Would you be a good spouse to you? – Lauren Miller

It’s Friday! Several AOM team members were talking about self view this week. We commented that, often times, we are harder on ourselves than we would ever let someone else be. Lauren Miller wrote a great piece for us today about being kind to ourselves.  How kind are you to yourself?

Are you a good friend to you? Seems like a simple question but really take a moment to think about it. When my friend Jordan (hey, girl, hey 👋) asked me that six weeks ago while we were out to coffee I did not expect the journey it has taken me on. Since this is Anatomy of Marriage let’s change that to, would you be a good spouse to you?

What are a few of the basic things I would hope my spouse would do in a marriage?

Be kind.

Encourage often.

Bring hope.

Quick to cut negative talk about their partner.

With that in mind….

How do you think/feel about yourself? Until I looked at my thought life through the lens of it being about someone else did I become appalled with how I thought about me. Thoughts such as: “that’s a dumb move” “disgust over my body” and “you are forgettable, no one cares about you.” — Reality though is you would be hard pressed to find me feeling that way about my husband or a friend. I have never chosen to obsess over someone else’s body unless it was because I thought they were gorgeous. Not once in my marriage have I thought that my husband was forgettable to anyone.

How do you talk about yourself? Thoughts are sometimes harder to catch than actual words you speak over yourself. Do you talk kindly to you? Are the words you speak out about yourself words you would want to speak over your best friend? Better yet if you heard someone else saying them about your best friend/spouse would it ignite a fire in you for a beat down or a high five of agreement?

As I started to evaluate things that pass through my lips that I have spent years justifying it caused me to be immensely uncomfortable. Realizing that I tell people I am of little value literally by how I speak about me. Usually, when I have said stuff in the past it has been in a joking manner like, “geez, how stupid am I?” While my inner dialogue is having a field day criticizing every move I had made in the previous 30 seconds, ten minutes, two hours. When I began to evaluate the fruit of what I spoke out I began tracing it back to where it was rooted in my thoughts I discovered a tangled mess.

When push came to shove I began to realize just how little I loved myself. In the Bible, it talks about “loving your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:39) and I don’t think Jesus was meaning that its cool to treat your neighbor in contempt if that is how you treat yourself. Instead, I believe it is a challenge for those who don’t yet love themselves to work on it. To spend time learning how to love themselves (myself) and working hard to remove the roadblocks that were unintentionally installed of bitterness, frustration, and jealousy.

Do you remember the things I hoped my spouse would be at the start of this? The first 3 items boiled down to: kind, encouraging and hopeful. Are you kind, encouraging and hopeful to/for yourself? As I evaluated my thoughts and words over myself I quickly realized I am not. How could I be with what was going on in my head?

Here is where the challenge comes in and follow through is paramount.

Years ago my husband and I were challenged by a leader in our church that when we heard negative self-talk to call a “foul” on the person. He even said when they did it on the team he was on they would make the letter “F” with their arms over their head. After a foul is called the person would have to out loud say 3 positive things about themselves to counteract the negative thing previously spoken. We sadly did not stick with this or I probably would not still be in this mess.

So rally your crew, tribe, family, friends, community, people — whatever you call them and ask them to hold you accountable. Challenge those you love to allow you to call foul on them. Create an environment where negative self-talk has no place to grow. I am reinstating this practice in my own home and look forward to bringing our four sons in on it so they grow up with as little negative self-talk as possible. Heck, I hope they help eradicate it from their friend groups as well.

Another great thing to do is to write out self-encouragements on sticky notes and place them where you will see them throughout the day.

Here are a few that resonate with me:

I am worthy of love and affection.

I am a bad***.

I am thankful that I am . . .

I am capable.

I am worthy of protection.

I am strong and where I am not HE is.

If those don’t work for you google or search Pinterest for “self-affirmations” and you will get endless lists of similar things.

May each of us rise up and love ourselves fully so we can be better neighbors, friends, and spouses. You are fully worthy of love no matter where you are at. So, go love yourself.