Everyday Miracles is a very personal column for readers who want to explore the deeper meaning of life.
In order to grow emotionally and spiritually, it’s important to look back, as hard as it is, at behaviors, routines, and cycles that have produced less than desirable outcomes in our lives. While we don’t want to dwell on the past, we do want to recognize patterns that are no longer working so we can start to form new fruit-bearing behaviors. This picks up where I left off in aprevious columnon the list of six things I’d tell my younger self. I’ll get to the list, but first some background.
A few years ago, when I started to go through “the change” (the phrase our mothers used to call menopause) I asked God, specifically, to show me how others see me. Oh boy! Was I in for an awakening! Be careful what you ask of God. He answered me and continues to do so. It was like a mirror was held up to my face. I became acutely aware of my words and actions and how they were viewed and interpreted by others. The blinders came off. I was being convicted left and right.
For example, my business-like demeanor was construed as condescending on one occasion, which made me examine if I had a problem in this area. Other times, I became aware of my insecurities when I realized I had this need to always share my experience on a particular situation when talking with someone, always taking the conversation-ball back in my court. Why did I have to do that? Why couldn’t I just listen to someone and offer a compassionate ear instead of always having to talk about me?
I also started noticing my negative attitude more. I was allowing my stress and heavy-heartedness to dictate my overall demeanor and had a bad habit of looking at life through a glass half empty. By the way, one byproduct of recognizing bad behaviors in yourself is that you’ll start to see them in others.
At first, I felt very bad and sad about my behavior. The first reaction when you look in the proverbial mirror and realize the truth about yourself is to condemn and get down on yourself, and then self-judgment and self-criticism ensue, which then becomes a perpetuating cycle of self-destruction. Self-condemnation leads people to harm themselves in many ways, the most obvious ones being drugs and alcohol and other addictions; not-so-obvious ones being eating disorders, and entering into and staying in abusive relationships. The list goes on and on.
But God didn’t leave me hanging when I noticed self-condemnation taking hold. I was reminded (I believe by God) of one of the universal truths of this world: “There is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. Hey, I was raised in a church and baptized as a baby. I must belong to Christ! Better yet, as an adult I consciously asked God to live inside of me, for his spirit, the Holy Spirit, to take up residence in my heart.
Even if you have no relationship with God, we all come from God. It doesn’t matter what you believe or what religion you follow. There’s no escaping that God is the creator of every human being on the planet. We all have the opportunity to “belong” to Christ if we want—which means, we all have the opportunity to not be condemned. And if the God of the universe is not condemning me, then why I am condemning myself!
I also came to learn that conviction, having the mirror turned on myself, means God is actually refining me, helping me to become a better person, more like Him. God tells us through his words in the Bible, “The people I love, I call to account—prod and correct and guide, so that they’ll live at their best.”
My conscience was—and still is—being prodded, and this, believe it or not, is an everyday miracle to me because I was—and still am—being transformed into a kinder, gentler, more loving version of myself. Hooray!
In order to change the behaviors that were no longer benefiting me, I came up with a simple list of reminders to help me not fall back into old, negative behaviors. I put this list in graphic form as well at the end so you can download it, print it out and share it with others. This is also my list of six things Id tell my younger self.
1. Count your blessings, not your burdens.
There will always be burdens in this life. I now choose to focus on and be thankful for all the gifts I’ve been given, even the simplest things, such as a roof over my head and food in the fridge.
2. Cultivate the virtue of patience.
Lack of patience is the root cause of many problems. I wish I had more patience when I was younger. I’m hardwired for speed. Many of us are, so this is a particularly tough one to work on. Patient people are more mindful and mindfulness produces better results. This leads nicely to number 3.
3. Move slower.
In this fast paced world, we all can benefit from moving slower through life. Some of us more than others. I’m a type A personality woman with Italian blood running through me so my DNA has me physically moving fast through life. At age 50, I figured out that life is moving very fast too. At the rate I was going, I’d hit 100 and wonder how I got there so fast. I don’t want the next 50 years to be a blur. I want to appreciate every nuance of life and recognize the everyday miracles when they occur. You can’t do that when you’re moving swiftly all the time. So, I’ve vowed to walk slower, talk slower, move slower, and think slower. All this is helping me be more present in the moment, which produces mindfulness and all the benefits that go along with that, like more patience.
4. Be more concerned about others than myself.
Taking the focus off myself allows me to be more generous-hearted and compassionate toward others. What I’ve noticed since doing this is that I’m inviting more generous-hearted and compassionate people in my life—the law of attraction at work.
5. Stop trying to please others and stop seeking approval from everyone.
Approval addiction is a deceptive behavior pattern among overachievers especially. The only “being” I need to please is my spiritual father, God. When I please God and seek His approval, my behaviors are aligned with what He wants, which all stem from love and selflessness.
6. Smile more.
Looking back I realized that my fast-moving, fast-talking, burden-focused self wasn’t smiling very much. Learning to smile more is actually a root behavior from which other positive behaviors flow. I wrote a whole column about this so be sure to read it by clicking this link.
Feel free to share or pin this inspirational quote.
Thank you for joining me on this journey. God bless!
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Now, tell me in the comments below what you’d tell your younger self. I want to know.
About the Author
Genevieve Schmitt is the founder of WomenRidersNow.com. She was raised in a strict Catholic household, but in college the journalist in her starting asking questions of organized religion. By age 30 she developed a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and since then works daily to surrender her stubborn will and vain ego to allow the Holy Spirit to guide her life. She now considers herself a non-denominational Christian. In the summer of 2014, with guidance from God, she started expressing her faith journey in this column, Everyday Miracles. Feedback from WRN readers has been overwhelming positive proving that people crave so much more.