Do you wrestle with negative self-talk? It’s time to confront the bully – you.

Kim Fredrickson says it’s no different than how we would deal with an exterior bully who is abusing our child at school. A bully in any context needs to be dealt with not as an immovable force, but as someone who is in deep pain. As recovering bullies, we need to learn to give ourselves grace. Kim offers practical principles in her book Give Yourself a Break: Turning Your Inner Critic into a Compassionate Friend.

“Exterior bullies are in pain, and so they’re taking their anger out on other people. But that inner critic inside is in pain too. It would be very depressing every time you make a mistake, every time you goof up, or you feel like you don’t measure up, that you have this constant barrage of criticism and hatred.”

The world speaks to us enough about our faults and failures. God calls us instead to love ourselves and honor our bodies as vessels of the Holy Spirit. Negative thoughts and self-contempt won’t draw us closer to God; instead we need to view ourselves with a balance of grace and truth. Truth admits our failures; grace calls us to fix them and keep maturing in our character.

What is the distinction between self-care and being selfish? It’s a matter of motive.

“It looks backwards, but when we don’t take care of ourselves in a balanced way, we actually become selfish or self-focused. If those normal needs that God has placed in us aren’t met, if they’re not tended to, those needs don’t go away. They get transferred to somebody else. And we actually become selfish trying to get other people to take care of us.”

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 says,

“Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.”

We need to care for ourselves and do things that are life-giving to us so that we don’t make others the source of our fulfillment and meaning.

“If you’re a compassionate friend to yourself, you won’t look to others as your sole source of validation. So you become actually quite selfish [in] looking for how other people are going to meet those needs.”

What steps can you take to practice self-compassion?

Key Scriptures: Isaiah 41:10; Mark 12:28-31

Highlight : Understanding your inner critic

The art of self-care

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