Recently I have discovered something about myself. I HATE compliments. I find any way possible to avoid them… or discourage them. Seriously. What is my problem?!? Being your own psychoanalyst is not an easy job, so here’s a warning, don’t try it! Every time something positive is thrown my way I find some way to brush it off quickly and move on with life. Is that wrong? Half of my brain tells me yes (probably the creative half, its the most sensible of the two), but the other half tells me no. Encouragement doesn’t always need to come in the form of “Hey! That sweater is SO cute!” or, “Those shoes are adorable!” However, it often does. I can’t tell you how many times a day I find myself thinking that complimenting hair, outfits, GRADES, or just about anything else that touches surface level and goes no further will build someone up. NEWS FLASH! It doesn’t! (Well, it does… but there are things that could be much more effective). So the question is, am I just generally a negative person? I sure hope not! Where to go from here… that is the tricky part. Starting now (and by now I mean tomorrow, because it’s late and I should be in bed) I will view life in a positive way. The world is fallen and sinful, LIFE IS STILL GOOD! GOD IS STILL GOOD! Martin Luther has a list of ten points to help the depressed person. For those of us who do not struggle with this illness, I think we can use it to our benefit as well:
1. “Avoid being alone”- Maybe not super applicable to this, but still.
2. “Seek out people or situations which generate joy.”- So true. Guys, if all you do is listen to depressing music and find sorrow in everything, realistically, how joyful can life really be?
3. “Sing and make music… rather than simply listening to it.”- There might actually be some people in my life would like me to participate in less of this… but good ol’ Martin told me to, so I’m doin it!
4.”Dismiss heavy thoughts.”- Being philosophical is great, but give your brain a break. Think about simple joys. Take a vacation from your brain once in a while.
5. “Rely upon the promises of scripture.”
6. “Seek consolation from others.”- So… not always compliments. Be willing to be deconstructed.
7. “Praise and give thanks”
8. “Think of other depressed people.”- This may not be the best if you are looking for joy, but we can take a tip and think about others!
9.”Exercise patience with yourself.”- Tough pill to swallow. We’re told not to be prideful… but we are God’s creation. Take some joy in what He has given you.
10. “Believe in the blessing of depression.”- My apologizes for this one… but for those struggling with this, it is very true!
Maybe those 10 things don’t really apply at all, or maybe they apply more than I know. What I do know is this- I have an amazing role model, Daniel H. Smith. He once lectured in class about loving life, not because of what it can do for us, but because of what we can do for others. If I need to step up and accept a compliment to help someone else, then I just need to do it! I think it’s time to realize that maybe my distaste for these things might, in itself, be a prideful thing. Or maybe I need to take a hint from Martin and vacation from my thoughts for a day.
In any case, school ends in 4 weeks. It’s basically like looking up from the bottom, but He sustains and gives grace.