This critical person – in your own head?

By Dave Henning / September 2, 2018

“But what if this critical person is in your own head? What if you are the person with the problem?  What if you have met the enemy, and he is you?”- Henry Cloud and John Townsend, Boundaries

“I’m telling you to love your enemies.  Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst.  When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer, for then you are working out of your true selves, your God-created selves.”- Matthew 5:43-45 (MSG)

In Chapter 5 (“Step Two: Befriend”) of Boundaries for Your Soul, Alison Cook and Kimberly Miller show you how to address your internal resistance to unwanted parts of yourself.  As you strengthen your relationship with your internal protectors, and then the exiles they protect, you grow toward acceptance and wholeness.

The authors remind us that Jesus, confronted by soldiers in the Garden of Gethsemane, could have commanded angels to destroy His enemies.  With that action, He’d prevent His arrest and execution (Matthew 26:53). Yet, Christ’s death on the cross proved the power of grace.

Furthermore, Alison and Kim posit, what if Jesus’ command in Matthew 5:43-45 refers to more than extending grace to external enemies?  What if it also refers to perceived enemies within?  Thus, the authors urge you to remember that every part of you is valuable and worthy of your compassion.  Furthermore, God loves and wants to do something beneficial through each one.

In conclusion, Alison and Kim reiterate that criticizing and rejecting parts of yourself fails to make things better.  Instead, befriending aspects of yourself you most dislike wins them over.  It’s extending hospitality, as Henri Nouwen explains:

“Hospitality . . . means primarily the creation of a free space where the stranger can enter and become a friend instead of an enemy.  Hospitality is not to change people, but to offer them space where change can take place.”

Today’s question: Do you feel that the critical person is in your own head?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: “Holistically focus with compassion”

About the author

Dave Henning

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