2018-10-19 / Chaplain's News

Replace negative thoughts with positive ones

Chaplain (Col.) Richard Garvey
Cyber Center of Excellence and Fort Gordon command chaplain

Ever wonder why one person seems to have good self-esteem and another person seems to have low self-esteem?

Self-esteem is developed over a period of time and through a vast array of our own personal experiences as we interact with other people and our family members. We begin to develop our regard for ourselves at a young age. Through our play and activities, our interactions with parents, family members, teachers, coaches and peers affect how we look and feel about ourselves.

The coach who never plays you because you are not coordinated enough, the teacher who says you are not bright enough, the peers who make fun of you, or the parent who calls you names and withholds affection, all contribute to the early development of esteem.

One common problem many of us have is that we hold on to these early negative experiences and allow them to distort our view of the present and future. Let me explain. I could not stand English classes. In fact, I failed tests going through school. When it comes to English, I am not the sharpest knife in the drawer. Have you ever failed a test? But this does not mean I am an idiot. Instead of proclaiming I am a failure and continually focusing on my failure, I need to recognize I did poorly and need to reassert myself to do better. It may mean I have to study longer or practice more.

Michael Jordan was told he was too short to play basketball in his sophomore year at 5 feet, 11 inches, and moved to the junior varsity team and not the varsity team. He could have accepted his coach’s comments and never played again and sit in the stands, but instead, he practiced more and worked harder. His hard work paid off as he became a star on the JV team and went on to become one of the greatest basketball players of all time.

As we grow and develop, things change. We do not have to continue to live in the past. If we fail, study harder. If we are not good enough in music or sports, practice more. We can make decisions to better ourselves, but most often it takes the right attitude and the desire to see change. You need to stop the old destructive thoughts or lies and replace them with constructive truths. For instance, after making a presentation, does your inner voice say, “people said they liked it, but it was not what it should have been; it was full of mistakes”? If so, you should replace those thoughts with the truth, “Wow, they liked it. While it was not perfect, I worked really hard on the presentation and did a good job. I am proud of the success I accomplished.”

In personal relationships, you may experience something like this, “she did not speak to me, and I know she cannot stand me.” Thoughts like this should be replaced with, “she didn’t speak to me, it may have nothing to do with me. I think I will ask.”

Too often we allow our negative thoughts and negative interpretations to incorrectly affect our actions toward others and about ourselves. Rebutting these negative thoughts and replacing them with positive and constructive thoughts will help you overcome this destructive inner voice of lower self-esteem.

Practice positive and true thoughts about yourself. Remember, God said you are created in His image. God cares enough about you that he even knows the number of hairs upon your head! Do you know how many you have? God loves and cares for you. Do you love and care for yourself?

If you are struggling with your thoughts and feelings of self-esteem, or any other issue you may be facing, see your chaplain or call our Family Life Chaplain at (706)791-1732. Our experienced pastoral team is here for help with your journey.

Return to top