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Like yourself

/ 08:18 AM August 28, 2011

Watching the “Biggest Loser” Filipino edition on TV is looking at hope at work.

Two contestants are close to getting the distinction of reducing 100 pounds in almost three months.

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In one challenge, a male contestant slowed down to wait for a competitor to catch up with him. He wanted to encourage the other person who was really having a hard time doing the task. In this moment, making the other person feel good was beyond winning the challenge.

In another game, a male contestant won over a female contestant. He waited at the finish line and continued to prod his female counterpart to complete the race. “Just because you’re a girl doesn’t mean you can’t do it!” he yelled.

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I’ve watched daily this “Biggest Loser” reality TV show and sometimes I get frustrated at how most of them lose the competitive spirit because they didn’t want to make the others feel bad. Never mind if they didn’t win a challenge. Never mind if they end up embarrassed by their loss. Clearly bringing joy to another was beyond all heaps of popularity.

One of the most important things we can do for our family and friends is to help them find a deep well of joy within themselves, especially in trying times.

And one way to do this is by encouraging them.

When people don’t feel good about themselves, they become calloused and live their lives with monkeys on their backs. Some would create situations just to be the center of attention even if their actions already irritate the people around them.

If only these people whom we know are already carrying burdens of their past, present and even their future had access to a deep well of joy in their hearts, they would be able to “make it through the rain” and come out stronger from the experience.

That’s why we need to be encouragers more than criticizers.

It’s not that we approve of everything they say or do. But if we can only show them that they are loved and appreciated as people even if they are  through tough times.

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Let’s begin with our youngsters. Dorothy Law Nolte’s “Children Learn What They Live” emphasizes clearly the necessity of helping children  find joy in themselves so they can face life squarely in the eye and be persons of good character:

If children live with criticism, they learn to condemn.

If children live with hostility, they learn to fight.

If children live with fear, they learn to be apprehensive.

If children live with pity, they learn to feel sorry for themselves.

If children live with ridicule, they learn to feel shy.

If children live with jealousy, they learn to feel envy.

If children live with shame, they learn to feel guilty.

If children live with encouragement, they learn confidence.

If children live with tolerance, they learn patience.

If children live with praise, they learn appreciation.

If children live with acceptance, they learn to love.

If children live with approval, they learn to like themselves.

If children live with recognition, they learn it is good to have a goal.

If children live with sharing, they learn generosity.

If children live with honesty, they learn truthfulness.

If children live with fairness, they learn justice.

If children live with kindness and consideration, they learn respect.

If children live with security, they learn to have faith in themselves and in those about them.

If children live with friendliness, they learn the world is a nice place in which to live.

Show me a successful person and I will show you a happy child in his past. It is not about wealth or fame that made him happy. It’s about feeling good about one’s self.  “Popularity is when others like you. Happiness is when you like yourself.”

One way to help children feel good about themselves is to give them clear boundaries and age-appropriate responsibilities. Giving in to every whine they make when they want something will leave them confused, irresponsible and consequently with poor self-esteem.

When my kids were small and budget was tight, it always pained me  if I couldn’t  give them what they wanted. I brushed aside their dejected faces when I said “no”. But what I did was remember their hearts’ desires and ask God to give me the blessing to buy what they wanted if those would  be good for them. And when it  happened, my children’s joy was overpowering. They would be so happy about  the surprise and from then on, the learned to wait and not demand. The realization that God knew what they needed  made them feel special and happy.

When we love ourselves, we can we effectively give joy to others too. As I always say, “You can’t give what you don’t have.”

So if we want to make other people happy, start by using encouraging words to build their spirits up and not to hurt them. For example, we can easily find fault with others and pass judgment but we fail to deal with our own sins. Remember that we will answer to God for all  we’ve done, thought and said.

There is much in this world that will not be joy-filled. But being happy about ourselves is the first step to see the good in this world, in other people. What do you say if we help one another to like ourselves so we can learn that the world is actually a nice place to live?

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