Catching Lightning Bugs in a jar on a late summer evening at dusk! The earthy smell of the country during a late evening drive! The first kiss with that special someone you just knew was THE one! The first time you held that new-born baby! Memories...they can make us sigh. They can make us laugh. They can make us cry. We cherish those memories and we hold them dear.
BUT, what about those memories that aren't so happy? Far too many people have memories they would like to forget. Let me tell you a story to illustrate my point...
Once there were two brothers and they grew up together in a family that was very harsh and critical. They were physically abused and slaps in the face were a common occurrence. Their father was an adulterer and an alcoholic. Their mother was an emotional wreck and she was a very angry person. She would, sometimes, pull a large knife out of a drawer and she would threaten to kill one of them if they didn't stop acting up.
These boys grew up being told how sorry they were and how they would never amount to anything. If they cried for any reason, they would get backhanded across the face and told they were sissies. Any sign of a tear was ridiculed and made-fun-of! They were not allowed to cry.
When they were punished, it would be with a belt, or razor strap, and they would be beaten until they had bloody stripes across their backs and legs. When they went to school, their parents wrote them excuses to get them out of P.E. so no one would see the evidence of their abuse.
The fights between their mother and father were quite terrible. They would hide in the hall closet and listen to the raging and cursing coming from the violent fights. Both parents had violent tempers and they would explode without any reason.You see, we can't choose the kind of environment in which we are raised. We can't choose the kind of parents we have. We can't avoid a lot of the things which happen to us in life. BUT, we CAN choose how we react to those things!
You DO NOT have to be an angry person! You DO NOT have to be so critical of everything! You DO NOT have to hold a grudge against anyone! You DO NOT have to be a bad parent! You DO NOT have to be a bad spouse! If you are any of those things, YOU have chosen to do that! But, you can choose not to do those things any longer! Let me give you five things to help you overcome stumbling blocks that have crippled you emotionally in your life...
Learn Forgiveness! You are not responsible for the things that have been done to you but you ARE responsible for how you choose to react to those things. Learn to forgive those who have wronged you. An unforgiving heart only hurts you, not the one who wronged you. Most of the time, they don't even KNOW you are mad and angry. You will, truly, be surprised how good life can be after you set that grudge down and never pick it up again!
Learn to Like Yourself! People who experience unwholesome things in their life always suffer from low self-esteem. Somehow, it is THEIR fault. Somehow, THEY were the cause of it! They believe all the cruel things that were said about them. Learning to overcome low self-esteem is a whole book in itself and we will get to writing more about it some time, but for now, just remember, you ARE NOT who other people say you are. You are who YOU choose to be and you should choose to be the person who always takes the higher road. You ARE a good person!
Learn to Speak Only the Truth! "Man, am I stupid!" "I'll never be a success!" "I'll never be as pretty as her!" Wrong! Wrong! Wrong! That is low self-esteem talking and you need to stop that right now! We bring into action those things which we speak out loud so you should only say positive things. Did you know your mind believes what it is told over and over again? That is where your low self-esteem comes from. You were told things over and over until you started believing them. Well, you can make HUGE changes in your life by what you tell yourself now! Pay attention to what you say and make changes where necessary. This will make a huge difference in your life.
Learn to Stop Being Critical! YOU don't like having low self-esteem so why are you giving it to your kids, spouse or anyone else? Think of the impact you are having on other people's lives. Words are a VERY powerful thing so you should use them wisely. Just like everything else, what you say to people is a choice YOU make. Choose to be uplifting. Choose to be complimentary. Choose to speak words of caring and love. Remember what I said about bringing into action those things which we speak out loud? It is VERY important that you choose your words carefully. Get into the habit of thinking about what you are going to say instead of just blurting out something reactively.
Learn to Walk a Mile in Someone Else's Shoes! Now stop that! You know it's just an expression! Seriously, try to see things from the other person's perspective. You will be well on your way to enjoying life when you can look at things from another person's point-of-view. You will find yourself becoming less angry. You will find yourself becoming less judgmental. You will find yourself viewing life with a freshness you have never known before. Actually, you will find yourself!
You see, it's not the environment we are raised in that determines who we are. It's not what our parents are like that determines who we are. It's certainly not what people say about us that determines who we are! We are who we CHOOSE to be. Some people live their whole lives blaming their present on their past. What a sad and wasted life that must be! Instead of blaming your parents, forgive them! Instead of blaming your poverty, learn from it! Instead of blaming your physical disabilities, overcome them!Oh, I almost forgot about those two boys in the story. Whatever happened to them you ask? One of them went to college, got his doctorate degree and he is now a Chaplain at Baylor Medical Center in Dallas, Texas. The other one just wrote this article!