A Divine Exchange

Dr. Nicole LaBeach shows how the management of personal acceptance is within your reach
Dr. Nicole LaBeach shows how the management of personal acceptance is within your reach

So here’s the scene: it’s March 2013, and I’m sitting in a Paris hotel in a conversation with Nas, one of the most prolific artists of our time, when we have what I now know was a divine exchange. Simply, he asked, “So Doc, what’s the one thing that causes people to break up?” Before I knew it, my lips moved, and out it came: “Self-Management!” Commanding both of our attention, we paused and looked at each other in a space of unexplained agreement as if to say, Yeah, that works! Did we both just get a gift—something more than just conjecture? On the surface, it made sense, but it wasn’t just about managing self in reference to another person; it was more about managing “self” in reference to “self.” The understanding of “me” was the first lens through which I would see and experience my life. If I accepted being inherently good, and nothing or no one (not even me) had the power to change that DNA, I could free myself with my own key. If I ascribed to being fearfully and wonderfully made, I could accept that I wasn’t the manufacturer of myself, and my Creator got it right. If God’s view of “me” was “my” truth, the internal squatters of self-doubt, criticism, unforgiveness and insecurity were all within my power to evict.

When I give my self-view the authority to trump or misalign with God’s view of my identity, I lose! And, the cost of letting the faulty perceptions of my runaway self-view take the wheel is likened to managing my vision, movement and decisions with reckless abandon. I am, you are, we are unapologetically, uniquely and meaningfully created.

Still not sure, there’s proof in the mirror. Do you realize your reflection has always shown up for you? A reminder of God’s image, she’s always been faithful and on time. She’s been your true ride or die, and she’s only desired one thing for her absolute loyalty: your acceptance. Yes, we all have pasts, have made mistakes, experienced tragedy and missed the mark, but none of that has DNA shifting power. Once created good, valuable, purposeful and in His image, it’s always good. So here’s the question: What if you governed yourself through that reality? Could you be—just be—and dare to move within that sweet spot? Well, I’ve got 30 days and three simple tips to help you do just that:

Smile at her – Every day, go to the mirror either to put something on or take something off. When was the last time you stopped to say “hello” to your own reflection? Before you even pick up your toothbrush, you can opt to start a new routine. She no longer wants to be looked at as a necessary inconvenience to putting on your makeup and fixing your hair. For the next 30 days, give her the adoration she deserves by using your first 10 seconds to greet your reflection with a hug and a smile. For example: “Hey, Nicole, you know what? You’re pretty amazing. Did you know that? Thanks for showing up again today. Love you!”

Adopt a 1-to-4 ratio – If people could hear the things you say to yourself, would they see you as a friend and encourager or an enemy and discourager? Well, it’s time to get out of your head and listen to your own self-conversation. If it sounds like you’re being overly critical or beating up on yourself, guess what? You probably are! For the next 30 days, match every negative judgment with four positives you wouldn’t normally give voice to. It’s about diminishing your overused muscle of pointing out your flaws so you can see the blessings in the small things and let your cheerleader status kick in.

Choose your God-view – I once heard a saying, “The woman who thinks she can and the one who thinks she can’t are both right.” In other words, perspective is everything. For the next 30 days, pause whenever you feel afraid, limited, inept or insecure. Then identify who is leading that conversation with yourself. Is it your God-view or your self-view? If it’s not your God-view, choose the path, decision or thought that most honors it. Yes, doing so will often require you to go against your norm or move while afraid. But not to worry—every new paradigm requires a shift, and the best fear-buster you’ll ever use is movement, one step at a time.