How Do I Want to Feel?

When it comes to feelings, the best strategy is to validate them (briefly) but put your focus on how you want to feel. This approach is more future-oriented and less susceptible to the feedback loop of past mistakes. More important, it invokes Adult brain values.

“I feel resentful, but I want to feel kind.” With this subtle but crucial shift in focus, past experiences of feeling kind are loaded into implicit memory. I recognize that I really like myself better at those times, because kindness is part of my value system. I imagine myself doing things that will bring those feelings to life, such as wishing others happiness and well-being. I practice allowing myself to be concerned with the well-being of my loved ones. I practice behaviors that embody my concern for them.

— Steven Stosny, Soar Above, p. 106-107

Maturity and Affliction

Yes, our maturity certainly involves doing the things Jesus did. Healing and all. But that maturity also involves becoming like him in the transformation of our character. It involves holiness — loving God with all our hearts, souls, minds, and strength. Being willing to suffer the loss of everything for him. Choosing him in the midst of suffering. Which is to say, having within us the character of Jesus. And how does God shape our character? We hate the answer, but we know it to be true: affliction.

— John Eldredge, Moving Mountains, p. 224

A Gift

Being attracted to someone lets us know that we have a gift for them. Often, when we are attracted to somebody, we think they are supposed to give us something, but our joy comes in realizing that if we give the gift, a creative project comes to both of us as a result of that connection. If we are willing to give our gifts with integrity, we enjoy a creative connection with many, many joyful people.

Today, as you recognize yourself being attracted to someone ask yourself, “What is the gift I am to give them that would really move them forward?” It might only be a blessing or a feeling of support, but whatever it is give it without any expectation of receiving anything in return. Give your gift with integrity and love, and enjoy this creative connection you now have with them.

— Chuck Spezzano, If It Hurts, It Isn’t Love, p. 182

Making Us Good

As the love of him who is love transcends ours as the heavens are higher than the earth, so must God desire in his child infinitely more than the most conscientious and loving of mothers can desire in hers.

He would have his child rid of all discontentment, all fear, all grudging, all bitterness in word or thought, all measuring of his own with a different gauge than he would apply to another’s. He will have no curling of the lip, no indifference toward any person, no desire to excel over another. He will not have him receive the smallest service without gratitude, would not hear from him a tone to jar the heart of another, a word to make it ache.

From such, as from all other sins, Jesus was born to deliver us — not primarily, or by itself, from the punishment of any of them. When all are gone, when the sin nature which causes them has been put to death and his Spirit substituted inside the part of our hearts that rules our deeds, then the holy punishment will have departed also.

He came to make us good, and therein blessed children.

— George MacDonald, Hope of the Gospel “Salvation from Sin,” quoted in Discovering the Character of God, edited by Michael Phillips, p. 41

Compassion and Boundaries

Very early on in my work I had discovered that the most compassionate people I interviewed also have the most well-defined and well-respected boundaries. It surprised me at the time, but now I get it. They assume that other people are doing the best they can, but they also ask for what they need and they don’t put up with a lot of crap. I lived the opposite way: I assumed that people weren’t doing their best so I judged them and constantly fought being disappointed, which was easier than setting boundaries. Boundaries are hard when you want to be liked and when you are a pleaser hell-bent on being easy, fun, and flexible.

Compassionate people ask for what they need. They say no when they need to, and when they say yes, they mean it. They’re compassionate because their boundaries keep them out of resentment.

— BrenĂ© Brown, Rising Strong, p. 114-115.