Have you ever thought about the relationship that you have with yourself? Is it a good relationship? Is it bad, or possibly indifferent? It makes sense to me that you would want a good, or even great relationship with yourself, especially given the fact that we are constantly around. Even if we really wanted, we cannot simply snap a finger and just get away from ourselves.
I would like to share an illustrative story that I recently heard from a pastor, and it goes something like this: There was an attractive young woman who went on a dinner date with a man, and by all accounts it went very well. He was tall and handsome, and an all around perfect gentleman who even opened doors for her. At the end of the date they both shared how they both enjoyed the evening and would like to go on another date in the near future. The next day the young woman was so excited she just had to call her closest friend and share how great the date was. After about 10 minutes of gushing to her friend about how great he was, she asked her friend if she thought she was gonna get a call from him in the next few days to set up their second date. Her friend proceeded to tell her “well, I don’t know if you should expect a call from him at all, I mean if you really think about it why would he. You need to be more realistic, I mean what do you really have to offer that is so great. You have a dead-end job, drive around a 20 year old car that is on its last legs, and admit it, you really need to drop about 30 pounds.” Her “close friend” continued, “I have known you since we were children, and you really are not as fun as you think you are. Oh, and those clothes that you are wearing, weren’t those in style like 5 years ago or something. So no, I do not think he is going to ever call you back for a second date.” Wow. I’m sure you are thinking with friends like that, who needs enemies. But if you think about it, we are all guilty at times of speaking to ourselves this way. And I think that is a pretty horrible friend.
The definition of friend is; a person attached to another by feelings of affection or personal regard; a person who gives assistance, a supporter, and someone who is not hostile. Our relationships with others is so important, but I believe that the relationship that we have with ourselves is even greater. I would like to list 4 actions below that I believe you should start right away so you can begin to be your own best friend.
Everywhere I turn I keep hearing the phrase “just follow your heart," and lately it just makes me absolutely cringe. On television, in the movies, or in real life, this phrase continues to be used as so-called advice to someone who is unsure about a major decision in their life. Many times the decision is about a relationship, but it does not necessarily have to be. Maybe the decision is about the purchase of a new home, or what college you will attend. More commonly though, it will have something to do with entering into a relationship or a new phase of a relationship. I know this may not be the popular thing to say, but I would suggest NOT to follow your heart. You might ask why I would say this. Well, I simply believe that our heart is very capable of deceiving us and cannot be fully trusted. Beyond that, when someone says that they are going to follow their heart, I think they are really saying that they are going to follow their feelings. I definitely think this is a mistake. I think we all know that our feelings are very fickle and can change like the wind. If you are someone who has always followed your feelings and had great success with that, by all means feel free to ignore my two cents worth of advice.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not suggesting that we do not pursue our passions. In fact, what we are passionate about oftentimes leads us to a more purposeful life. What I am saying though is that many of our decisions require much more than the simplistic approach of “just follow your heart.”
So what should we do -
Comments are highly appreciated
Having the ability to adapt is a sign of good mental health. Does that mean that people who are unable or unwilling to adapt to certain life circumstances are less healthy? Well, maybe. There have been plenty of studies done on the topic and they all conclude that individuals who can adapt experience more positive outcomes than those individuals who cannot or will not adapt. Just a few of these positive outcomes include greater self-esteem, greater relationships, more personal and professional success, and an overall greater well-being.
Change is inevitable, so adaptability is necessary. Life is about constant change whether we like it or not. Yes, change can be difficult, and oftentimes it seems as though we are pushed far beyond our comfort zone. However, there is good news. The good news is that we have been created with the great ability to adapt. At a very core level, we adapt when we are faced with no other choice and our survival depends on it. And thanks to medical science, we also know that our brains remain plastic through our lifetime, meaning that an “old dog can learn new tricks.”
What does this mean for me?
First, I think it is very important for us to get a clear understanding of just where we are at on the adaptability meter. You need to get honest with yourself and ask yourself just how well you adjust to change. Do you fight change? Does it upset your relationships? Do you try to make adjustments, yet experience higher levels of anxiety? Recognition is the first step.
Secondly, adaptability is a choice and a mindset. We know that change happens, so we must choose a positive mindset. If you view it as an opportunity to grow without being to self-critical, there is no doubt that you will have greater success. Allow yourself to be curious, and tap into your creative side. If your anything like me, you probably think that you are doomed if adaptability requires creativity. The truth is, we all have a creative side, it is just unique to us.
Third. Our ability to adapt can be used to improve the lives of others. There is no doubt that our ability to adapt has a positive affect on all our relationships. In fact, the greater our respect, tolerance, positivity, and empathy, the greater our ability to adapt becomes. To see a fantastic example of how adaptability can change the lives of others in the 21st century please watch this video. https://youtu.be/937iCwJd3fI.
God’s role in all of this
As previously stated, we have been created by God with an incredible ability to adapt. We have also been given the freedom to choose, which takes me back to the importance of our mindset and its effect on our ability to adapt or not. We know that there is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the sun: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, etc. Life is change. For the Christian, we can also take great comfort in knowing that “God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God…” (Rom. 8:28). Yes, maybe the reason you are being required to adapt is you are being called according to His higher purpose.
A final warning
One thing you may want to watch out for is if you are making changes simply for the sake of change. There should be a reason for you to adapt or make a change in your life. Also, we will want to make sure that we are not making a change solely for the purpose of “fitting in.” When we make changes to adapt and “fit in” with popular culture or individuals who may not share the same values and vision as we do, we run the risk of giving away our own power and sense of self.