Wednesday, April 17th, 2024

R Relationships by Dr. Bill Austin
Spinach



SPINACH




Many of us grew up with the cartoon character Popeye. The stories were always similar: Popeye gets into a situation where he is overpowered-usually in a fight with the bully Bluto. During the fight, Popeye is getting creamed. When he has had enough, he pulls out a can of spinach. When Popeye eats his spinach, something amazing happens: he miraculously changes from a powerless victim to a strong man who can defeat any opposition.

Imagine the difference Popeye's spinach could make in our lives. With our own psychological spinach, we could move from feeling powerless and afraid to feeling strong. After being criticized or put down, we could pull out our spinach to empower ourselves. When we are hurt by someone, we could pull out our spinach to remind us that we are okay. After failing at something like a relationship, we could pull out our spinach to remind ourselves that the word "fail" is a verb, not an adjective. With the power of our psychological spinach, we could turn our hardships and disappointments into events that make us stronger.



Imagine the difference Popeye's spinach could make in our lives.
With our own psychological spinach,
we could move from feeling powerless and afraid to feeling strong.



What would be our spinach? How do we empower ourselves? Since there are many ways of empowering ourselves, I would like to offer a few for consideration.

Our psychological spinach may be our learning to forgive others. When we cannot forgive, we are giving someone else our power. Remember that forgiveness doesn't mean that we are condoning or approving the pain someone caused us. Forgiveness is taking away the power we give to the pain and the offender. By so doing, we give ourselves the power to release ourselves and heal.

For some of us, our spinach might be claiming the compliments and affirmations that others give us and beginning to believe in our higher self. I love the response one elderly lady gave after I complimented her about how well she did on a project. After saying, 'You did a great job today!" she responded, 'Oh, you are just saying that because it is true!' She was right. I was saying it because it was true. Instead of discounting my compliment, she claimed it. A good response when someone pays us a compliment is to say, 'Thanks, I will claim that.' We need to claim the things we want to believe about ourselves.

Sometimes when we look at ourselves in the mirror, we do not see that higher self. We see the face and descriptions that society has conditioned us to see. We may see someone who is not attractive or intelligent. Wouldn't it be great to see our faces as our best friends and our children see us or, ultimately, how God sees us? With that kind of spinach, we could take risks and love the way we desire.




Dr. William E. Austin is a licensed psychotherapist and holds a Doctor of Divinity degree. He is a therapist with Tidewater Pastoral Counseling Services . He is well known for his warmth and sense of humor. His book, Creating Our Safe Place - Articles on Healthy Relationships, can be purchased through www.amazon.com.

Tidewater Pastoral Counseling: 623-2700