I was listening to a podcast this morning and they were talking about going through hard times in life. There was one line that they said that caught my attention and I keep going over it in my head today. It was “how you treat your heart will be the way you treat others”. I started to think about that. It takes a minute to really understand what they are saying. They were using the example of speaking unkindly to other people, specifically those closest to you. This woman said she had been unkind to her husband and she felt bad about it. She left her house and went for a walk to clear her head and talk to God. She was asking him why she often spoke unkindly to her husband and kids and trying to figure out why she does that. God said to her, “love yourself and then you can love others.” She then said that “how you treat your heart will be the way you treat others”. That really struck me. I don’t always speak kindly to my family. It’s one of those things that I work really hard on and just don’t seem to make progress in. I am sure all of you have something you work and work on and just can’t seem to conquer. Mine is my tongue. It’s not so much what I say, but the attitude behind it. I really wish I could do better, but I realized today that it’s because I speak that way to myself. I am not always kind to myself, in fact not very often. I am overly critical and harsh with myself. I am sure I am the only one like that….right? We are all kind to ourselves (insert sarcasm) Anyway, I don’t have healthy self talk. I knew this already, but I never thought of it as a reason why I am harsh with other people sometimes. It really motivates me to do something about it.
What has really made me realize my flaw is hearing ugly things come out of my children’s mouths. They are not always kind with their siblings and I fuss at them about it. Then I realize that they get it from me. That was really not easy to accept. Really difficult actually. That means not only do I have to un-train them in their bad behavior but I have to deal with mine as well. Ugh. I’ve been working on it but not been very successful, I will confess. Now I realize why. It’s because I need to fix my internal conversations with myself first. Then I can fix what comes out of my mouth.
Sometimes in Christian circles we teach people to put themselves last. In fact, most of the time we do. I agree that we should be putting others needs above ourselves, however I think it can lead to negative self speak sometimes. That is not what God intended. He wants us to be selfless, but not self haters. There is a difference. Be kind to yourself and be mindful of the words you say to yourself. You cannot be kind to others if you aren’t kind to yourself.