By Kristin Milner
Do you need to learn how to be kind to yourself? I have encouragement for you, dear wife.
As a newlywed, I wasn’t very kind to myself. I began telling myself that because I wasn’t organized, I wasn’t a great wife. How could I be a great wife while also leaving clothes in the washing machine for too long? Why did I often load the dishwasher at night, only to forget to press start? When I find time to fold clothes, why couldn’t I just go ahead and put them up?
I’m not sure why I do these things, other than to blame it on my ADHD. However, when these things happen, my unkind self-talk kicks in.
- I’m so unorganized.
- My lack of organization affects my husband.
- My husband is stressed because I can’t get it together.
As a mom, these chaotic events seem to follow me wherever I go. When my kids scrape their knees at the playground and other moms seem to pull out their first aid kits from thin air, I revisit my insecurities:
- I’m not good at this. I can’t get my life in order.
- My kids probably notice how unorganized I am. Do they wish the band-aid lady was their mom?
As a pastor’s wife and homeschool mom to three girls, I often try to handle too much at once. Not because I’m obligated, but because that’s what I want. I love having fun. I love hosting baby showers, throwing birthday parties, taking our girls to the playground, and joining in on all the fun things going on in life.
Juggling all the things has a way of highlighting my lack of organization. I get arrival times wrong, show up to things on the wrong day, and forget to send important emails when they are supposed to be sent.
This is why, when someone complimented me on being organized a few years ago, I was shocked. I even wondered for a moment if it was sarcasm.
It wasn’t. And it really changed my view of myself.
Learning to Be Kind to Yourself
Having someone notice and comment on my organization skills felt life-changing. That’s because I am very organized with certain things in life.
From the moment of receiving that word of affirmation, I began to change the way I talk to myself.
I began seeing myself in a different light. And I began telling myself a different story:
- I can be organized.
- I can create systems to help me.
- I’m fun, and that’s a gift to myself and others.
- I’m spontaneous, and that makes me who I am.
- My kids will remember the fun we had over the clothes I didn’t fold.
Changing the story I tell myself has helped me grow into my strengths and improve my weaknesses.
How to Be Kind to Yourself
The story we tell ourselves is often the loudest voice we hear. This brings up an important question- what does the Bible say about positive self-talk? How should we view ourselves?
God’s greatest command to us is to first love him with everything we have. His second greatest command is to love others as we love ourselves.
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:30-31 (NIV)
Can we love others if we don’t like things about ourselves? Yes- I think we can.
However, the better question to ask might be this- Can we love others to the full extent if we don’t love how God created us?
For me, the answer to this question is no. I’m the best version of myself, as a wife, a mom and person God created me to be, when I’m embracing how I was made. Talking kindly to myself- about how God created me- is my first step towards being my best self.
How are you talking to yourself each day? Are you limiting yourself or what God might be calling you to do in your everyday life with the words you say to yourself each day?
Be kind to yourself. It can change both how you see yourself, and how you appreciate and love others.
Wife Step: Make a list of all the areas you talk about to yourself in a negative way. Replace that with another list of how you can speak about those things in a positive way, based on God’s truth.
Kristin is the pastor wife to her hubby and best friend, Tim. Together they have three beautiful girls, and an unusually gorgeous cat named Scooter. Kristin helped start Essential Church in Huntsville, Al, where her husband is the lead pastor. She loves to encourage women with Biblical truth and funny stories at www.kristinmilner.com.
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