I've been thinking about why it is that negative words seem to have more impact on us than the positive ones...why one negative comment can wipe out all the good of tens of other positive, affirming ones. I don't have an answer for that, but I have realized how much of my life has been impacted by a few careless words that were spoken to me by people in my young life. I feel for anyone in that middle school/junior high age bracket. Kids can be so mean, can't they? Anyway, much of my thinking has been formed around those "mean" words, rather than the life-giving words of my parents and of my Father in heaven.
Whatever the reason for it, I think one of the ways out has nothing to do with trying to simply change my thinking, but changing my focus. Earlier in the week I was looking at Matthew 6:21, which says that where my treasure is, my heart will be also. And what immediately came to mind for me was, If I treasure myself, I will be consumed with talk and thoughts about myself. If I treasure others, that's what I will think about. It's about retraining my mind not to constantly think about how something will impact me, about defending myself, or staying isolated so that no one mistreats me. It's about looking to the One who made Himself nothing, who remained silent while He was subjected to abuses of all kinds, and Who treated everyone as if they were valuable...regardless if they reciprocated. He reached out first, risked rejection and simply loved people.
That's the kind of person I want to be and that's what I was made to do...and oh my, how difficult it seems! I pray for the strength to go there and I believe there is healing for my own heart in reaching out to someone else's.