Updated: May 31
By Pastor René François
1. Detach from Toxic Relationships
It is better to be alone than to be in a romantic relationship that is fraught with anger and strife or to have negative friends in your inner circle that drain your energy and happiness. You are an amazingly beautiful creature, fearfully and wonderfully made in the image of God. Take a moment to think about that. Love yourself enough to say, “I deserve better.” In counseling people over the years there is an extremely important factor that I have seen time and time again. It is that when people come into your life with an agenda to fulfill their own needs at your expense there are always warning signs that are unfortunately all too often ignored. Trust your intuition. When you feel deep down in your gut that something isn’t right about a potential love interest or friendship run from that relationship as quickly as you would run from a burning house because these relationships are parasitic. No matter how much you give or sacrifice for the relationship your best will never be enough. Instead, surround yourself with people who love you for who you are rather than for what they can get out of you. Only let people into your inner circle who build you up rather than tear you down.
1 Corinthians 13:4-7, “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”
2. Refrain from Negative Self-Talk
The most damaging attacks against our happiness and peace of mind do not always come from the outside. They oftentimes come from within. We become our own worst enemy when we engage in negative self-talk. One of the most common ways of harming ourselves with negative self-talk is by mentally beating ourselves up when we make mistakes. It is important to remember that we are all students in the classroom of life. Making mistakes is part of the learning process. Rest assured that if you are open to learning, you will gain wisdom to do better in the future. As the saying goes, “When you know better you do better.” Therefore, be kind to yourself. Be willing to give yourself some grace. Proverbs 1:5 tells us “Let the wise hear and increase in learning, and the one who understands obtain guidance.”
Another important point regarding negative self-talk is that many of the negative things that we say to ourselves, and think about ourselves, when we are upset are void of truth. I remember once receiving a call from a patient who was extremely upset over an error that they had made. The patient went on ad infinitum about how he always manages to screw things up and how these “screwups” were why he was unsuccessful and unloved in his life. The fact is that nothing could’ve been further from the truth. This person was actually successful in his profession and had a very strong family support system. Engaging in negative self-talk can affect our self-esteem by causing us to accept a false view of reality. In our daily lives, there are enough flaming arrows of negativity aimed in our direction by those who are under the influence of The Adversary without us engaging in mental warfare against ourselves.
The word of God tells us that knowing the truth will make us free. So here are a few biblical truths to remember when the cloud of negativity descends upon you. Negative thoughts will tell you that you are unloved and unworthy, but the truth is that as a child of God you are “loved with an everlasting love” (Jeremiah 31:3). In the difficult moments when everything appears to be going wrong, negative thoughts will say things like “I am such a loser.” “I’m always screwing things up” and “Things never work out for me.” However, God’s truth is “All things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28). The most effective weapon that we have against the negativity that comes at us from the world and the negative self-talk from within is to always counter it with God’s truth. Lastly, never give into the falsehood that we are powerless in the battle against negativity. God’s truth is to “Be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil” (Ephesians 6:10-11).
3. Have a Vision for Your Life
Having a vision for your life is crucial to your success and happiness because it helps to keep you grounded in your purpose and gives you something to work towards. It is very difficult to remain motivated without a clear vision. Lack of vision for our future can very easily lead to developing a negative mindset about life in general, which can in turn affect our self-image. Therefore, imagine your life six months from now, a year from now, or even five years from now, What do you see? Write down the vision that you have for your life and set goals to achieve it. We are far more likely to achieve our vision when we write it down.
Habakkuk 2:2-3, “Then the Lord answered me and said, ‘Write the vision and engrave it plainly on [clay] tablets so that the one who reads it will run. For the vision is yet for the appointed [future] time it hurries toward the goal [of fulfillment]; it will not fail. Even though it delays, wait [patiently] for it, because it will certainly come; it will not delay.’”
4. Start a New Routine
Be intentional about making time for prayer and meditation on God’s word. Early morning before starting daily activities and/or just before going to sleep at night seems to work best for most people. However, you should develop a routine that works best for you. During your time of prayer and meditation be sure to include things that you are grateful for. When life gets hectic, it’s easy to become hyperfocused on our problems and lose sight of our blessings. Prayer and meditation are good ways of redirecting our thoughts away from life‘s negative influences and toward positive thoughts. Prayer and meditation can be effective methods of maintaining our peace as they have been proven to be helpful at lowering worry and anxiety.
Psalm 1:2-3, “But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on His law [His precepts and teachings] he meditates day and night. And he will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in its season; its leaf does not wither; and in whatever he does, he prospers.”
5. Give Yourself a Treat
All work and no play makes us tired, stressed and sometimes depressed. Do something fun and/or relaxing. It’ll do wonders for your mental and emotional well-being as well as for your physical energy.
Ecclesiastes 8:15, “So I commend [recommend] enjoyment, for there is nothing better for people under the sun than to eat, and drink, and enjoy themselves, for this will go with them in their toil through the days of life that God gives them under the sun.”
6. Live in the Moment
Yesterday is gone. Leave the past in the past, you can’t change it. As for tomorrow, let’s cross that bridge when we come to it. Worrying about things that are out of our control robs us of our joy. Our greatest potential for happiness exists in this day, this moment, this breath. Therefore, live this day, and everyday, in the moment and to the full.
Matthew 6:25-34, “Therefore I tell you, stop being worried or anxious about your life…Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father keeps feeding them. Are you not worth much more than they? And who of you by worrying can add one hour to his life? And why are you worried about clothes? See how the lilies and wildflowers of the field grow; they do not labor nor do they spin [wool to make clothing], yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory and splendor dressed himself like one of these. But first and most importantly seek His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you also. So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
7. Be Proactive and Adhere to the Golden Rule
One good way of being proactive is to be intentional about maintaining a positive mindset. Take the initiative to set your mind on positive thoughts. This will uplift your spirits throughout the day. It will also do wonders for helping you to avoid associating with people who love to engage in the negativity of gossip about coworkers and others. Instead, use your energy to build others up rather than to tear them down. Whenever possible, enrich your life by enriching the lives of others. In doing so you will be a living example of the gospel and a reflection of the light and love of Christ to those who desperately need it. By doing unto others as you would have others do unto you, you will increase the amount of peace and joy that you experience in your own life. This is related to the biblical concept of sowing and reaping and is more commonly known as the golden rule.
Philippians 4:8, “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”
Romans 12:2, “And do not be conformed to this world [any longer with its superficial values and customs], but be transformed and progressively changed by the renewing of your mind [focusing on godly values and ethical attitudes], so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His plan and purpose for you].”
Luke 6:31, 38, “Treat others the same way you want them to treat you…Give, and it will be given to you. They will pour into your lap a good measure—pressed down, shaken together, and running over. For with the standard of measurement you use [when you do good to others], it will be measured to you in return.” 🕊💕
Rev. René François is a pastoral counselor and Christian life coach who over the past decade has helped thousands of people experience spiritual and emotional healing after suffering trauma such as the loss of a loved one, a serious illness, difficult relationship matters, etc. He often promotes the benefits of maintaining, or regaining, one’s spiritual and emotional health. He states “Maintaining a healthy spirit leads to a healthy body, more fulfilling relationships and an overall happier life.”
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Thank you! And God bless,
Rev. René François