Self Talk

Because of The Feast’s series ‘Unleashed: Breaking Free from the Shackles of Unforgiveness’, I’ve been thinking quite a bit about forgiveness and how heavily it can weigh on us.

Bro. JB Rodriguez shared his story of a forgiving heart while being interviewed by Bro. Bo Sanchez. I did agree with him that when we are hurt, our first instinct may not be to jump at the chance to offer our forgiveness. Sometimes, we just don’t want to forgive someone, period!

It’s the last thing we want to do. Instead, we would rather sit in safety with our dear friends anger and stubbornness.

We face the world with arrogance and empty dreams to fill up our longing for acceptance and love.

Self Talk

Turn down the volume of your negative inner voice and create a nurturing inner voice to take it’s place. When you make a mistake, forgive yourself, learn from it, and move on instead of obsessing about it. Equally important, don’t allow anyone else to dwell on your mistakes or shortcomings or to expect perfection from you.

If forgiveness is such an integral part of finding inner peace, why does it seem like a burden on our to do list?

We tend to think that if we forgive the people who have hurt us, they’re being let off the hook. Even worse- they might do it again.

By forgiving, we become vulnerable once again, which may feel like an invitation to be hurt once more.

The truth is, whether you choose to forgive someone or not you have no control over whether they hurt you.

We cannot control the actions of others, but we can control the actions we carry out in our daily lives.

An empowered heart that offers forgiveness is able to grieve and liberate itself.

Don’t allow yourself to be anchored by anger and resentment.

Try to remember that we are all doing our best, and offer your compassion. Forgive yourself, for it will allow you to forgive others.

You’ll know when you’ve truly forgiven someone because you’ll feel it in every part of you. You’ll feel the sensation of lightness and relief within you once you are ready to forgive.

When we forgive someone, we free ourselves from the pain and anger their betrayal brought onto us. We let go of the resentment that we harbored within ourselves like a guarded ship yearning to set sail.

Seek the positive in the situation. Take the lessons you’ve learned with you, and remember that each experience is a teacher of it’s own kind.

Avoid negative self-talk.

Make a conscious effort to monitor the way you process information. If you are constantly dwelling on past issues and using negative words to describe yourself, or your goals, you must make a habit of retraining your brain.

Self-talk actually sends messages to your subconscious brain to form habits that coincide with what you are thinking.

If you continue to use the same negative self-talk, your subconscious will keep your habits aligned with the familiarity of past (and possibly bad) habits. On the flip side, using positive self-talk aids in reprogramming your brain to start forming goal-oriented habits.

This was our activity for the Awesome Kids Ministry and we encouraged the children to affirm themselves positively.

Positive affirmations are the personal short statements that help to derive desired outcomes.

Below is a list of positive affirmations that will help you get started. We also encourage you to create your own to be specific to your needs.

Self-Belief
I love myself for who I am
• Fear is only a feeling; it cannot hold me back
• I know that I can master anything
• Today I am willing to fail in order to succeed
• I have the strength to make my dreams come true
• I trust in myself
• I am proud of myself for even daring to try
• Today I put my full trust in my inner guidance
• I grow in strength with every forward step I take
• I release my hesitation and make room for victory
• I can do anything I set my mind to do
• I like myself better each day
• I am capable and strong
• I am a winner
• I am a deserving human being
• I am able to easily handle any problem I face

Healthy Body
I enjoy exercising more each day
• I choose to eat healthy food
• Each day I move closer to my ideal weight
• I deserve a trim, beautiful, fit & healthy body
• Today I love my body fully, deeply and joyfully
• My body has its own wisdom and I trust that wisdom completely
• My body is simply a projection of my beliefs about myself
• I am growing more beautiful and luminous every day
• I choose to see the divine perfection in every cell of my body
• As I love myself, I allow others to love me too
• Flaws are transformed by love and acceptance
• Today I choose to honor my beauty, my strength and my uniqueness
• I love the way I feel when I take good care of myself
• Today my own well-being is my top priority

Assertive
I state my feelings with confidence
• I am always treated with consideration and respect
• I believe in and trust myself
• I choose to respond to criticism in a constructive way
• I see criticism as information that empowers me
• I always feel safe and secure on the inside
• I graciously accept compliments from others
• I express my feelings and opinions honestly and openly
• I have a powerful positive mental attitude
• I allow others to make their own choices
• Others may influence my decisions, but the final choice is mine
• I feel powerful and confident
• I know that my potential is unlimited
• My assertiveness enriches my relationships
• I feel comfortable with the decisions I make
• My feelings of self esteem are strong
• My feelings of self worth are strong
• I have high self confidence
• I realize I have the right to change my mind

Success
I easily achieve my goals
• I have absolute faith in my success
• Success in mine to be enjoyed
• I am successful in all that I do
• I have everything I need to succeed
• I am living my dream
• I am experiencing fantastic success
• Today I open my mind to the endless opportunities surrounding me.
• I boldly act on great opportunities when I see them.
• My intuition leads me to the most lucrative opportunities.
• An opportunity is simply a possibility until I act on it.
• Today I see each moment as a new opportunity to express my greatness.
• I expand my awareness of the hidden potential in each experience.
• Each decision I make creates new opportunities.

Self-Love
I am filled with light, love and peace
• I treat myself with kindness and respect
• I give myself permission to shine
• I honor the best parts of myself and share them with others
• I am proud of all I have accomplished
• Today I give myself permission to be greater than my fears
• I am my own best friend and cheerleader
• I have many qualities, traits and talents that make me unique
• I am a valuable human being
• I love myself just the way I am
• I love and forgive myself for any past mistakes
• I look in the mirror and I love what I see
• I recognize my many strengths

Unleashed

We are commanded to forgive others, God is really after our own good. So forgive from the heart and set yourself free.

This is what we shared to the kids last Sunday at the Awesome Kids Ministry service.

Unleashed

Remember, forgiveness is for our benefit. The other person’s behavior may never change. It is up to God, not us, to change others. Our responsibility is to be set free from the pressure and weight of an unforgiving attitude.

We took a bottle of water and some effervescent vitamin tablets.

We encouraged the children to think of someone they need to forgive.
• Someone hit you and pushed you down.
• Someone won’t let you play a game.
• Someone broke something of yours.
• Someone called you an unkind name.
• Someone took what you were playing with and won’t share it.

We talked about how they were hurt. They felt mad.

We encouraged them to ask God to let go of these feelings.

We asked the kids to put a piece of the tablet in the water and the children imagined asking God to help them forgive.

As the bubbles start to come off the tablets, they imagined giving the hurt feelings to God.

The tablets took a while to dissolve, which also illustrated that sometimes it might take a long time to forgive.

The water might also have changed color, which illustrates that it’s not as if the thing that hurt you had never happened, it’s just been changed by God.

For the craft activity, they colored an artwork that reminds them to always be kind and good to others.

I felt God’s embrace every Sunday because of these children.

Their presence affirm God’s abounding graces and mercy.

They taught me more to love and to live life.

A simple activity but has a profound meaning.

It was difficult for me to forgive few years back but I learned to let go.

To more years of serving and loving the children of God!

Balloon

Last Sunday, the Awesome Kids Ministry team taught the children about forgiving oneself.

They enjoyed a short skit and a balloon analogy about forgiveness.

For the craft activity, they made a hot air balloon artwork that reminded them that God sets us free and we must forgive ourselves.

Balloon

Forgiving yourself is far more challenging than forgiving someone else because you must live with yourself and your thoughts 24/7. Despite the challenge, emotionally healthy people must have the capacity to forgive themselves when they have made a mistake.

I was reminded of a sixty-five year-old taxi driver I met few years back. He asked me what I did for a living. I told him I was a former OFW and shared my healing journey.

Like many others who learn of my concerns, he decided to open up about his life to see if I had any advice.

He’d been married for twenty-seven years, and had tried to commit suicide two years prior by overdosing on pills. His wife found his body and helped revive him. He was grateful he didn’t succeed in committing suicide, but said that, though he thinks his wife is a great person, he is not attracted to her. He said that ever since his suicide attempt he had been attracted to many of his passengers and one of these days would like to “take it to the next level.”

I didn’t really want to dwell on his attraction to his passengers, so much as try to get back to his childhood.

Many of the problems we have as adults have their roots in our upbringing. Come to find out, he had a very rough childhood. His parents were alcoholics, which drove him to seek aid and comfort from a male church leader he trusted.

This church leader tried to have an inappropriate relationship with him. So he was cut off emotionally from his parents, and spiritually from the religion that was supposed to sustain him during difficult times.

This sense of being isolated from his social world led him to make many bad choices, starting from a young age. These added up, until he felt like he couldn’t escape from the consequences.

He felt trapped in a prison of his own making, and that’s why he wanted to end his life. I told him that it must be really hard to carry all of these difficulties with him his whole life, but that it was time to forgive others and, more importantly, forgive himself.

I told him to write a letter to himself listing all the things he forgave himself for. Writing is very therapeutic, but it also helps to hear a message. So I wanted him to read the letter out loud to himself and process it aurally as well. Who knows if he ever followed my advice. Many hurting people know what to do, but don’t do what they know.

Sometimes our poor choices stack up, and churn the ground beneath our feet into quicksand.

We must remember to relax, breathe in, and not let our current situation rob us of the will to make changes. Don’t’ wallow in a temporary negativity—take action!

Don’t spend so much time going over the past that you allow it to define you.

Life is full of choices and every choice we make will either take us in a positive, life-giving direction or rob us of the opportunity to be a life-giving individual.

Forgiving ourselves does not let us off the hook, it does not justify what we have done, and it is not a sign of weakness.

Forgiveness is a choice that takes courage and strength.

Let us pray:

Dear Heavenly Father,

I understand that there is nothing to gain by holding myself in unforgiveness and there is everything to gain by releasing myself from unforgiveness and beginning the process of healing.

I want to move forward and make a positive difference in the future. I confess the ungodly accountability, self-abasement, and the vows I have made to never forgive myself. Because Jesus died for my sins, I choose to forgive myself–to no longer punish myself and be angry with myself.

I forgive myself for letting this hurt control me and for hurting others out of my hurt. I repent of this behavior and my attitude. I ask for Your forgiveness and healing.

God, help me to NEVER again retain unforgiveness of myself or others.

Thank you for loving me and for Your grace to move forward with You.

In Jesus’ Name,

Amen.