For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he.
-Proverbs 23:7 KJV
“That’s about 90 percent of my theological life – radical self-care. Put your own oxygen mask on first. I watch the self-talk that goes through my mind, and if I am being critical with myself, I shake myself out of it.”
Have you ever intentionally paid attention to your own self-talk? What do you think about yourself and say to yourself for no one else to hear but you? When you look in the mirror do you think to yourself, “Dang, I look good!” Or do you highlight the cellulite and shame yourself for not looking flawless? Do you end your work day feeling confident about the things you’ve accomplished or do you relive all the mistakes and mishaps? Do you meet someone new and tell yourself you are excited to see what may come of it or do you convince yourself that person would never be into you? When you mess up, do you acknowledge it, receive forgiveness, and move forward? Or do you tell yourself you are awful and unworthy of love?
Even though we aren’t always speaking, we are always talking. In our thinking, we are constantly affirming who we are. Our self-talk frames our identity and shapes our perspective and attitude about the world around us. What we think about ourselves matters, and how we choose to talk to ourselves has the power to awaken our God-given potential or sabotage our sense of worth.
Name-calling is a practice that should be avoided in any relationship. If a spouse constantly called their partner names like “stupid” or “ugly” or “not good enough” or failure” or “idiot” that behavior would be categorized as verbal abuse. And if someone always verbally demeaned their friend, we wouldn’t call them a good friend. In fact, we wouldn’t call them a friend at all!
Negative self-talk is just as toxic to your soul as name-calling and verbal attacking is in a relationship. Starting today, you can begin addressing and eliminating self-talk that lacks empathy and compassion for yourself. Positive self-talk doesn’t mean we ignore our shortcomings and turn a blind eye to our weaknesses. We can be honest with ourselves in our thinking, but we can also always be kind. When we begin to lovingly speak truth to ourselves, we flourish under the nourishment of our own affirmations, displaying in our actions that we understand our worth and are committed to letting the brilliance of Christ shine in us and through us.
This is why it is so important that we continually expose ourselves to the Bible, and grow in our knowledge and understanding of what it says. Within the pages of God’s Word, we gain a deeper understanding of what God says and thinks about us. With this knowledge of truth we become empowered by the Holy Spirit to expose negative self-talk as lies from the enemy, and only then can we renew our thinking to God’s love and will for us. By reading and exploring truth found in the Bible daily, God’s Word continually transforms the way you think about yourself! And when that changes, you truly awaken to your God-given brilliance!
Ready to put this into action and take control of your self-talk?
What’s one negative thinking about yourself you are ready to replace with loving truth? Write it down in your journal or a note card. Then cross out the negative thought and underneath it, write down a Bible verse or passage that declares the loving truth of who you are. Commit this week to intentionally take control of your thinking. Whenever you begin to return to the old negative self-talk, visualize this writing exercise you just did. Remind yourself that this negative self-talk is a lie from the pit of hell. Then tell yourself once again the loving truth of who you really are found in God’s Word.