Today I was reminded of something that happened with Bryson when he was just a little fella.  We were out in the front yard, and he was trying to reach a star.  He was jumping as high as he could at two years old.  He continued this for a long time and each time he would jump up and try to grab a star he would proclaim, “Almost!” and try again.  My heart was overwhelmed with this wonderful sight. My heart hoped he never stopped reaching with such passion for the stars.  Oh, if we could all be that way.

Another thing I saw in Bryson as a young boy was that he had a great deal of self-affirmation.  He would applaud himself all the time.  I have watched him over and over try something new or try to climb to a new height and once he accomplishes his task he always jumps up and shouts. “I did it!”  You can tell by the look on his face that he was so very proud of himself.

It is very sad to say that few people have such a strong self-affirmation.  Most people are their worst critic.  While they may see the good in others, they seldom see the good in themselves.

Joel Osteen has the ability to encourage himself.  I once heard his wife tell a story about a time when he did a television interview.  When he was done, he said, “That went really well, I said everything I wanted to say, I don’t think I could have done any better.”  The man with him was shocked at the positive way he spoke about himself.  His friend realized that he needed to be more positive about himself in the future.

Why is it so easy to see the good in others but not see the good in ourself as easily?  I am not talking about being boastful or prideful – I am talking about having healthy self-esteem.

Do you find yourself saying things like, “I am so stupid, I can’t believe I did that?”  Or, “I never do anything right.”  Do you often criticize yourself?  Do you have self-defeating thoughts?  If so, stop it!  You can always find negative stuff if you look for it, begin to instead look for the positive stuff about yourself.

Perhaps you just did a really good project at work, applaud yourself.  Perhaps you have overcome an addiction, applaud yourself.  Perhaps you forgave when you have been hurt, applaud yourself.  Perhaps you kept your mouth shut, when you could have let someone have it, applaud yourself.  Look for the things you do well and celebrate those.

Stop rehearsing everything in your life that you have ever failed at or that has ended wrong – let it go.  You may have made many mistakes that brought you to this place, forgive yourself and realize that you are still here, still standing and still moving forward – applaud yourself for that one thing alone.

Stop being your worst critic and begin to be your biggest cheerleader.  It’s easy to pick at all your negative traits but if you will begin to celebrate your good ones, the bad ones will be easier to fix.  Begin to remind yourself of all the things you did right instead of the things you did wrong.  Change your focus.  Lighten up – we are not perfect, none of us – but we should be able to encourage ourselves and move on.

Yes, it is vital to love God and love others, but you must also love yourself.  You can’t give what you don’t have.  You can’t wait on others to validate you – you must first validate yourself – you must pull from that strength that resides on the inside of you and applaud yourself.

You will find that the way you treat yourself is often a reflection of how you treat others – and how others will treat you.  If you are good to yourself, others will be too.  If you think highly of yourself, others will too.  If you are constantly negative about yourself, others will agree with you.  You are valuable.  God created you as special.  You are unique.  See yourself as such and you will be seeing yourself as God sees you – as a treasure.