Start Building Your Self-Esteem Pt 2

#2: Deal with Past Experiences
It’s okay to cry and say, “ouch,” when we experience pain; but don’t let pain transform itself into fear. Nothing can torment and discombobulate our lives like fear. We must master fear with faith and believe that we can accomplish anything. And when we fail we chalk it up as a learning experience.

Never allow the pain of your past to be the pain of your present because it will eventually be the pain of your future.  Unresolved issues are controlling issues.  Anything we haven’t resolved in the past still lives with us today.  We must work through our pain, process it, get counseling, prayer, and whatever is necessary because our future is too bright to live in the pain of yesterday. It’s natural to savor the taste of pain longer than pleasant things.  I discovered that in the human mouth there are more taste buds for bitterness than sweet.  The scientific explanation is that most poisonous things are bitter and the taste buds are the first line of defense.  I find that pain and hurt tends to linger and dominate our minds many years longer than sweet memories. I heard a man tell a story years ago of how they tried to build a man.  He said that they put two eyes in front and two eyes in the rear. The single greatest problem that this man had was being able to move forward when he walked.  He couldn’t move forward because he kept looking at what was behind him. Many people have the same problem they can’t go forward because they are still looking backwards.  If you are struggling with the past seek help to move forward from a competent, caring, person because you can’t embrace your future until you release your past.

#3: Challenge the Negative Worldview
Don’t become consumed with all the pessimism, sadness and grief in the world. As we build self-esteem, we must learn how to make the best out of worst situations. Sometimes the lemonade we make from lemons is bitter, but we must learn how to add sugar.  The view of the world we live in is interpreted by us. Our interpretation or the way we think has been influenced by family, friends, or by certain events we have experienced. As a result we have adopted a mindset from our loved ones and mixed it with our thoughts to produce an action. We draw both good and bad from the people who've influenced us the most. The good we glean can give us life but the bad can literally kill us.

How we have come to process life now affects our interpretation of it.  It is when we realize that our interpretation of life is flawed, that we must begin to change.  Don’t allow past failure, hurt, and pain to thrive. Don't allow flawed thinking to thrive. Begin taking control of your life now and dictate how you view the world.  We aren’t born thinking negative, or flawed, something happens during our journey that shapes us. I believe that you reap what you sow, meaning that whatever you give you are bound to receive. If you think negative you will receive negative but if you think positive you’ll receive positive. We must learn to shape our negative thinking with positive, divine, thoughts. Negative people are pessimistic and cynical. Their lives are colored by gloom, apathy, and depression. Everything they do is processed negatively and affects their ability to succeed in life. 

The key to changing the way we look at the world is to first change the way we look at ourselves. How you see yourself is typically how you view the world. Despite the negativity in the world you should believe that you are a powerful, positive force. If your view of yourself and the world is negative it’s time to take charge and start traveling down the road that helps you see yourself as the victor and not the victim. It's hard to win if you see yourself as a loser! Look for part three of this discussion soon.

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Start Building Your Self-Esteem Pt 1

So how do you begin the process of building healthy self-esteem in a tough environment? Here are some tips you may want to consider as a starter guide to self-improvement. Our self-esteem is important because without it we lack confidence.  Our ability to succeed, lead, and help is directly connected to our confidence level.  Confidence is a prime and precious commodity to be treasured when seeking to live life to the fullest and to achieve success.  Many people including leaders have struggled with low self-esteem and it has affected every area of their life. I want to initiate a process today that will help you grow from the inside-out and initiate the formation and emergence of a new more confident you. These introspective nuggets have worked for many and will work for you.

There are six basic nuggets of information that will help jump start your self-esteem. 

#1: Embrace Your Identity
The way you are including your behavioral traits are said to be a mixed product of your inherited traits (genetics), and your environmental surroundings such as your family, spouse, circle of friends, even society. Our environment supplies us with psychological and spiritual conditioning that impacts our view of self and the world. And last but not least good or bad personal experiences and how they've shaped us has a direct impact on who we are. Remember despite these influences, you have your own identity. If your father or mother was a failure, it doesn’t mean you have to be a failure too. You can learn from other people’s experiences, so you’ll never have to encounter the same mistakes.

Sometimes you may wonder if some people are born leaders or positive thinkers. No! Being positive and staying positive is a choice. Building self-esteem and drawing lines for self-improvement is a choice -- not a rule or a talent. God wouldn’t come down from heaven and tell you, “Anthony, you may now have the permission to build self-esteem and improve yourself.”  We must make the choice to embrace better and put in the work to build self-love and self-esteem.

In life it can be hard to stay positive, especially when things and people around you keep pulling you down. Life is like a battlefield and when we strategize for war we should choose the right ammunition and armor to use. In the battle, we will get shot, and bruised, therefore wearing bulletproof armor ideally means adapting or changing to our war-like environment. It is the kind of change which comes from within and is voluntarily. Choosing to embrace change consciously causes us to address three things: our way of thinking, our attitude and our behavior. We must be willing to look inside ourselves and address our own personal flaws to ensure victory. Whatever our weaknesses and defects we must acknowledge them so that we can implement change. No true change can occur without brutal self-honesty.

Our willingness to embrace a humble view of ourselves is the first step in beginning the self-improvement process. No matter how good or bad you are now right now embrace it, then face it. If we start to become responsible for who we are, what we have, and what we do, it’s like a flame that should gradually spread like a brush fire from the inside and out. When we develop healthy, self-esteem, we take control of our mission, values, and discipline. Building self-esteem will eventually lead to self-improvement. Self-esteem brings about self-improvement, true assessment, and determination. So how do you start putting up the building blocks of self-esteem? Be positive, truthful, and appreciative. Never miss an opportunity to compliment yourself and others. Also embrace the spiritual aspect of your existence that is connected to the creator of all things and pursue a relationship with Him. The creator (God) like the manufacturer knows your purpose and He should be both acknowledged and respected in your life. 

Approaching life from a positive angle and perspective affects how you live. And a positive way of living will help you build healthy, self-esteem and start guiding your life to self-improvement. I've got more steps in part two. Don't miss it!

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It is spring and most people want to clear out the clutter they accumulated throughout the winter or they just want to get rid of stuff they’ve had for years.  I’ve participated in many cleanups in my life. One year I remember sitting some furniture outside on the curb and the next day it was gone. Yes, somebody backed a truck up during the night, or at early light, and loaded up our discarded furniture, and drove away. Some people call this trash shopping experience, “Dumpster Diving.” In other words what I saw as trash another person saw as treasure. They believed that what I discarded still had value and could benefit them.

Truthfully, it’s hard to relish or appreciate your value when you’re constantly talking trash or speaking negative, pessimistic words to yourself. But just like the Dumpster Divers God understands our value. Psalms 139:13-14 “13 For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb. 14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.” Let’s look at two words, fearfully and wonderfully mentioned in verse 14. Fearfully is translated from a word that means “to reverence, dread, or revere”.  Your creation as a person was done with reverence. God reveres and respects all human beings who come into the world. Wonderfully is translated from a word that means “different, separate, and marvelous.” In other words you are a unique, separate, and marvelous person. Whether born as a single person, twin, triplet, or otherwise you’re a special, one of a kind, individual.
You were created and birthed as a special being and you were redeemed by Jesus/Yeshua because to Jehovah/God you were of great value.  A price, a sacrifice, was offered for our lives because the creator deemed us as worthy, worthwhile, and having great value. Sin, evil, and bad personal choices didn’t stop God/Jehovah from saving a dying world. He reached into the muck and mire of discarded humanity and picked us up. Why, did God save us from ourselves, because He loves us? (John 3:16)

You have purpose. Despite the good or bad circumstances of your birth you were meant to be here and you are valuable. It doesn’t matter how many egregious errors or mistakes you’ve made you are valuable. There is no personal struggle that disqualifies you from having value and being loved by the creator.  God’s desire is for you to live a fruitful and productive life exercising all the talents, skills, gifts, and abilities He equipped you with. Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the thoughts and plans that I have for you, says the Lord, thoughts and plans for welfare and peace and not for evil, to give you hope in your final outcome.” AMP. No matter how long or short your life is the creator wants you to live a good life.

Consider these seven steps to end trash-talking: 1) Embrace the Love of God, the creator 2) Love Yourself 3) Accept the best and worst of yourself 4) Change what needs to be changed about yourself 5) Meditate on the positives (i.e. bible verses that empower you, personal reflections of good things, etc.) 6) Imagine the change you want daily 7) Speak the person you want to be and the life you want to live.

Thinking, imagining, feeling, and speaking, determine what you do and who you are. Change what you think, imagine, feel, and speak, and you’ll change your life. Refuse to let people talk trash to you about you and stop your internal trash-talking. You’re not a GARBAGE CAN, you’re a revered, marvelous creation, and it’s time you started living like it! #masteryourself

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As some of you know I’m an avid sports fan. In watching sports it always intrigues me when athletes start talking trash to each other in the game. 

What typically happens with great competitors in a dual of words is they typically take offense to what has been said and channel it into positive energy that produces a positive performance.

Let’s reread the definition of trash-talk: MerriamWebster Dictionary online says trash-talk is “disparaging, taunting, or boastful comments especially between opponents trying to intimidate each other.”

The latter part of the definition strikes me because it says “the disparaging, taunting, or boastful comments are especially between opponents trying to intimidate each other”.  Trash-talk should be reserved mainly for opponents. Notice I said mainly because I recognize that sometimes friends talk trash to each other meaning no harm. But in the sense that I am discussing trash-talk, it’s negative, destructive, and has consequences that shouldn’t be used against any loved one or self.

Origins of Trash-Talk
There are many things that can be attributed to people developing a destructive ability to speak negatively to themselves. Most negative self-talk is directly rooted in poor, faulty, low self-esteem, and self-worth. Low self-esteem and poor self-worth can be traced to a myriad of bad experiences that formed spiritual and mental dysfunctions even pathologies within a person.

These dysfunctions can be directly linked to people lacking the proper experiences of love, acceptance, and appreciation. Therefore the opposite of the aforementioned things are hatred, rejection, and abuse. When people are unloved, or feel as such, not accepted, or feel as such, and abused, or feel as such, their growth, and development, occurs abnormally.

Our natural physiology is designed to compensate to help us to survive. I’ve heard of blood being rerouted from blockages in the human body by the body itself in an attempt to keep blood flowing and insure its survival. As it is with the body so it is with the mind. We adapt to survive and therefore will adopt ideas and beliefs to help protect ourselves. For example people who’ve been abandoned or rejected may decide that the best way to protect themselves is to adopt an ideology that “I can’t trust nobody but myself or I don’t need anybody”.  They adopt and then adapt to become distrustful and compensate by adopting a philosophy to protect their heart. This example is just a tip of the iceberg.

At some point in time you must realize that the enemy without can’t be conquered until you master the real enemy within. God/Jehovah has never intended for His creation to be unloved and operate with a poor sense of self-love. At some point in time you must return to the source and realize that a key to mastering yourself begins with how you see yourself.

But you can’t really see yourself through tainted lenses and have a proper view. King David saw what God did: Psalms 139:14 “… I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.You’ve been made by the best to be the best and you’ve got to believe this. Next entry I’ve got treasure for your trash-talking!

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There has been a gross misconception among the ranks of humanity. Things, people, and circumstances don’t determine who you are, YOU DO!

James Allen said “Men imagine that thought can be kept secret, but it cannot. It rapidly crystallizes into habit, and habit solidifies into circumstance.” The sacred biblical text of Proverbs 23:7a says “For as he thinketh within himself, so is he…” ASV

Thinking determines being. What we think has a direct impact on our reality whether we accept it or not. God/Jehovah has created us with an ability to impact our world by thinking, imagining, speaking, and doing.  Many people have placed the onus on God/Jehovah to do everything but they don’t realize that He’s delegated autonomy and free will to His creation.

Recently I was advising one of our precious young people who is headed to college next fall. The main thing I wanted her to remember is that life is about choices. When we’re underage a lot of decisions are made for us but as we get older we have more freedom to choose for ourselves.  Life is interminably linked to choices. The importance of the choices we make becomes more increasingly evident as we get older. All choices have consequences connected to them and one choice can make or break you!

I see choices like seeds. Every action whether in thought, word, or deed, is seed sown into the universe. Since we speak and do what we think, mental activity has an impact on what we release into the world. If you think, speak, and do evil, you’ll reap evil. If you think, speak, and do negativity, you’ll reap negativity. If you choose to think, speak, and do wise things, you’ll reap a life of wisdom. I’m still trying to figure out why people think, speak, and do bad things, and expect to get good results. It’s a fool’s error to believe you can do what you want even when it’s wrong and get the right results. Every thought, spoken word, and physical action, is a doorway to positive or negative; good or bad; success or failure.

Your present life is a crystallized manifestation of what you think, imagine, speak, and do. If your marriage is good it’s a manifestation of what you and your spouse think, imagine, speak, and do. If you’re sad it’s a manifestation of what you think, imagine, speak, and do. If you’re challenged financially it’s a manifestation of what you think, imagine, speak, and do. If you’re struggling with addictions it’s a manifestation of what you think, imagine, speak, and do. If you’re unhappy with your life it’s a manifestation of what you think, imagine, speak, and do. If you feel disconnected from God/Jehovah it’s a manifestation of what you think, imagine, speak, and do.

Trash-talkers are; trash-thinkers with a trashy imagination, evidenced by trashy behavior. The center of your finite existence circumvolves around what you think, imagine, speak, and do. Therefore the trash-talker has to change the way he/she think, imagine, speak, and do, before transformation can really take place.  Mastering yourself is a conquest of self which can yield permanent and eternal rewards. But you’ve got to work at changing dangerous and life-condemning thoughts daily. You can’t master your mouth until you master your mind. Next time I’ll discuss some of the internal roots of trash-talking.

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Trash talking has been largely attributed to people talking to others. Did you know that the number one target for trash-talking is personal and internal? Yes, people talk more trash to themselves than anybody else.

Let’s first define trash-talking. According to Merriam Webster Dictionary online trash-talk is “disparaging, taunting, or boastful comments especially between opponents trying to intimidate each other.”  The aim of true trash-talk is to boast and intimidate someone. When we engage in friendly or hostile competition we typically brag about our greatness intending to invoke fear, or even insecurity in our opponents.  There’s nothing like good trash-talking to make a game or contest more interesting.

What most of us don’t realize is that we engage ourselves in a similar practice daily. First of all do you realize that it is estimated that we think between 50,000 to 70,000 thoughts a day? Second did you realize that one study showed that women use around 21,000 words a day and men 7,000? More recent studies actually show it’s close to being around 16,000 a day for both genders with women being slightly ahead.  You can slice this cake one of two ways. Imagine if you thought 50,000 thoughts a day and 10% of your thoughts were negative which would equal 5,000 negative thoughts per day. Or what if you spoke negatively 10% of your 16,000 words a day which would equal 1,600 negative words.

Just by thinking and speaking negatively in the ten percentile range daily would have a great impact on your spirit, mood, self-confidence, self-esteem, and outlook on life. Frankly many people are well above the 10 percentile range daily in thinking and speaking negatively and they are extremely taxed, spiritually, psychologically, and physically, because of thinking and speaking trash to themselves.

Trash-Talking Self
When is the last time you insulted yourself because you forgot something or did something wrong? When is the last time you thought or called yourself stupid? When is the last time you thought or said you weren’t special?  When is the last time you thought or told yourself you’ll always struggle and have little? When is the last time you thought or said nobody really loves me? When is the last time you thought or said you weren’t worthy of certain things you were trying to attain? When is the last time you thought or said you didn’t like the way you looked? When is the last time you thought or said you wanted to just give up and quit because there’s no use in trying? When is the last time you thought or said nobody really loves me? When is the last time you thought or said nobody really appreciates me? When is the last time you thought or said your family would be better off if you were dead?

What we say to ourselves is generally defined in psychology as self-talk. All mature, human beings who are self-aware both think and talk to themselves. While all people think some are more verbal or verbose than others. What you think and speak determines your reality. Proverbs 23:7a For as he thinketh within himself, so is he… ASV. You are where you are right now because of how you think, which determines what you believe, which determines what you speak, which determines what you do.  What have you been thinking and speaking concerning yourself lately?

Next time I’ll discuss the power of your thoughts and how it helps shape your reality.

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I’m so appreciative that you've taken time again to walk with me today. My third entry in this discourse leads me to the third of the triplets mentioned by Plato in his examination of human life. Plato said “Human behavior flows from three main sources: desire, emotion, and knowledge”

People have said for years that knowledge is power. I partially agree with that. My opinion is that the proper application of knowledge is power. Knowledge alone without deployment is simply potential never knowing the realization of what it could do. To have knowledge and not apply it is like a man receiving a cashier’s check for one million dollars and within thirty days afterwards he gets evicted from his house and is driven to a life of homelessness. Having a cashier’s check isn’t enough to change anyone’s fortune. You must cash the check and utilize the funds in order to truly gain.

God declares in sacred scripture that “my people are destroyed for lack of knowledge…” Hosea 4:6. A lack of knowledge can put you in perilous situations and insure a poor outcome. If a family member falls to the floor in front of you convulsing because they are choking on something that has blocked their wind pipe, what you do next can determine whether they live or die. If you have knowledge of how to dislodge the object and you utilize it the loved one has a chance to live. An old saying is “what they don’t know won’t hurt them.” But my saying is “what you don’t know can kill you.

My father, Bishop Charlie Green Jr., a man of wisdom and unparalleled integrity, has a powerful truth that he’s uttered for decades. He would say “people would do better if they knew better”. That is true in many cases. Many people would make better choices if they just had more information before they made their decision. It is very difficult to be effective in anything without knowledge. Marriages fail because people don’t know how to be married. Families are dysfunctional because many people don’t know how to be functional. Some people are poor because they don’t know how to manage money.

Osama Bin Laden
War has been waged for centuries on this planet. Most think that sheer military might wins battles but that’s not really true. Intelligence tips the scales of war. Spies who work undercover, drones that secretly scour airspace, hackers that infiltrate, encrypted, military, firewalls, and other intelligence gathering resources, collect information that gives countries an advantage. Bin laden was killed because of intelligence. An informant discovered where he was hiding and passed the information through the proper channels. If you know the strengths and weaknesses of your enemy you can win the war. 

It’s close to impossible to win any personal battles or wars without knowing something about yourself and your enemies. Empowering yourself with information that enlightens and clarifies leads to the formulation of strategy and tactical plans that can give you a chance to win in life. Knowledge of God, self, friends, enemies, and more, is imperative if you plan to reach your goals and dreams. We must be willing to make the necessary sacrifices to limit our indulgences in things that don’t feed us with knowledge and understanding. It takes passion and a commitment to knowledge in order to consistently partake of its sweet nectar of empowerment.  “The heart of him who has understanding seeks knowledge, but the mouths of fools feed on folly.” Proverbs 15:14. Knowledge is an indispensable key that unlocks the door to MASTERING YOURSELF.

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The Faces of Emotion
Thanks for returning. In my last entry I started a discourse on suggesting a better world requires a better you. If Plato is accurate that “Human behavior flows from three main sources: desire, emotion, and knowledge” then it is imperative that we begin the work of mastering these areas.  This entry I want to discuss what I believe is probably the second most powerful of the three things Plato mentions and that is emotion. I might even add that emotion could trump knowledge in many cases as the most prolific.

Knowledge is potent but it’s bland and tasteless. Knowledge independent of emotion is color without flair, a movie without action or drama, food without taste, and a canvas without color, shape, and imagery. When people discover knowledge there typically is an emotion attached to it that drives them to become excited or depressed about what they've just learned.

Emotion is the affective, motivating, and interpretive part of our being. It literally converts raw data the mind processes into sensual reality. People rarely act on anything without emotion. How many times have you heard people say “I’ll do it if I feel like it or “I just don’t feel like it”? An unspoken mantra for society revolves around feeling. If it feels good people do it. We typically help people when we feel like it. Most people love based on feeling. Others work jobs based on feeling. I’ve made the statement for years that “emotion is the drug of the masses”.

Our physiology is neurologically constructed to produce emotion. Therefore our being is so hardwired to feel until it’s hard to escape the grip of emotion. We tend to interpret truth and make life-changing decisions based on what we feel in the moment. The world revolves around various positive and negative emotions. People make war based on anger or emotions that induce a state of fear, another emotion. Peace has even been brokered because someone felt like we needed to make amends. We use alcohol, drugs, and engage in sexual activities to chase a much coveted emotion that comes from pleasure. Listen I could literally go on forever with this. We are emotional junkies who will fight to our last breath to defend what feels right and be factually wrong. I state here for the record emotion is good when used properly. Please understand my revelations on this.

Adolph Hitler
When something as powerful as emotion has the greatest potential to do unmatched good it stands to reason that the polar opposite in misguided emotion can be the greatest undoing. Adolph Hitler the devious and maniacal leader of Germany in the early twentieth century ruled with fear, intimidation, and deception. He once said "I use emotion for the many and reserve reason for the few”. Adolph preached nationalism mixed with imperialism and intentionally aimed at the emotional heart-strings of people to bend them to his will. Emotion unchecked can create a frenzy of mindless souls who indiscriminately unleash, moral degeneration, pain, and carnage on present and future generations.

Making excuses to please our emotions will lead to a wild, untamed, entitled, selfish, and amoral society. A key piece to success is learning how to manage our emotions so that we can make good, sound, personal, and business decisions. A feeling may be good and empowering in the moment but it can get you a life sentence of misery, poverty, loss, and dead dreams. You can achieve incredible success and be effective in impacting the world but it will come at a price. Managing your emotions is the price you must pay to succeed and another step on the journey to MASTERING YOURSELF.

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A Chaotic World
It is no great mystery to me why the world is ill. Crime, perversion, abuse, rebellion, spiritual confusion, lack of identity, selfishness, deception, and more, roams our planet in overabundance. All of these ill-fated, ill-reputed, pathologies are deeply rooted in humanity.

Why is it on one hand we see the best of humanity but on the other hand we see the worst? What’s the difference between a murderer and a non-murderer? What’s the difference between serial cheaters and the faithful? What’s the difference between the sexually promiscuous and the chaste? Why do some abuse drugs and others don’t? Why do some abuse alcohol and others don’t? Why are some marriages good and others bad? Why is the perception of God changing for the worse? Why is it that everyone believes they should do what they want, when they want? Why are there so many confusing religious groups and beliefs?

Plato said “Human behavior flows from three main sources: desire, emotion, and knowledge” The constructive and destructive behavior in our world is impacted by the three things Plato mentions. Let’s begin with desire. Would the world be a better place if everybody got what they desired?

For example, if the traffic light was red and you pursued your desire to run it because you’re in a hurry you’ll not only jeopardize your life but the lives of others. What if other drivers approaching the red light are thinking like you? If people started deciding they should be able to run the red light whenever they please the accident and death rates will increase. The traffic light scenario is a metaphor for life. Laws and standards help establish order and keep us safe. We can’t act on selfish desires without seeing negative consequences.  

Honestly, we all are defective to a certain point and therefore our desires aren’t always pure or right. If everybody got everything they desired both good and bad there would be anarchy and great destruction. We’ve got to be real with ourselves, sometimes we desire things that just aren’t good for us or others. Instead of justifying inappropriate desires and harmful behavior we must learn to master our desires.  

Proverbs 25:28 “A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls.” ESV. When we lack self-control we become vulnerable, defenseless, people, who are susceptible to most anything. Our spirituality, morality, and humanity, are all degenerating, simply because the world has decided it doesn’t want to do without what it desires even when it’s bad.

We’ll deal with emotion in the next entry but I’ll leave this with you. We can change the world one person at a time and we can change our lives one day at a time. But the real key to a better world and a better you is to first stop making excuses about inappropriate desires and start MASTERING YOURSELF!

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