A while back I came across an article written by Martin Goldsmith (A Psychotherapist) he listed ten things to improve your life. I believe these ten things are important but I will add my comments and also add three more Wesleyan points to the secular approach created by Martin Goldsmith.
1. Give up lying. The truth always comes out, and any ill-gotten gain will disappear. People you have tried to hurt are living better lives, and the act you lie about probably did not make a darn bit of difference in their lives. As Wesleyans we believe that we are not to gossip and by lying about someone we are gossiping.
2. Love is the one of the most valuable things worth holding onto. Many things can get in our way like greed, temptation, aging and illness. But love will make you whole, and nothing else will in the same way. As Christians we are to love one another, we find this over and over again in Scripture.
3. Release negative memories and thoughts. Tell yourself out loud that you do not want to think about this anymore. Sometimes just hear your thoughts spoken aloud can make a huge difference. I learned in a Psychology class years ago have always embraced the concept that it has been okay and very therapeutic to speak to yourself out loud and have a private conversation with oneself.
4. Give yourself a break. Being overly hard on yourself when you have made a mistake just makes matters worse, because the mistake then takes over your thoughts for a while. Life is a learning process. We are to forgive others and when we say that it also means scripturally that we are to forgive ourselves just as God has forgiven us.
5. Know that if you your basic necessities are covered, money can never be the most important thing. If making more money is your main drive, you will hurt yourself and others in the long game. And you will miss out on a lot of life. Jesus in Scripture talked about our desire for money more than any other topic and one of his best quotes was, “Does God not take care of the birds of the air, then he will take care of you too”.
6. Recognize that if you enjoy conflict there’s something unhealed inside of you. No matter how you expression your dislike for something by being passive aggressive or bullying it’s toxic for you as well. As Wesleyans we believe we are to do no harm.
7. Find one thing in the day to look forward to. Any amount of pleasure will do; you cannot live a life with zero happiness. Taking all things for granted will give you no excitement in life. As Christians we are to live with joy and hope and today does count as part of eternity.
8. Take at least one day off a week. By doing so do not bring home your work or the office with you. Pace yourself and just be. Allow yourself some time to be with yourself and when you are comfortable with that add God to the equation may that day be Sunday!
9. Listen to some music every day. Technology in our modern-day world allows much access to music, poetry or meditation. Find a favorite song and a favorite hymn and ask “Alexa” to play it for you. This will lower your stress and you will be taking care of yourself. God in Genesis commanded us to take care of the world he created and this includes oneself.
10. Make time for yourself to relax for a number of minutes each day. Start with ten minutes and then add minutes as you become more and more comfortable with meditation or reading Scripture or studying a devotion. Pause after the study and reflect on how the thoughts of the day can be a part of your life not just for that day but in the many days to come. A little time of quiet and relaxing can make a huge difference in our lives.
As Wesleyans and your pastor I encourage you to look at these ten items with contemplation using our “Three Simple Rules” that John Wesley has taught us.
11. Do no harm.
12. Do good.
13. Stay in love with God.
If we take these three simple rules of John Wesley and apply them each day in our lives as they relate to the ten previous ideas given to us by Mr. Goldsmith on how to improve our lives we as Christians can make a large difference not only in our own lives but the lives of our family, our friends, our church, our associates and the world.