be getting on with your life, a long period of sad reflection will likely overtake you. This is a normal stage of grief, so do not be “talked out of it” by well-meaning outsiders. Encouragement from others is not helpful to you during this stage of grieving.
During this time, you finally realize the true magnitude of your loss, and it depresses you. You may isolate yourself on purpose, reflect on things you did with your lost one, and focus on memories of the past. You may sense feelings of emptiness or despair.
5. THE UPWARD TURN-
As you start to adjust to life without your dear one, your life becomes a little calmer and more organized. Your physical symptoms lessen, and your “depression” begins to lift slightly.
6. RECONSTRUCTION & WORKING THROUGH-
As you become more functional, your mind starts working again, and you will find yourself seeking realistic solutions to problems posed by life without your loved one. You will start to work on practical and financial problems and reconstructing yourself and your life without him or her.
7. ACCEPTANCE & HOPE-
During this, the last of the seven stages in this grief model, you learn to accept and deal with the reality of your situation. Acceptance does not necessarily mean instant happiness. Given the pain and turmoil you have experienced, you can never return to the carefree, untroubled YOU that existed before this tragedy. But you will find a way forward. You will start to look forward and actually plan things for the future. Eventually, you will be able to think about your lost loved one without pain; sadness, yes, but the wrenching pain will be gone. You will once again anticipate some good times to come, and yes, even find joy again in the experience of living.
You may think it’s crazy to compare it to death but think about it… the ending of a relationship, marriage, or family when love is involved it is a death. It’s a relational death. I know I am not the only person in this world who has experienced every single one of these things during the course of a divorce. When a relationship is breaking apart there are all of the surface parts in play and also the spiritual that many ignore. When you join yourself to another person (even if you only do it once) you become one flesh physically and in the spirit. When that bond is severed, there is unseen emotional and spiritual damage that has been done and needs time to heal. If you do not take time to complete this process? You are setting yourself up for failure and why set your self up if you want to have a relationship that is meaningful again? A lot of divorcees “jump the gun”. I have seen time and time again, folks not even divorced yet and they hop into another relationship because they’re so accustomed to being married that they immediately look for a routine or structure to put themselves back into. Nine times out of ten rebound relationships fail.
Being single is not a disease. We have got to take the time to love ourselves, especially those of us with children who are absorbing everything we do, and everything we don’t do. Don’t worry about what people think or appearances, those things don’t make or break you. God gave you a life that He wants you to live abundantly, especially in love.
Self pity is one of the most destructive forces on earth.
We have all gone through things that have shaped our lives some for good, others not so much. There is healing and freedom for whatever you go through or have gone through, however the only way you can access that FOR REAL is you have got to cancel the pity party.
YOU’RE NOT OVER IT IF:
You are one of those people who doesn’t do something because of something that is associated with a previous hurt, pain or trauma. For instance, when a woman says ” I don’t trust any men” or when a man says “I don’t trust any women”. First of all, all men, all women are not the same and I hate to rock your entire universe, but hunny? If they’re all the same then YOU are the common denominator in that equation of problems and the question now becomes WHY do YOU keep allowing the same kind of person into your life and why aren’t your standards higher? You need some healing and if you don’t get it? You are going to make every relationship that you ever have one miserable place to be.
Every time (or most of the time) anything is said or done that scratches the surface of that thing, here you go. You’re like an emotional slot machine and every time somebody puts a quarter in you talk about it. That victim mentality is GARBAGE. I’m sorry to bust your selfish bubble but EVERYBODY has been a victim of something at sometime and we are all victims of the government. So.. you can either take all that pain and suffering and use it to fuel your fire for good & help others or you can sit around and be a victim the rest of your life. The choice is yours and in case you haven’t heard or have been paying any attention to the state of the world? You don’t have much time left to make that decision….
This blog is multi purposeful right now and I do believe it will be right on time. I think at this point, just about everyone I know (myself included) is going THROUGH IT. Not just like regular things, extra things. The series of unfortunate events that you look up at the sky towards God and scream “UM HELLO? Anytime you’d like to step in now…”
DO YOU TRUST GOD? Ask yourself that seriously. Most of us only kind of do. You trust him because it sounds good, but do you REALLY trust him in your finances? In your marriage? Waiting on a mate? You get the point. What makes something faith is the fact that you can’t see it, you KNOW it. (Hebrews 11:1 Faith is the substance of things hoped for the evidence of things not seen) When you doubt, you kick the door wide open for fear which cripples your faith. You either believe God’s got you, or you don’t. See, don’t confuse faith with your feelings. You don’t always “feel” spiritual, God’s presence, secure, in love, or anything else. Everything in your life especially faith is a choice and a decision. You are under no obligation to trust God at all.
When you ask God for faith, He doesn’t wave a wand and give you faith. Situations begin to present themselves for you to exercise your faith. If you tell God that “if you were rich you’d do this & this.” What good is that? The key to unlocking blessing in your life plain and simple is to be a blessing, especially when it’s harder for you to do. These things make your character. These situations are the very things that turn up the heat and melt your imperfections and make you better. A lesson will keep repeating it’s self until you’ve mastered it.
Your test becomes your testimony. A set back is a set up for something better. If the struggle is real right now? You better thank God and keep your composure because your blessing is on the way. Did you ever stop and think, the outcome of your reward is calculated from your response to the test? Why do you deserve to be rich if you never help anybody now? If we gave you a million, you’d be just as selfish as you are now except with a million dollars & since you don’t care because you’d have a million, is exactly the reason you don’t have it now. We will never understand everything and in case you haven’t noticed, God does not always come when you want him to, but he is ALWAYS on time. He has a highly esteemed reputation for never letting anyone down and He certainly isn’t going to mess that up for you.
There is a lot of people in this world way more messed up then you. The Holidays is a time of year many, many people suffer from suicidal tendencies and depression. An entire town in Connecticut will mourn the anniversary of children who were killed last year, even the children who were hidden in other rooms but heard the shots fired that killed their friends. Pause. Now what exactly was your problem again? I strongly encourage you to muster up some strength & faith, push past the way you feel and be a blessing to someone else. You won’t be sorry you did and whatever it is that’s your issue right now? God’s got it. Promise.