Ever wonder if you are strong enough for this world? I mean, have you ever wondered if you can truly cut it? I have. I’ve had so much performance anxiety that I couldn’t seem to put one foot in front of the other. But how are we to get tougher and stronger? How can we do more than survive in a world filled with high achievers, extroverts, and everyday pressures to reach and exceed everyone else’s expectations for our lives?
Here are a few thoughts that might help:
Stop and Recognize that You are Not Alone. The Prophet Isaiah wrote in his book, that we should, “fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” But that seems so ethereal that we normal humans might never attain its promise. But here’s the deal. God, your Creator has promised to never leave you alone, dangling in the wind. That is why He has graciously given us His Spirit to remind us that He is with us and we have nothing to fear. The question is this. Have you worked so hard at trying to understand God, that you stopped just trying to know God? The promises of God are so powerful, but they are only as powerful to us individually as we allow them to be. Trust that you are not alone.
Build Connectivity into Your Daily Life. Want to get stronger? Want to build resilience into your life? Get connected to other people of faith. When we face difficulties, the folks that we’re connected to can help carry us. When we’re hit by fear or anxiety, it is the people we are connected to that give us a proper perspective. They can help us see life in ways we might not see on our own. When we mess up, they are the friends that can correct us and display grace and mercy. They are the people that help remind us that we are deeply loved. And they are the people that display and share that love, in spite of all our failures. These things are hard to do on our own.
Battle Negative Self Talk and Practice Positive Self-Talk. We humans are crafted with a negativity bias. The negative bias is our tendency not only to register negative stimuli more readily, but also to dwell on these events. Negativity bias means that we feel the sting of a negative remembrance or event more powerfully than we feel the joy of a positive experience. That is why we speak to ourselves more in a negative voice than a positive voice. Did you know that the person that you speak to the most is you? If you speak enough negative thoughts to yourself, you will inevitably believe them! How do we beat this spiral of downward emotions? We insert a few key elements into our self-talk. Start by following one simple rule: Don’t say anything to yourself that you wouldn’t say to anyone else. Be kind and encouraging with yourself. If a negative thought enters your mind, evaluate it rationally and respond with affirmations of what is good about you. Think about things you’re thankful for in your life. If at this point in this article, you are thinking that you are not affected by your negative self-talk, stop and think about how many times you refer to yourself negatively, like in “I’m so dumb. How could I let that happen to me. What an idiot?” These were taken straight from my evaluation of my own negative self talk – YIKES!
Here are a few steps to keep in mind:
- The Divine made not one single mistake when He created you.
- Remember That Thoughts and Feelings Aren’t Always Reality.
- Contain Your Negativity. Stop it before it gets away from you. Negativity is like an avalanche.
- Cross-Examine Your Inner Critic. Is that really true?
- Think Like a Friend. Come on now. It’s not that big of a crisis. Let’s talk it through.
- Shift Your Perspective. What are my present options?
- Say It Aloud. Call it out and deal with it, rather than stewing on it.
Friends, we have to get a bit stronger and tougher to thrive in our harsh world, but you can do this! In the power of the risen Christ, you can do this! Remember, you are not and never alone!
Build Connection and Community into Your Life! Connectedness ruggedizes us and restores us. And learn the Value of Positive Self Talk that will Counter Balance Your Inner Negativity Bias.