Several years ago as I was healing from depression I learned a valuable lesson.
One particular day, I was having a really tough time. I felt ugly and unloved and I wanted to just crawl into a hole and never come out. I didn't want the world to see me. Well, I went into the bathroom and saw myself in the mirror. This was at a time that I was learning how to talk to myself nicely - so I stopped mid-self-deprecating-thought and tried to tell myself how beautiful I was.
Here is the tricky part - I WAS not beautiful at that moment!! So telling myself these things was really hard to do. I was still in my sweat pants, my hair was a mess, yesterday's make-up was smeared under my eyes, my shirt was tight around my unflattering mid-section (it was shortly after having a baby - so it was even worse than normal), and I didn't have much to go on for the 'you are beautiful' comments.
I started to think about all of God's creations. He makes them beautiful. In fact, in the Bible I remember reading that he wanted Adam and Eve to care for all the earth. God wanted them (and us) to care for things on the Earth and BEAUTIFY them. This brings God joy.
It reminded me of a rose bush. Roses are already beautiful, just like God designed. However, if they are left uncared for they can get a little out of hand and the thorny branches start growing in every direction. If the branches are pruned and shaped - then even more beautiful roses grow and the bush reaches a potential that it wasn't able to without the grooming process.
I relate this to us. We are already beautiful. However, if we do not care for ourselves and take a moment to beautify ourselves we will not live up to our truly beautiful potential.
Now I am not saying that we should all go get plastic surgery and wear 2 tons of makeup to try to make us perfect... But what I am trying to say is that IF YOU LOVE SOMETHING - YOU TAKE GOOD CARE OF IT. I love my children so I do not neglect their needs. I love my home so I do not let it take care of itself. I love my husband so I serve him where I can.
So here is what I have discovered about making this promise to myself and I have been suprised at the effect it has had on my life
- It has helped with my self confidence. When I do not feel embarrassed or self conscience, it helps to hold my head up high
- It has helped my feelings of self worth. When I view myself as a beautiful creation of God and by taking care of this gift God has given me, I can't help but love myself more.
- It has helped me with depression! In fact, I noticed that on the days where I am really busy or just don't feel like getting ready for the day (because I occassionally still do that), I have a tendency to feel a little more stressed or hopeless than on the other days. I have found that on these days, it helps to stop what I'm doing and
Go to my room.
Do my hair. (even if it is just brushed into a nicer pony tail)
Brush my teeth.
Apply makeup or add lipstick.
Put on some good smelling lotion and deodorant.
And I feel like a 'new' lady!!
I did not truly realize the effect this had on my life until a couple of weeks ago while I was at a book retreat with 5 other ladies. It was afternoon and we were about to eat lunch. I had gone upstairs to get ready (basically what I described above) and when I came down all of them said "Wow! Where are you going?" I replied by saying "Sorry, but I didn't do this for you... I did it for myself." I had been having kind of a bummer of a day and couldn't shake my negativity and it wasn't UNTIL I beautified my outsides that I was able to lift my spirits.
I am a firm believer that our physical and spiritual bodies are intricately combined. We must take care of BOTH of them. I am very grateful for this understanding... it has greatly blessed my life.
Choice. That's what life is about. We always have a choice in life - no matter the circumstance (even if we are only left with a choice to forgive). All choices have consequences. Some good - some not. And what we learn from these consequences creates who we are. Return to www.choicesthatchangeyou.com