The Heart We Are Breaking When We Lie About Our Self

One day I overhead one of my children putting them self down. In an angry voice saying they were no good and stupid.

Well, that raised my hackles faster than anyone putting me down.

I paused outside the partially opened door. Trying to calm down. Take a few breaths. So, fire would not emerge when I spoke.

Slowly I opened the door and saw my child heaped on the floor in a pile of self-pity and anger.

How the lies of negative self-talk hurt more than just us.How the lies of negative self-talk hurt more than just us.“What’s wrong?” I asked.

“Me. I am so stupid.”

“No, you are not,” I countered. Sitting down and pulling them to my lap.

“Yes, I am.”

“Why would you say that?”

“Because I am. I got those math problems wrong and I should have gotten them right.”

“Who says?”

They looked at me.

“Well,” I said. “I am your momma and I birthed you and I say you are smart, kind, a joy, and so precious. You are such a blessing to me and others.”

“Really?”

“Yup. So, you got a few math problems wrong. That doesn’t make you stupid. Those can be redone. We can learn what we don’t know. Not knowing something happens to all of us.”

“I guess.”

“But here is the part that hurts me the most.” I paused. “Not the math problems. But you lying to yourself. You saying you are stupid and no good. That lie about breaks my heart.”

“Why?”

“Because it is false. As your momma, I hear you say those words and it breaks my heart. Probably because you are telling yourself a lie. And maybe even believing it. And maybe because I am your momma and I know you so well. In a way I feel like you are part of me and when you call yourself stupid and no good, I feel like it is my fault and I am too.”

I don’t know about you, but to this day, when I hear one of children say something hurtful and untrue to themselves, it breaks my heart.

It doesn’t happen often, but if I hear them, my first instinct is to yell, “stop!”

“Stop lying to yourself. Stop putting yourself down.”

I don’t often say it, but sometimes I am thinking, “Stop, because it hurts me to hear you say that.”

How the lies of negative self-talk hurt more than just us.How the lies of negative self-talk hurt more than just us.How the lies of negative self-talk hurt more than just us.

The Lies we Believe.

 

Kids give us new awareness. New understanding.

One day I was calling myself stupid out loud. Thinking no one was around. Frustrated with how events were unfolding and realizing how little control I have when it comes to daily life turning out the way I wish.

My child heard me.

“Mom!” they said. “That is not true. Remember you are not to tell yourself lies.”

Well, they had been listening. And were now preaching back at me when I needed it.

“Be nice to yourself.” They reminded me with a hug.

How the lies of negative self-talk hurt more than just us.How the lies of negative self-talk hurt more than just us.

The lies we tell ourselves.

 

We have this habit of telling our self lies. Of putting our self down. Of criticizing our self according to the standards of another, or our own.   Sometimes we even engage in destructive behavior.

What would our children, friends, and mates think if they heard the voices and thoughts in our head? If those voices were said aloud?

Probably their hearts would break, and they would say, “Be nice to yourself.”

“Quit lying to yourself.”

“Don’t believe those lies. ”

And we would say something similar back to them.

Because friends don’t let friends put themselves down.

How the lies of negative self-talk hurt more than just us.How the lies of negative self-talk hurt more than just us.

The heart that breaks when we tell our self lies.

 

Since that conversation where I thought my heart would break when I heard my child calling them self no good and stupid, I have wondered what does God think when we say similar things about our self?

We are his children. His creation. His beloved.

How this must break his heart.

How he must want to tell us to stop.

Stop with the lies.

Stop with the hate directed at our self.

Stop with the disgust directed at our self.

Stop comparing our self to unrealistic standards and feeling like failures.

Stop. Because his heart is breaking for us.

All the while pulling us into his lap and stroking our hair.

 

Remember this.

We are his beloved children.

He never hands out disgust, shame, condemnation, or incrimination.

Instead he hands us grace. Love. Truth. A sunset. A laugh. And other good gifts.

How the lies of negative self-talk hurt more than just us.

Prayer: Lord, help us to see ourselves through your eyes. As your creation. To know deep in our hearts, we are your beloved child – no matter what we do or say, or how we feel. You will never leave us, shame us, or condemn us. We are yours and have been bought at a great price. Help us receive your grace and love as the true gifts they are. Amen

How the lies of negative self-talk hurt more than just us.

Thanks for stopping by. Keep remembering what’s important.

Theresa


Having trouble enjoying life? Reconciling your current reality with how you wish life really was? Get a free PDF with 12 tips to help you enjoy your life right now. Subscribe and join the journey. You will also receive weekly encouragement and hope tied up with some humor. Because life is sweeter when we walk alongside one another.


Join the Discussion: How do you feel when a loved one puts them self down? What is your first instinct?

 

How the lies of negative self-talk hurt more than just us.May link up at Kelly Balarie (#purposeful faitht), Crystal Storms (#HeartEncouragement), Maree Dee (#Grace & Truth), Anita Ojeda (#inspirememonday), and Mary Geison (#tellhisstory).

How the lies of negative self-talk hurt more than just us.

How the lies of negative self-talk hurt more than just us.

Reframing the Truth in an Old Story

Monday afternoon my left eye started hurting.

Not bad. Just a dull ache with a need to blink it more. Then a feeling it wasn’t focusing quite like it should.

I ignored it, until that evening when I happened to catch a glimpse of it in a bathroom mirror. I recoiled at my bright red and angry eye.

Urgent care diagnosed it as pink eye.

I started the drops that evening yet kept waking up throughout the night because of eye pain.

The next morning was better, but by mid-afternoon, my eye had pretty much gone on strike.

I called my sister.

“I have pink eye,” I whined.

She was sympathetic.

Sitting on the couch, talking about nothing really, I realized I was scared. Thoughts of having pink eye as a teen were pushing themselves to the front of my brain. And they were not pretty.

I didn’t realize it then, but the past and present were starting to collide. A perfect storm was beginning to brew. A storm that would influence my thoughts, fears, ideas, emotions, and actions more than I would care to admit.

The past influences our present life until we start talking about the past, asking questions, and reframing the story to include new truths.

 

The past influences our present life until we start talking about the past, asking questions, and reframing the story to include new truths.
The past influences our present life until we start talking about the past, asking questions, and reframing the story to include new truths.The past influences our present life until we start talking about the past, asking questions, and reframing the story to include new truths.The past influences our present life until we start talking about the past, asking questions, and reframing the story to include new truths.
Reframing the truth in an old story, with a little help.

 

“Remember when I had pink eye as a teen? Maybe at 12 or 13?” I ask.

“Oh yes,” she answers. “I felt sorry for you. Mom said you were contagious, so I stayed away from you.”

“I can’t believe she never took me to the doctor,” I sigh. “Each day I woke up unable to open my eyes because they were so crusted. I would stumble down the hall and try to get water on them and pry them open. I remember losing all my eye lashes and being embarrassed for months.”

“Oh Theresa,” she murmurs, like a good listener.

“Do you remember I had it for two or so months because I kept infecting myself?”

After a month of pink eye, I thought I was cured. But then a cycle of off and on again developed. I would get better for about 3 days a week, then get it again for about 4 days. This cycle kept repeating itself. I kept wondering what was wrong until my piano teacher, on a day when I was well enough to go, said I needed to change my pillow case because I was re-infecting myself. I changed my pillow case and never got it again.

“I am so sorry,” she says. “Mom should have helped you. It was irresponsible of her.”

I start to open my mouth to defend mom, to say she was probably too busy, but instead, replay my sister’s words through my grey matter. ‘Mom was irresponsible.’

I had never connected this idea to this story. “I guess she was,” I say.

“She was not only irresponsible, she was being selfish,” my sister adds.

I want to shrug it off, but I slowly realize she is right.

“I remember feeling sorry for you, lying for weeks in your bedroom, unable to come outside and play that summer.”

Suddenly I am back in the bedroom. “I couldn’t read, or watch TV, or even spend time with the family because the light hurt my eyes. I spent hour after hour in my bed with my curtains drawn tight.”

“It was wrong,” she adds. “Mom should have helped you. Should have changed your bed and pillowcase. Taken you to the doctor. ”

“We all know mom isn’t a good care giver.”

I feel frustration in my sister’s voice. “Theresa, she wasn’t being a good mom. Tell me, what would you have done if your daughter had pink eye and couldn’t open her eyes in the morning? You would have been in there with warm washcloths, oil, or something to help her unstick her eyes. You would have been helping her.”

And with a sinking feeling, I realize she is right. That mom was to selfish and preoccupied, or what ever excuse you want to make, to see me and my situation and help me. I was the one who had to change my pillowcase and clear my eyes and help myself.

My sister is right.

If my daughter had pink eye, I would have been taking her to the doctor. Washing her eyes for her. Getting her books on tape. Spending half the day in the bedroom with her. Doing everything I could to help her.

The past influences our present life until we start talking about the past, asking questions, and reframing the story to include new truths.The past influences our present life until we start talking about the past, asking questions, and reframing the story to include new truths.

 

The past and present collide.

 

Over the next several days, I thought about my sister’s words. Especially as my eye got worse and I began experiencing stabbing eye pain and extreme light sensitivity.

It turned out I didn’t have pink eye. An ophthalmologist took a look inside my dilated eye and said I had a dangerous infection inside my eyeball. He gave me new drops to take every hour.

I got home from the ophthalmologist and my left eye, which had been dilated twice in two and a half days, refused to even open. I lay in bed that afternoon. Sleeping. Trying to avoid the emotional and physical pain that was threatening to pull me under.

Finally, I got up, wandering around in a dark house where every curtain and shade was drawn to stop the stabbing pain, which light caused. My eye still would not stay open more than a few seconds.

I did the loop through the house several times. Trying not to think. Feel.

And as I circled through the kitchen yet again, my left hand over my left eye, I began crying.

All I could think about was when I had pink eye and how miserable I had been. How I had been confined to my bedroom because the light hurt my eyes. Memories I hadn’t remembered experiencing, rushed back like a powerful wind

I was angry at my mom for treating me that way. For being indifferent to me and my suffering and expecting me to take care of myself. For being so preoccupied with her own life she didn’t see my pain or care that I was lying in a dark bedroom day after day. I was angry that I had to deal with and treat my own pink eye, when I didn’t know what to do.

And as I sobbed, I realized I didn’t deserve the treatment I had received.

I had never questioned the pink eye incident, until my sister had asked me how I would have treated my daughter if she had pink eye. Now I was seeing the incident through my adult eyes. Not my child eyes of accepting everything-as-it-comes-viewpoint and thinking that was just the way it was.

I sobbed at the pain mom’s indifference had caused. And how I had just blindly accepted it, thinking silently it was all I deserved.

And I sobbed because now I was stuck in a dark house until who knew when, with a pain riddled eye that wouldn’t even function like it should.

The past influences our present life until we start talking about the past, asking questions, and reframing the story to include new truths.The past influences our present life until we start talking about the past, asking questions, and reframing the story to include new truths.

 

What to do when the past and present collide.

 

Ther purpose of this story is not to scare you about eye problems, make you sad, or to garner your pity for my pink eye and eye infection, incident.

The purpose is to remind you that sometimes the past comes crashing into the present and it knocks us off our feet and sends us down the drain of emotions we were not expecting. Often, we are not prepared for them or even want to deal with them. And yet, there they are, making their presence known. They are like growling and hungry dogs who do not want to back off from their prey.

My eye infection incident would have been smoother and less traumatic if the past pink eye memories had not come crashing through the door and knocked me over and caused me to doubt the truth of an old story.

And my guess is this happens to you. Because it is part of life. A comment causes more pain when it reminds us of past hurtful comments. A rebuff by a friend stings worse when we remember past rebuffs by other friends. Even if they are from 25 years ago. And an injustice feels magnified and to heavy to carry when it brings up painful memories of past injustices that occurred to us.

When this happens, we need to question why this happening and what is influencing our feelings and emotions. Because often the strong emotions or feelings that we are experiencing are being driven by some story from our past. Some past event, memories, injustice, or other catalyst.

Running from the strong feelings and emotions won’t help us deal with them and heal from them. What will work, is stepping back and tying the two together so we can begin to see how the past is influencing our present.

If possible, talk to someone who can help untangle the truth from the lies. Someone who will help you reframe the story. See the story in a different perspective. And remind you of the truth. (Just like my sister gently did.)

Isn’t that what God does for us? He reminds us we have a purpose. That he loves us. That our story is far from finished. That he is rewriting our story. And no matter what, he is on our side.

When we apply his words to our life, they separate the lies from truth and helps us focus on what matters.

The past influences our present life until we start talking about the past, asking questions, and reframing the story to include new truths.The past influences our present life until we start talking about the past, asking questions, and reframing the story to include new truths.

Seven ways to deal with the past and present colliding.

 

1. Pay attention to the past and present colliding. Take time to think about the two and see connections. Masking the hurt or running away from the hurt will only delay the healing.

2. Try and figure out how the past is influencing the present. Ask questions. Why? What belief or self-truth am I dealing with? How does the past make me feel and how is it still making me feel today? What can I do about it? How can I deal with it? How can I put the past to rest?

3. See the past story through the eyes of another person. This is why talking to someone is so important. They will question and see things you don’t. They will remind you of what is normal and what is not.

Trying to see the story through a character of your story is also helpful. This can help us realize that the person we thought was the villain wasn’t as much a villain as a victim or a hurting person themselves. It also makes it easier to forgive them.

4. Reframe the story so it is now closer to the truth. Retell the story and now add you new awareness or truth. Doing so often allows us to shower both ourselves and other participants in the story with compassion and grace. (It can also help us choose a different path when confronted with a similar scenario.)

5. Pray about it and ask God to heal the hurt.

6. Allow yourself to grieve and heal.

7. Use the incident to better understand yourself and others.

When we talk to the right people, ask ourselves questions, and reframe the story, we can begin to diminish the power the past has on our present. We also better understand the influence the past has on us.

The past influences our present life until we start talking about the past, asking questions, and reframing the story to include new truths.

P.S. My eye started feeling better in a few days, and is on its way to a full recovery.

Thanks for stopping by. Keep remembering what’s important.

Theresa


Having trouble enjoying life? Reconciling your current reality with how you wish life really was? Get a free PDF with 12 tips to help you enjoy your life right now. Subscribe and join the journey. You will also receive weekly encouragement and hope tied up with some humor. Because life is sweeter when we walk alongside one another.


Join the discussion: What helps you when the past and present collide in your life?

The past influences our present life until we start talking about the past, asking questions, and reframing the story to include new truths.

May link up at Kelly Balarie (#purposeful faitht), Crystal Storms (#HeartEncouragement), Maree Dee (#Grace & Truth), Anita Ojeda (#inspirememonday), and Mary Geison (#tellhisstory).

The past influences our present life until we start talking about the past, asking questions, and reframing the story to include new truths.

The past influences our present life until we start talking about the past, asking questions, and reframing the story to include new truths.

Why It’s Hard to Be a Gracious Receiver

At the convenience store tucked along a corridor of the Atlanta airport, I am next in line to pay for my bottles of water and packages of string cheese.

I un-tuck the water from my arms and hand her my credit card. She swipes the card.

“Denied,” she says.

She swipes it again.

“I’m sorry,” she says, handing me the card. “It’s been denied twice.”

My mind races. My purse with other cards is back at the gate.

“Does it say why?” I ask.

“No.”

Then I remember how we are headed out of the country. “Must be because of the travel notification I placed on the card saying we would be out of the country starting today,” I say. Trying to explain it to myself and her.

I mumble, embarrassed, that I will return with another card.

But when I arrive at the gate, the plane is beginning to board.

“Forget the water,” my husband says, “we will be boarding soon.”

I gather my backpack and wait for our section to be called.

I notice a lady is standing nearby, handing me a plastic bag. “This is yours,” she says.

I glance at her and the bag. I’ve seen neither before. And I must look confused.

“It’s your water,” she says, holding the bag closer. “We are on the same flight. I heard about your card and got it for you.”

I smile and thank her. Then she is gone, gathering her own items for boarding.

My son steps up. “Mom, what’s in the bag?”

I tell him about trying to buy the water, my card being denied, and the lady paying for my purchases and bringing them to me.

“That’s so nice,” he says.

And it is. She didn’t need to do it. But what a blessing that she did. Her kindness lifts my spirits and I feel taken care of. Seen.

But I also feel a bit weird. Like maybe I need to rush over and hand her cash to refund her.

Or find something to do for her.

For a second, I wonder what I did to deserve this.

Why is it harder to receive gifts, than give gifts. Stop being critical of them or yourself. Receiving gifts graciously is a gift we can give the giver.Why is it harder to receive gifts, than give gifts. Stop being critical of them or yourself. Receiving gifts graciously is a gift we can give the giver.Why is it harder to receive gifts, than give gifts. Stop being critical of them or yourself. Receiving gifts graciously is a gift we can give the giver.

What are your internal thoughts when receiving?

 

Probably something similar has happened to you.

Someone passing on a little kindness.

Blessing your day.

Seeing you need help.

Stopping to notice you for a moment.

And I am sure you do, and have done, random act of kindness for others.

But what are your thoughts and how do you feel when someone gives you something?

Gratitude? Or embarrassment?

Thankfulness? Or thinking you don’t deserve it?

Amazement? Or wondering what they want in return?

Happiness? Or thinking there is something wrong with the person to give you something?

Why is it harder to receive gifts, than give gifts. Stop being critical of them or yourself. Receiving gifts graciously is a gift we can give the giver.Why is it harder to receive gifts, than give gifts. Stop being critical of them or yourself. Receiving gifts graciously is a gift we can give the giver.

 

Why it’s hard to be a gracious receiver.

 

If you are like me, you are a doer. And probably feel best when you are the one doing the act of kindness.

Maybe because then we feel like we are in control. (We decide where, who, when, etc. )

Maybe because it is a bit scary to be on the receiving end. (What if we don’t like what they are giving? Or would rather do it our self? Or have someone else do it?)

Maybe we don’t want to be indebted to others. Or think strings will be attached.

Maybe we see receivers as selfish, and we don’t want to be selfish.

Maybe we feel we don’t deserve the thing given. Or haven’t earned it.

Maybe we have heard the verse, it’s better to give than receive, and we want to be the givers. (They do sound more important, don’t they?)

Maybe we just have a hard time receiving due to our childhood, feeling of worth, background experiences, or our thoughts on giving and receiving.

Whatever the reason, my guess is that some people would rather be on the giving end. And they have a hard time being on the receiving end.

Why is it harder to receive gifts, than give gifts. Stop being critical of them or yourself. Receiving gifts graciously is a gift we can give the giver.Why is it harder to receive gifts, than give gifts. Stop being critical of them or yourself. Receiving gifts graciously is a gift we can give the giver.

Learning to graciously receive gifts from others.

 

It can be hard to be on the receiving end. I would rather give than receive.

One Christmas season I was mainly in bed due to morning sickness. I was worried my husband would forget to get me a gift. And then when he gave me a ring, which I thought was rather extravagant, I was worried that he spent too much. And of course, said so. Taking some of his joy as the giver.

You see, I wanted a gift, but on my terms and guidelines. (Which isn’t very nice to the giver, because if they don’t do it right, according to us, then we can get blamed for not doing it right).

Over the years, I have come to realize I need to do a better job at receiving gifts. To receive them with without feeling indebted. To receive them joyfully.

I know I don’t want to do acts of service for others and then get grilled about my gift

Be questioned about my motives.

Be told it was unnecessary. A waste of money or time. Or told I did it wrong.

And neither do others.

It leaves a sour taste in the giver’s mouth, and our prideful mouth too.

We need to learn to be appreciative and gracious receivers.

Take the focus off our self and put it on them. They don’t give gifts or do things for us because we earned it or deserve it. But because they want to.

When our five-year-old gives us a back rub that feels like a tickle fest on our back, say thank you.

When a friend brings us a dinner of minestone soup, when we had a hankering for fried chicken, tell them what a blessing they are.

When someone motions for us go first at the four-way stop, graciously nod your head and go first.

When someone gives us what we consider an extravagant gift, stop your mouth from saying anything unkind. A thank you, a big hug, and a smile will do.

When someone offers to babysit, say yes and thank you.

When your kid throws their arms around you and says they love you, quit thinking about how you are not a good enough mom, and love them back.

Learn to receive the gift without scorn, guilt, embarrassment, or thinking they should not go to all that trouble.

Why is it harder to receive gifts, than give gifts. Stop being critical of them or yourself. Receiving gifts graciously is a gift we can give the giver.Why is it harder to receive gifts, than give gifts. Stop being critical of them or yourself. Receiving gifts graciously is a gift we can give the giver.

 

We need both, so be a grateful receiver.

 

My dad used to say, “We need receivers for there to be givers.”

He was a giver. He did for others. Served at church. Fixed wash machines of single mothers. Gave gas money for families in need. Took his neighbor grocery shopping. Listened to people no one had time to listen to.

I know it was hard for him to be on the receiving end of someone doing for him. He was lecturing himself too.

But he was right. If we were all givers, who would be receiving? And without receivers, how would the givers be blessed?

We want to be gracious receivers.

Receivers of the gifts from those around us.

Receivers of God’s free gifts. Which can most definitely seem extravagant. (Especially on our not so good days.)

He gives grace, not scorn. Forgiveness, not condemnation. Blessings not curses. Good, not bad gifts.

Not because we deserve them. Or have earned them. But because he loves us. Wants to shower them on us. Because he sees us and knows us intimately. Because he sees us through Christ’s worthiness and work. Because we are part of his family.

Let’s be grateful receivers. It’s one of the best gifts we can give the giver.

Joyful for what we are given.

Why is it harder to receive gifts, than give gifts. Stop being critical of them or yourself. Receiving gifts graciously is a gift we can give the giver.

 

Thanks for stopping by. Keep remembering what’s important.

Theresa


Having trouble enjoying life? Reconciling your current reality with how you wish life really was? Get a free PDF with 12 tips to help you enjoy your life right now. Subscribe and join the journey. You will also receive weekly encouragement and hope tied up with some humor. Because life is sweeter when we walk alongside one another.


Join the discussion: How do you feel on the receiving end? What has someone done for you that surprised you?

Why is it harder to receive gifts, than give gifts. Stop being critical of them or yourself. Receiving gifts graciously is a gift we can give the giver.

May link up at Kelly Balarie (#purposeful faitht), Lori Schumaker (#Moments of Hope), Crystal Storms (#HeartEncouragement), Maree Dee (#Grace & Truth), and Kristin Hill Taylor (#porchstories).

Why is it harder to receive gifts, than give gifts. Stop being critical of them or yourself. Receiving gifts graciously is a gift we can give the giver.

Why is it harder to receive gifts, than give gifts. Stop being critical of them or yourself. Receiving gifts graciously is a gift we can give the giver.