“You must be compassionate, just as your Father is compassionate.”
The way you love others is an extension of how you love yourself. What does your inner voice sound like? When you make a mistake, how do you respond? What do you tell yourself when you miss the mark? How do you respond to others when they make mistakes or don’t meet your expectations?
One of my favorite old shows is Good Times. It features the comedic and loving Evans family, living in the Chicago housing projects during the 70’s. One of the Evans’ neighbors, a little girl named Penny, begins spending time with the Evans family and they start to suspect that her mother is physically abusing her. In one episode, Penny becomes sad because her crush (the Evans’ oldest son) JJ is leaving to go on a date. Penny then starts slapping her baby doll back and forth and telling the doll that it’s all her fault. Although the audience laughed during this scene, it’s actually quite disturbing.
This little girl’s interaction with her doll was a reflection of how her own mother interacted with her. Sometimes our inner voice – the way we speak to ourselves – is developed based on how our parents or loved ones spoke to us regularly. Whether you have positive or harmful self-talk, what you believe about yourself affects your decisions, thinking patterns, and also how you view and treat others. If I have negative self-talk, how can I be more positive? How can I change something I may have been practicing for years?
“Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.” Philippians 4:8
I want to challenge you to a 7-Day Compassion Challenge (starting whatever day you read this!) This is how it works: when you notice yourself being critical – whether to yourself or someone else, think of a positive thought to replace the negative thought. When you walk past a mirror, look in that mirror and give yourself a compliment. I like to speak to myself as though I was speaking to a friend. “Girl I’m loving your hair today!” The compliment can also be non-physical. “I’m so proud of you for getting that laundry done” or “I admire the way you handled that difficult conversation.”
Continue this with the people around you! Practice compassion when you’re driving, scrolling through social media and especially when talking to your loved ones, co-workers, etc. When you’re in the check-out line at the grocery store, give the cashier a compliment and watch how their body language changes.
If you see someone struggling, help them. Hold the door open for a stranger (with your elbow 🤪). Send a hand-written card to someone who lost a family member this year. Spend time telling God things you’re grateful for. Gratitude truly changes your perspective and makes you intentional about finding positivity. It helps me to have a gratitude journal. But you can also make a list of things you’re grateful for each day.
Lastly, get to the root of the issue. Why did you make that comment about that person? Is it because that’s how you’ve been taught or conditioned to think? It will take intention to renew your mind. Are you focused on someone else’s weight, finances, or family issues because you’re insecure about your own? And if you are insecure, where did it stem from? You are fearfully and wonderfully made; created with reverence and honor. When you embrace these truths about yourself, you will naturally begin to see others this way as well.
You never know what someone is going through or why they’ve made the decisions they’ve made. It’s easier to look from the outside in and make assumptions but we never know the full story. The person you’re jealous of on social media may have had to endure challenging trials to get to where they are. Or it could all be a facade; as humans we want the world to view us in the best light possible. That celebrity you bashed has feelings too, and every detail of their life is being scrutinized by millions of people already.
The co-worker that goes out of her way to be lowdown can be dealing with anger and sadness that has nothing to do with you. That person you cussed out in traffic may have had the worst imaginable day and is just trying to make it home. Extend some grace this week. Remember that you are God’s ambassador. You are a light that has been strategically placed to make a difference in the lives of those around you. The only way you can love others the way God loves them is to first love yourself.
Before you go to bed each night think about how your day went. What was the best part? What did you accomplish? What could have gone better? At this moment be sure to forgive yourself. Forgive anyone that may have wronged you. And then give it all to God. Ask Him to give you wisdom and grace for tomorrow.
Are you willing to join me on this compassion challenge?! I’ve been trying it for a few days and I’ve already noticed such a difference. I have a long way to go with being more compassionate, so I’m glad we’re in this together! Comment below how you plan to be compassionate this week ☺️
And if you’ll be paying for the person behind you in line, please let me know the time and place 😂
By this way, have you checked out my latest YouTube video?! You can find it here!