No man ever wetted clay and then left it, as if there would be bricks by chance and fortune.
The physical, emotional, and spiritual components of well-being are not unlike the legs of a tripod. Each contributes to the balance and solidity of the whole. When we fail to attend to any one, the structure of our life soon becomes shaky and insecure.
That’s why it is important each day to set our personal priorities and to follow through with disciplined and consistent actions. We know from experience what happens when we do otherwise. To be sure, numerous examples are still fresh in our minds.…
When we gave up exercising for an entire month, without a good reason, we lost much of the cardiovascular fitness we had attained. When we regressed and for a time stopped being honest and open with our feelings, we soon began to feel angry and alienated. When we lost interest and temporarily abandoned our spiritual search, God suddenly seemed remote and impersonal.
We’ve learned, and probably will have to learn again, that consistency and discipline—a day at a time—are absolutely essential if we are to maintain the well-being we’ve worked so hard to achieve.
THOUGHT FOR TODAY: What important actions will I take today to enhance my well-being?
None of us has a patent on being right.
—Millard E. Tydings
For many years of my life it was vitally important for me to always be right. I would go to any length to defend the rightness and validity of my actions and opinions. Even when I suspected or knew that I was wrong, something compelled me to prove I was right.
I certainly didn’t see it at the time, but I’ve come to realize that my immaturity in this regard was a way of compensating for strong feelings of inadequacy. To make matters worse, I had no humility but, instead, was driven by pride.
Since I expended so much energy defending my “rightness,” it was all but impossible to grow psychologically and spiritually. Because I was always fighting someone or something, my relationships were severely strained. I was perpetually tied up in emotional knots.
I matured slowly. As I became more secure within myself and developed a growing sense of self-worth, I became less prideful and more open-minded.
Now that I no longer have to defend my rightness, I’m so much more at ease. Even when I know I’m right, I’m not driven to prove it. These days, what’s most important is being right with myself.
THOUGHT FOR TODAY: Do I always have to have the last word?
Nothing can bring you peace but yourself.
—Ralph Waldo Emerson
In the past, it wasn’t often that we experienced a sense of well-being. When we did, it was as if we were receiving a precious gift. Those fleeting moments were serendipitous, and almost always resulted from circumstances that had somehow lined up favorably—an extraordinary sunset, for example, or even unexpected praise at work. Hardly ever did such intervals of serenity come from within.
Today, in contrast, emotional well-being is an undercurrent of our daily lives. It flows steadily through our thoughts, actions, and experiences. It arises largely from within ourselves, and has little to do with outside forces.
How is it that something once so rare and ephemeral is now an abiding part of our existence? The answer is that we’ve developed self-knowledge, and as the result have learned what actions to take or avoid in order to attain a sense of well-being.
We no longer have to wait passively for peace of mind to come to us, but can actively pursue it. In addition, we now trust that God will always love and care for us, and this in itself provides us with great inner peace.
THOUGHT FOR TODAY: Serenity is no less precious, but ever more abundant.
The first problem for all of us, men and women, is not to learn, but to unlearn.
Change eluded some of us for a long, long time. It’s not that we didn’t want to change, or didn’t try. The opposite was true. Changing the way we looked, felt, and acted was just about all we ever thought about and desired.
The problem was, we were so intolerant of ourselves that we felt life wouldn’t be worthwhile unless we changed radically and completely. Needless to say, our intolerance—our total inability to accept ourselves, even partially—created enormous and unrelenting pressure to change. And this virtually guaranteed failure.
As it turned out, we first had to learn to accept ourselves as we were—unhealthy, depressed, addicted, laden with character defects, whatever—before it became possible to change. We had to develop enough self-acceptance to honestly believe, “If this is the best I can do at this point in my life, it’s okay.”
Only then did the tremendous pressure we had put on ourselves for so long begin to lift. We soon started going out of our way to be supporting and encouraging of ourselves, for we had come to realize that these qualities are essential to personal change.
THOUGHT FOR TODAY: Self-acceptance is not an ending, but a beginning.
Truth is such a rare thing, it is delightful to tell it.
This time it feels like it’s for real—we’ve finally started doing something constructive about our compulsive overeating. We’ve joined a support group, we’re following a recommended diet, and we’ve begun to exercise. Best of all, we’ve actually lost five pounds in the first month and a half.
But suddenly our old archenemy, impatience, takes over. We feel that the weight isn’t coming off fast enough, that our exercise program isn’t doing any real good. Practically overnight, we become discouraged and depressed. We’re ready to blow the whole thing.
If ever there was a time to be gentle and fair to ourselves, this is it! To overcome our disillusionment, it’s vitally important that we actively encourage ourselves—as often and as specifically as we can.
First and foremost, we need to honestly acknowledge the progress we’ve already made, and give ourselves credit for that. Next, we ought to take stock of the most recent 24-hour period. Did we stick to our diet? Did we exercise? Did we do the very best we were able to do?
If the answers are yes, we should then ask the most important question of all: What more can we possibly expect from ourselves?
THOUGHT FOR TODAY: I will treat myself as I would a dear friend—with patience and encouragement.
Copyright © 2009 by Anonymous. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.