Wow. Sometimes we can feel pounded by the events in our lives, but the good news is that we don’t have to stay there.
Have you ever been around someone who was down on themselves a lot? Made you not want to be around them, didn’t it? Have you ever beat up on yourself by thinking or saying negative things about yourself? Keep reading. Hopefully, this post will help you make that a thing of the past. Despite the traumas or losses you endure, or times when you’re feeling down and hopeless, remember you always have your God-given potential—whether or not you’re using it.
In this blog, we’re going to talk about how to think positive about your potential. We’ll look at
- who or what influences your thinking and inner images
- how that happens
- who can change those images; and
- how to serve others with your potential
Who or What Influences Your Thinking
Before going any further, let’s define the word potential. I like what Wikipedia says, “Potential generally refers to a currently unrealized ability.” While there are other ways they define potential, this one is what we’ll be talking about in this post. Think about the “unrecognized ability” you have. Remember how you used to think when you were little? How you wanted to do great things? What happened to that? What happened to your potential?
Well, from birth on up until now, you’ve been shaped by what you’ve heard and listened to, what you’ve watched or seen, and by who you’ve been around. Sometimes parents and relatives unknowingly say or do things that leave lasting impressions. But, then again, friends and strangers can do that too. Keep in mind that to go up higher than you are right now you need to get around people who inspire you. Makes sense, right? We learn a lot by hanging around other people. If they are grumpy, always sleeping, don’t want to work, are messy, and have no clue about the abilities they have, guess what your life might look like in the long run? Right. The same as that person’s life.
So if you want to achieve great things, get around people who are also doing the kind of great things that you’re interested in doing and you will reach your goals faster. Those individuals draw out the best in us and we walk away feeling glad to have been around them. Plus, we find ourselves reaching higher and pushing beyond what we think our abilities might be.
How We are Influenced
So who we’re around and who we listen to and read about truly does influence us. Think about this. After we’re born, we begin to be influenced by others around us. Then, when we head off to school as children, our lives begin to be influenced by other people beyond our families.
People other than our parents and siblings start telling us things about who we are and our abilities and capabilities, whether good or bad. Those other people may not think like we have been taught to think or do things the way we learned to do them. If we choose friends at school who are angry and bullying others, or rebelling against parents, that could influence our lives in a very negative way for a long time to come But, if we choose friends who are happy, polite, and ambitious, and glad to help others, that can influence us in many positive ways. Those are the people who are trying to use their abilities in positive ways.
Suppose parents believe in what their children can accomplish, but a school teacher doesn’t see that kind of potential. The teacher may say that the child won’t make it through that school year with anything except low grades and that the child is destined to struggle throughout all the school years. Yes, that really could happen. In that case, the parents would have to work that much harder with the child to overcome the negative influences the teacher might be having on their child.
Fast forward to adulthood. Sometimes adults still hear those old negative words of abusive parents or non-affirming teachers, relatives, school friends, or former friends might have said years ago. Ouch! When that happens, guess what kind of work they might do? Maybe not very good work, because they have trouble believing in themselves, understanding that they have abilities, and don’t see that they have the potential to accomplish their dreams. I see this a lot with clients who have been through abuse—especially long-term abuse. They have to work extra hard at overcoming the negative words spoken over them to believe the good about themselves. It’s sad to see. It’s especially challenging for my clients with traumatic brain injuries and severe short-term memory loss. Depending on the brain injury, some can remember the negative words that are embedded in their long-term memories, but not the positive words that we have worked on in recent years that are stored in their short-term memories. It seems to take a lot of repetition for the new, positive words to start taking hold. That process takes time. At the same time, I’m also reminding them that they have great potential. They have abilities that they haven’t yet discovered and they were uniquely created to do something special with their gifts and talents. The same is true for each of us.
Who can Change Those Images and Thoughts
I believe that God made each of us with a special purpose in mind. But to find out what He says about us and why He created us takes developing a relationship with Him. That begins by reading the Bible and talking to God. Reading it we find out what God says about us and about the good plans He has for us. That’s how we can begin to change the past negative words spoken over us, and the negative images and thoughts we have about ourselves that resulted from traumatic experiences, losses, and negative things spoken over us.
There are a lot of positive psychology tools available to help you learn how to see life differently, but for me, the Bible is the source that has truly transformed my life from the inside out. As you read it and study it, the same is likely to be true for you. When you’re reading the Bible, keep in mind that after Jesus died on the cross to eliminate all of our sins–past, present, and future, a new covenant began with God. That’s the one we’re in now. That new covenant God has with us now is one about His Grace extended to us and His great Love for us. His grace is life-changing because He patiently teaches us His ways as He helps us see our potential the way He does—very positively!
How to Use Your Potential to Serve Others
As we read the Bible, we see how God worked through many men and women to accomplish great things. What great things does God want to do through you? Stay tuned. Keep in close contact with God and ask Him about the plans He has for your life. We all have skills, talents, and interests that can be used to serve others. How do you feel when you use your skills and talents to serve other people? If you’re not sure, then it’s time to find a way to plug into local schools, churches, social service organizations and see where you can serve others who need the skills, talents, and giftings that you have. Often when we use our potential and serve others more doors open for us to use our potential in even greater ways. So start thinking positive about your God-given potential, talk to God about what you can do to help others, and get out there and serve! It is very fulfilling when we use our potential to help others.
In this post, we’ve talked about who and what influences your thinking and inner images, how it can happen over the years, who can change those images; and how to serve others with your potential. The key to thinking positive about your potential is to be courageous, step out and take some action to help others in the ways that you can. You have unique gifts to help others. Try different ways of helping others and see what you enjoy the most. The more you serve others, the more ways you will find to use your potential and serve others.
I look forward to reading your thoughts and comments on this topic about how you think positive about your potential and how you have used your potential to help others. Thank you for reading my blog!
Have fun using your potential!
Your Rebuilding Lives Coach,