Give yourself some credit…

October 15, 2022

In my church we take time at the beginning of each service to ask for forgiveness for “things that we have done and those things that we have left undone.” I have posted here in the past about the things left undone. The things that we have done that are wrong needs little definition, although sometimes we need help “seeing” those things as wrong.

But what about taking time to reflect and celebrate those things that we did right and the good things that we have accomplished in life. Why do we take so much time focusing upon the negative and not very much on the positives of our lives? There is little or no time set aside for that. I’m not talking about being modest about your accomplishments or not bragging about a success or win in life. Too many of the accomplishments that we have in life go unrecognized even by ourselves. Give yourself some credit.

The parents who successfully raised their children and sent them off in the world prepared to be responsible adults (and those still working on that) should stop and congratulate themselves for a job well done. That was hard work involving a great deal of self-sacrifice that you better than anyone else understand. Congratulate yourself and feel good about that accomplishment. Give yourself some credit.

Individuals who see injustice or prejudice being practiced in schools or in the workplace and who stand up to it need to stop and congratulate themselves for not passively remaining silent or for ignoring those practices. If nothing else, you have exposed those practices and you need to feel good about that. Those who try to ridicule you for being “woke” to those wrongs are a part of the problem. Congratulate yourself for not still being asleep to those wrongs. Give yourself some credit.

Those who volunteer at local non-profits organizations, at community food banks or for events in their communities like parades or festivals seldom expect or get the praise that they deserve, but those events and those community non-profit organizations would not be possible without them. Stop and feel good about yourself for being a volunteer in your community or church. Give yourself some credit.

Sometimes the accomplishment that needs to be celebrated it is just through living your life in such a way that others might be inspired to make changes in their lives by seeing what you are doing. Take time to congratulate yourself for that and to reinforce the resolve to continue down that path in life. Give yourself some credit.

There will be plenty of time to get done the things that you still want to do and perhaps change some things in your life to correct some wrongs; but, for now, take a moment to think about all that you have accomplished to get here and congratulate yourself. You deserve it. Give yourself some credit.

Protecting yourself from this thief…

June 7, 2022

When I saw today’s quote recently, I couldn’t help but think – we can’t help ourselves. But we really can.

“Comparison is the thief of joy”. (Theodore Roosevelt)

Roosevelt added – “It literally steals us away from satisfaction with our own life.”

It is almost impossible for us to not compare ourselves to others – we compare our jobs and pay, our possessions, our families, our positions in the community or at work. Yet those comparisons do not serve us well. Instead of inspiring us to do better; more often than not, they depress us and steal away the joy of what we have already achieved.

In Galatians 6:4-5 we are told – “Each of you must examine your own actions. Then you can be proud of your own accomplishments without comparing yourself to others.  Assume your own responsibility.”

I think that last sentence is the key – assume your own responsibility. In other words, worry about being responsible for your own actions and do not waste your time comparing them to the actions of, and achievements of, others.

If you must compare something that you just accomplished to something else, don’t look at the accomplishments of others; use the sports term “personal best” and compare it to your prior performances or to your own goals for your performance. In individual sports, like track and field events, you will often hear that a runner has just achieved a personal best. You can see that they are happy, even if they didn’t win the race, because they were true to themselves and did their best.

Life can be like that on a day-to-day basis. If one sets out each day to achieve their personal best, one can then reflect at the end of the day, not on what others accomplished around you; but, on where you achieved your personal best and upon what areas upon which you still need to improve, to be your best.

Focusing upon the joy of your own accomplishments also frees you to join into and share the joy of others who may have just also achieved their personal best; maybe they even won the race. Good for them. Be happy for them with them and be happy for yourself, too.

Protect yourself from the thief of comparison and it’s traveling companion – envy. Be proud of your own accomplishments – assume responsibility for yourself.