One of the memorable quotes from my teacher education days was “Children have a way of knocking off each other’s rough edges. The problem is they often use a sledge hammer to do it.”

The face-to-face interactions that we have help us establish a sense of who we are. That is when we learn what is appropriate when sharing personal information and feelings. This can be warped if we are not valued as a separate person.

The supposed anonymity of electronic communications does not help us keep healthy boundaries and keep our self-worth easily. Many people think it is fun to write vicious things about others and post it for the world to see. They feel no responsibility for destroying the sense of self in another person. This contributes to the increases in diagnosed depressions and in suicides. But there is no right to destroy someone else.

This is why it is important to take a vacation from the stresses of everyday life, especially those stresses that give us negative messages about ourselves. Get away from the voices that tell you that you are not good enough or have failed in one way or another. Find that divine voice in you that says you are unconditionally loved and that you are a worthy person. If you do not understand yourself in this way you will not have healthy boundaries.

Accepting that the core of who we are is loved and valued, we can still face criticism. We will still have people who intrude into our boundaries and threaten our health. However, we can evaluate in a healthy way what is said about us or done to us. We can find the inner strength to reject false claims and demands on ourselves. We can find the inner strength to claim our right to exist, to find wholeness and to love.

I hope we can each find the time to set aside the negative demands and messages of life and let our loved selves shine. We are loved.

Pastor Phil