Encouragement: we really can’t live without it. The problem is that many of us are professionals at finding ways to discourage ourselves with negative thinking patterns.
We can’t live a positive life with a negative mind. My hope is these words will feel like a warm embrace, offering some simple truths for how to encourage yourself starting today.
How to Encourage Yourself In Truth
Raise your hand if this has been a tough season for you.
It sure has been for me. I’ll be honest with you; I’ve wanted to quit on just about everything. I’ve been burnt out, frustrated, lonely, and at times, completely overwhelmed with sadness.
So many of us feel a bit stretched thin right now for different reasons. Spiritual warfare has been off-the-charts.
In these moments of life, receiving a word of encouragement from a friend or loved one is more precious than any other gift.
Sometimes though, you just have to know how to encourage yourself.
If you are finding yourself stuck in a rut of despair, I pray these words will be the encouragement you need to fight the good fight of faith.
Tune in to your thoughts
– Jon GordonNegative thoughts are the nails that build a prison of failure.
You talk to yourself…a lot. All day in fact. How aware are you of what you’re saying to yourself? Are you speaking to yourself the way you would your best friend?
In 2005, the National Science Foundation shared powerful research about how our minds work. It is estimated that the average person has around 12,000 to 60,000 thoughts per day.
According to their findings, around 80% of those thoughts are negative. 95% of those are repetitive thoughts we wrestle with frequently, creating cycles of dysfunction.
Confession: I spend an extraordinary amount of time stuck in my head. Sadly, what goes on in my mind isn’t always a joy party either! Far too often it’s a dance with fear instead.
I’ve learned that negative thoughts are like falling off a cliff.
One wrong thought, one lie, one vain imagination, and suddenly, we find ourselves quickly tumbling down the rabbit hole of defeat, entertaining entire horror movies in our minds.
Our thoughts lie to us all the time. Just because you think it doesn’t make it true. In fact, I argue that believing everything we think can lead to depression, discouragement, and a very unfulfilled life.
If what you’re thinking makes you feel discouraged, afraid, shameful, trapped, insecure, and incapable; those thoughts are garbage, and, should be tossed out as such.
It’s impossible to encourage ourselves while beating ourselves up, or only seeing the negative in our situations. Our minds can’t think 2 thoughts at the same time. We must choose wisely which thoughts we believe and entertain.
In “Telling Yourself the Truth,” William Backus writes, “If you believe something, you’ll act as though you believe it.”
What do you believe about you? Is that belief holding you back or helping you move forward?
Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.— Romans 12:2 (NLT)
- Telling Yourself the Truth: Find Your Way Out of Depression, Anxiety, Fear, Anger, and Other Common Problems by Applying the Principles of Misbelief Therapy
- Battlefield of the Mind: Winning the Battle in Your Mind
We can’t believe everything we think and expect to have a fulfilled, happy, successful life.Tweet
Examine the quality of your relationships
Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.1 Thessalonians 5:11
Just like we have to be mindful of how we speak to and treat ourselves, we also need to choose our friends carefully. I love how 1 Corinthians 15:33 puts it: “Don’t be fooled: “Bad friends will ruin good habits.”
In my post, Baby, You Were Born To Fly,” I shared these words, “Watching someone fly and soar in life isn’t fun when you feel chained to the ground. An unhealthy person will try many ways to steal your flight, your fight, and your song.”
It’s extremely difficult to remain encouraged when we hang around discouraging, negative, people. I have seen this at work in my own life.
Don’t be afraid to set strong boundaries with people in your life who like to tell you who you’re not, what you can’t do, or fuel your own negative self-talk.
When possible, end these types of relationships entirely. You are not anyone’s doormat, remember that.
Love yourself enough to nurture relationships that help you become better (even when their truth is hard to hear), and let go of what makes you bitter.
Tomorrow is a brand new day!
“Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” (Lamentations 3:22-23)
Yesterday may not have gone according to plan. But, yesterday is already in the past and there’s nothing we can do to change or improve it. Even just 1 minute ago is the past.
Each day is a brand new chance. It’s a fresh, clean slate. One of the best ways to encourage yourself is to forgive yourself for what you can’t go back and do differently.
Chances are, you did the best you could in that moment with what you knew or what you had. There’s no use beating yourself up today simply because now you know better.
Encourage yourself by saying, “I can’t go back and change anything, but I do have control over what I do and feel now. Today, I choose joy. Today, I believe that I am worthy of love, success, and all other good things. My past mistakes and poor choices do not define who I am now. I’m moving on from the brokenness and am embracing the wisdom I’ve gained from my yesterdays. Today, I will use that wisdom to be better and do better. “
Turn off and tune out the noise
Distractions are everywhere. Everyone has an opinion they’re convinced you need to hear!
If we’re not careful, our minds become so full of these opinions, and false, fear-based thoughts, that there’s no room for anything good and true.
I encourage you today – take some time to disconnect from all of these voices and distractions. Reconnect with yourself and the still small voice of God on the inside of you.
- Go for a quiet walk in nature
- Read an inspirational book full of helpful advice
- Write down in your gratitude journal all the things you’re thankful for
- Go be an encouragement to someone else. I promise, you’ll be amazed at how much more encouraged you’ll feel, even when nothing has changed yet!
- Rest. Sometimes our motivation and self-encouragement has sunk to all time lows because we are exhausted; emotionally, mentally, and physically. Be kind to yourself and take a break!
- Laugh. A lot.
- Change your routine slightly and do something that fills you with joy
- Sit and just breathe. Meditate and pray. Pour your heart out to Him. Take the time to ask God for a word that will encourage your heart. I promise, He will give it to you!
- Read encouraging Scriptures and pray those promises over your life
When we choose to turn down the chaotic noise of this world, the voice of Truth and peace can speak louder than the voice of our discouragement.
“Out of all the voices calling out to me, I will choose to listen and believe, the voice of Truth.” – Casting Crowns
How do you encourage yourself?
So much could be said on this topic that it’s impossible to cover it all in one post. I do hope to open up a candid conversation.
- Do you struggle to believe in yourself?
- What is your favorite way to encourage yourself when you’re down?
- What advice would you give someone who feels discouraged today?
Don’t give up. Don’t quit. Reach out if you need to. Just don’t give up. God and I believe in you.
Until next time…
All My Love,