It is possible to be so self absorbed that we are not self-aware. If we are not self-aware we cannot administer self-control. We cannot control what we are not aware of. Being self-aware is about administering self-control. Self-control is ultimately about us fully assuming responsibility for what is going on inside of us and what is coming out of us, whether that is our words, tone, actions, reactions, body language and even facial expressions. If I am going to take what Jesus said about loving God, loving myself and loving my neighbor seriously I will have to pay attention to my own needs. Loving yourself starts with ascribing the proper value to yourself. You are priceless because of the price Jesus has paid for you. That is the foundation of your value.
We care for things according to their value or perceived value, so understanding your value is essential.
Because you are valuable and because Jesus loves you, you should love you. This basic biblical understanding helps to create a new awareness in you that is christian and God honoring not humanistic and narcissistic. This awareness allows you to properly care for yourself. When you understand what you need to thrive in this life you can properly take care of yourself. Then and only then can you help add value to others. It’s hard to add value to others if you feel worthless yourself. It’s hard to practice the art and science of objectivity with others if you are not self-aware. It’s hard to have compassion for others if you are so numb that you can put yourself in their shoes. When you value yourself you can care for yourself and then you can administer self-control and have a good relationship with yourself and others. Understanding self-awareness can be transformational. If you change the way you relate to yourself you can change the way you relate and respond to others. You can start this process by becoming more aware of the way that you speak to yourself. Often we say things to ourselves that we would not say to or about others. So watch what you put in yourself and watch how you speak to and about yourself. In this short Facebook live video below I share some practical metrics to self-awareness. Click here to watch.
Comfort does not produce change or growth but challenges do. If you are not being challenged you are not growing. We need friends that pick us up when we fall, correct us when we are wrong, challenge us when we are complacent and encourage us when we are weary in well doing. While it is very true that we need others, we also need to learn how to build challenges into our every day life to assure us that we are growing. Setting goals that are just beyond where we are will build a steady flow of challenges into our life if we choose to be accountable. Kris Vallotton says it this way, “accountability means you must give an account for your ability.” Challenges + accountability = Growth. Consistent growth positions you to reach your full potential.
When you intentionally build challenges into your life it helps you better handle the challenges that just seem to find you accidentally. I will share a few of the ways I am challenging myself in hopes of inspiring you. Here are a few challenges that I have worked into my life that are helping me to grow. When I run on the treadmill my last minute is usually my fastest minute. When I go to CrossFit I am working consistently to improve my rope climbing skills. Also often but not always after my CrossFit exercise I do some extra time on the bike just to get some extra cardio in just to push myself a little bit harder. Wednesday is my day off during the day, and Wednesday night is my family night. I am challenging myself to keep my rest, health and family at the top of my priority list because my longevity and legacy depends on it. My only challenge to you is for you to give someone who is trustworthy permission to challenge you and hold you accountable so that you reach your full potential.
- Someone with patience is ruled from the inside out.
- Someone with patience is slow to speak.
- Someone with patience is slow to get angry.
When someone is patient they have self control. Which means they live according to their values, vision and purpose, not their circumstances. If you can control your emotions, you can control your mouth. If you can’t control your emotions you will not be able to control your mouth. If you don’t control your mouth you will damage your relationships and lose your credibility with people. Someone who is patient does not get angry fast. If you are someone who gets angry fast people will deem you unstable and untrustworthy. If people don’t trust you you cannot serve or influence them because they are skeptical of you. If we love people we will be patient with them. Patience is an expression of both love and wisdom. Love makes people feel secure, wisdom helps people become significant. Be loving and wise to yourself and with others. Embrace the slow process of growing in patience. You will feel better, have better relationships and make better decisions that will benefit you and those you love.
Reality for some is more like a nightmare. For the rest of us it is uncomfortable and at times painful. Reality is like getting on the scale and weighing yourself after a cruise. It’s like looking in the mirror after you have spent the day in bed with the flu. It’s like checking your credit card balance when you have debt and your no interest for 12 months credit card just went up to 24.99%. Reality is something we all have to deal with no matter how much we may try to run from it. We are not our facebook account, we are certainly not the picture we just posted of ourself on Instagram with multiple filters on it, trying to do whatever we can to hide who and what we really are. We are all those pictures in our phone that never made Instagram. Honestly the filters on Instagram are good, the ones on snap seed are even better but we must remember that we are the person before the filter. If we are going to have meaningful relationships we must remember that those relationships start with us first being real with ourselves. We can only be as real with others as we are with our self. Invest some time today being honest with yourself because you are valuable. Stop, think, reflect and make the necessary changes that will help you become who you are supposed to be. So you can do what you are supposed to do. So you can help those you are supposed to help. #YouMatter
One of the keys to sustainable success in anything is accountability. If you want to pay off debt or acquire wealth you will need to be accountable to people, your plan and the law. If you want to get free of an addiction or be a competitive athlete you will need to learn how accountability works. Accountability is supposed to work for you not against you. I realize that oppressive and insecure leaders have hurt people and so accountability may sound scary. But we can’t live in reaction to other people’s stupidity and expect to succeed in life. Forgive them, let it go, get healthy, be humble and accountable and you will move forward in life. Just know this, where there is true humility there is accountability.
Accountability is a about freedom not control. When most people think of accountability they think of someone calling them to ask, “Are you looking at porn? or Are you still using drugs?” That is the necessary but negative side of accountability. The positive side of accountability sounds something like this. “Are you writing that book you have been talking about?” “What are you doing to start that business that you have been talking about and planning for?” Accountability will pick you up when you fall, keep you on track, help you succeed and help you not become victim of your own success. Accountability helps you to build or rebuild trust.
In the Bible when the prophet Nathan held King David accountable, he helped save David’s kingdom, which actually protected his legacy. Psalm 51 is a direct result of a healthy confrontation that helped David become accountable. In the democratic process accountability protects us from tyranny. In the banking world accountability protects us from fraud. In the jewelry business accountability assures that what you have purchased is authentic. If you want to succeed in life you need to make sure that you see accountability as a servant not a slave driver.
People who find it hard to accept reality say, the world is changing. People who understand reality, know the world has changed. People who are ahead of their time get critized, but people who don’t change will get left behind. We have to choose who we will be. Let me explain what two intelligent businessmen explained to me recently. “The largest media company in the world doesn’t produce media; Facebook. The largest retail store in the world doesn’t own a store; Amazon. The largest taxi service in the world doesn’t own a cab; Uber. The largest hotel chain in the world doesn’t own a hotel; Airbnb.” With a push of the button you can share your thoughts with the world, get a cab, rent a hotel or buy whatever you are want and have it delivered to your doorstep. I must say all of this is cool and very helpful. It definitely increases our ability to be both productive and profitable. However there are two cautions that I have about all this convenience.
2 cautions concerning convenience.
- Subtly we can begin to think the world exists to serve us.
- All of the convenience can make us more and more impatient and that is dangerous.
If we take these mentalities and apply them to our most meaningful relationships the results can be tragic. If we come to relationships for only what we can get we will have very broken, dysfunctional and unproductive relationships. If we are impatient, we are actually unloving and love is at the center of all meaningful, sustainable and productive relationships. So it’s cool to let convenience speed us up and make us more productive and more profitable but we have to be careful that convenience doesn’t make us more narcissistic day by day. Although the world has changed and is changing there are some things that are enduring. There are somethings that will never change such as God, his word and the evidence of his residence in those who believe. Those unchanging realties give us clear reference points and help us navigate change and uncertainties with clarity and certainty.
Progress causes us to turn our backs on those who don’t want to move forward. Progress means change and change is uncomfortable and uncertain. The cost of progress is change. The thought of change causes us all to ask questions. If I change does that mean I sold out? Will I get the desired results of that change if I change? Part of the pain of progress is that you by default turn your back on people who don’t want to move forward. Let me further clarify by telling you what I am not saying. I am not talking about thinking that you are better than people. I am not talking about betraying your family and friends. Let me give you a visual of what I am saying. Five guys are standing and facing north. One of them steps forward and continues to walk forward. What do his friends see? His back. So they no longer see him in the same manner? Did he change? Maybe, but did they stay the same? Yes. Progress means that we are consistently moving forward. The velocity is not as important as the direction and consistency. I am writing this so that you keep moving forward. Will you loose bad habits and people who don’t want to change? Yes. Will you become more and do more and contribute more? Yes. In reality most people want more but don’t use what they already have wisely. Most people don’t have the courage to change. Do you? We can’t really change if we don’t know who we truly are. Before progress can happen we must be honest with ourselves about where we really are in life. Progress begins when we take our first step forward. Which means we will leave some things and some people behind. Are you willing to move forward today? If so what does that mean for you? Let me give you a final thought that will help you gain traction in your life. When you know your priorities then and only then can you gain traction, get momentum and really make meaningful progress. Below are 5 simple steps that lead to progress. A better tomorrow starts today. Remember this, your choices are more powerful than your circumstances.
5 Steps to Progress
- Be honest with yourself. (Be Courageous) Courage starts the process.
- Who are you? (Identity) Identity gives you purpose.
- Where are you? (Location) Your journey begins where you are, not where you want to be.
- What are your priorities? (Values) Values give you priorities.
- Make the choice to let your priorities give you direction so that you can make progress. (Direction makes progress possible)
You have a relationship with yourself. Jesus knew that and so he said, “love your neighbor as yourself.” He also said, “take up your cross deny yourself and follow me.” So which one should we do? Both. In fact doing one empowers us to do the other. Whether we know it or not we have a relationship with ourselves. Whether we speak out loud to ourselves or not we have an ongoing conversation with ourselves so we might as well be nice. Self Neglect is not denying yourself. Denying yourself is putting away sinful thoughts, speech and actions that lead to bad habits and harmful consequences. If you neglect yourself long enough you will not have the strength to deny yourself. Let me give you a practical example. I will use myself so as to not project my issue on you. If I wait too long to eat, I will most likely over eat or eat something that is unhealthy do to the level of hunger that I am feeling at the time. If I don’t neglect myself and I prepare for my day by having a healthy snack with me chances are a lot higher that I will not over eat and that I will probably eat something healthy. So preparing a healthy snack such as cashews or almonds is a practical way that I can love myself. Because I am not neglecting myself, I am positing myself not to eat two slices of pizza while I am out and about. Sometimes loving yourself is just thinking ahead and being prepared to make better choices that you won’t regret later. The more we care for ourselves now, the less regret we will have later. I have never regretted drinking a protein shake, however I have regretted drinking a huge milkshake.
Many people think they are denying themselves when actually they are neglecting themselves. Jesus is the most amazing example of someone who did not neglect himself, but did denied himself so much that he never even sinned once. Not in thought, word or action. He knew exactly what he needed to do so that he could do what God was requiring him to do. We need to learn from his example. There were times where the disciples were sleeping and Jesus was praying. There were other times when the disciples were up wide awake and afraid in a storm, but Jesus was sleeping. If you love yourself, you will take care of yourself and that will allow you to deny yourself in other areas of life when temptations come. This is not about finger pointing its about soul searching. Being rested and prayerful will make you better able to care for yourself and deny yourself.
I will leave you with 3 questions that will help you turn this blog post into an action plan that will help you make progress in your own life.
- What is a practical way that you can love yourself today? (This must be productive, not destructive.)
- Is there an area in your life that you need to deny yourself?
- Is there an area in your life where you have been neglecting yourself?
Remember to care for yourself, invest in yourself and deny yourserlf. You are valuable, you matter!