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As I walked into the furniture store, the salesman waved me over, smiling.

“Did you get your free gift?!?”

I asked him what the gift was, and he said, “Oh, it’s a secret! But I’m sure you’ll love it! Just fill out this quick survey.”

I completed the survey and he handed me my free gift.

An amazing, fantastic, one-of-a-kind….welcome mat.

“This is my free gift?” I asked, disappointed.

“Yeah!” he said. “Isn’t it something?”

“Oh, it’s something, all right,” I said, and wafted off to look at futons.

Not everything lives up to its hype.

People may let us down, but perhaps the most persistent critic in our lives is the voice in our own heads. You know the voice I mean – the Negative Naysayer.

Not so much a voice-over as a voice-under of sorts.

That voice just under the surface that gets under your skin. On your case. On your nerves.

Perhaps somewhere in the ether, there’s a Negative Naysayer Voice-Under Artists’ Union. I imagine them all getting together, glowering, to give each other a hard time.

The things they say inside your head never add anything positive to your life:

  • Took you long enough!
  • That’s not how it’s supposed to be done.
  • Sure wasn’t your finest hour, was it?

There are times when things don’t go as planned, but there’s no Litmus Test of Life. I’ll have to check the law books, but I do believe that you still get to be in the human race, even if your socks don’t match.

As far as I know,  you’re allowed to walk the earth despite the spinach stuck in your teeth.

Perfect people are boring to be around, anyway, don’t you think?

Babe Ruth said it best: “Every strike brings me closer to the next home run.”

One of the “mom-isms” I toss at my son continually is, “It only takes one person believing in you for you to have a fighting chance.”  It often nets a teen-age eye-roll, but I think the message sinks in.

I think we’ve all been in the place where we feel like there isn’t even one soul on the planet giving us the support we need.  So what to do?

Not getting encouragement is like lack of oxygen to the soul.  On the other hand, sustaining  someone else at your own expense is soul-icide.

Quiet as it’s kept, believing in God includes believing in yourself as well.

Think of it this way. When you doubt yourself, you also doubt God.  He created you just as you are, and at the same time, gave you the elastic, fantastic ability to refine and re-define yourself.

So when you reach that point where you feel alone and unappreciated, you could fold like a house of cards, or you might consider invoking your heritage as a child of God and encouraging yourself.

For one full day, see only the good in everyone.  Get specific about naming your blessings. Spin every little thing that happens into gold, even if it seems like hay.  Pare down the things (I will say it:  and the people) in your life that no longer serve you or even drain you.  You know you’ve got at least a dozen “Friends” on Facebook that suck the living marrow out of your bones.  Unfriend these psyche-vampires immediately.

You don’t have to be responsible for every lost soul and stray cat that crosses your path, but you do need to take care of yourself so you can really determine who else you are responsible for.  One of my own standard prayers is to “be a better steward of all those entrusted to my care.”  If you shore yourself up with prayer and positive thinking, you’ll be fully equipped to take care of others.

So be good to yourself.  Encourage yourself.  Love yourself as God loves you.  If you believe in God, do him proud.  Believe in yourself as well.

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Have a Mary Little Christmas

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