Watch the I Am-s

Child-of-God,-square

My coach (Jackie) and I were discussing the impact that self-perception has on one’s attitude, behaviors, relationships, peace-of-mind…frankly, everything! Self-perception is the way we tend to think about ourselves and what we believe to be true about ourselves. Whether our self-beliefs are conscious or not, they impact the way we show up in our relationships, our work, our parenting…again, everything!

Jackie told me that when her now-grown kids were younger, she was vigilant about guiding their self-perceptions by listening for the way they spoke about themselves. In particular, she would repeatedly tell them to “watch the I am-s”.
You know the ones:
I am so stupid.
I am so clumsy.
I am not smart enough.
I am ugly.
I am a disappointment.
I am bad.
It’s incredibly important that we consistently redirect these negative self-beliefs. Two ways we can do this are:

First, we help them take the negative focus off of him/herself and focus on the behavior instead. Here are a few examples:

  1. ‘I am so stupid’ becomes ‘that decision/behavior/choice was not a good one’.
  2. ‘I am so clumsy’ becomes ‘I sometimes drop things / fall / break things / etc’.
  3. ‘I am a disappointment’ becomes ‘I sometimes do things / say things that feel disappointing or that lead to disappointment’.

By focusing on behavior, we can then guide our children to think through the circumstances differently. We can empathize with their feelings and empower them to make a new choice or try a different behavior, one that will lead to a more desirable outcome. For example, “yes, that choice didn’t work out so well. What would you do differently next time?” Or “I’m sorry you feel disappointed. I feel disappointed too, when xyz happens. What do you think we should do now?”

Secondly, we help them develop a positive, affirming self-perception, by filling their hearts and minds with the truth of who they are. There is one “I Am” statement that will always be true about them (and about you!) –

“I am a child of God.”

And the beautiful reality of being a child of God means…
I am loved by the King of the Universe.
I am special to God.
I am held in the palm of His hand.

What else? Come up with some of your own. Say them aloud, over and over again. Tell your children each morning and every night as you tuck them into bed.

And while you’re at it, tell YOURSELF too. We women face many external pressures and cultural stereotypes that try to tell us who we are and how we are supposed to be / think / feel. The awesome news is that we get to be intentional and choose who and what we will believe. And, we are better equipped to authentically guide our children’s positive self-perceptions when we first work on our own positive self-perception. So let’s start with ourselves. Below are a few helpers – an exercise, a printable, and a video – to guide you in exploring your own “I Am-s” and becoming more intentional about believing in the Truth of who God says you are.

“My Self-Perception” Exercise

  1. Download the graphic “My Self-Perception Balloons” here and print it out.
  2. Set aside five or ten minutes a couple of times each day for the next 3 or 4 days. Grab a notebook or your journal and a pen. During these timeslots, follow the steps below:
    • Pray. Use this prayer here or one of your own: Heavenly Father, please guide this self-reflection time. Reveal to me my own thoughts and beliefs about myself. Reveal the inner messages I am telling myself. Most especially reveal those that are not serving me in my life now and those that are contrary to what You want for me to think and believe. Thank you, Father, for doing Your work in me. Amen.
    • Sit still, close your eyes, and take a few slow, deep breaths.
    • What thoughts are you aware of thinking? As you recall the events of the past couple of hours, what have you been telling yourself about YOU? Capture your inner conversation, any “I am” statements you tell yourself, and your self-perception beliefs in your journal or notebook.
    • Look at what you’ve written. Using the graphic you printed, write each “I am” statement and self-belief in a balloon. Include your thoughts that are limiting and dis-empowering, as well as those that are affirming and supportive. This will give you a visual of the primary beliefs and thought patterns currently creating your self-perception.
  3. Choose one limiting or dis-empowering “I am” belief that you are now ready to release. Ready to be super-intentional about no longer allowing that thought to impact how you are feeling about yourself or relating with others. Write this thought on the balloon that is floating away!

Child of God Printable. Download your free copy of this graphic by clicking on the image of it below. Tape it to your mirror or someplace that you will look at it throughout the day and remember the truth of who you are.
Child-of-God printable

God’s Truths About You video. Take a couple of minutes to soak in these eternal truths!

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