Short Poem About Self Esteem and Your Self-Image

A Short Poem About Your Self-Image, Self Esteem, and Positive Thinking


“The Mirror”

The mirror stands tall and peers with endless eyes,
full of the power to change your course in life.
It’s skilled in planting and sowing your demise,
yet is always willing to inspire and energize.
It’s the instigator of failure’s reprise,
or makes goals and dreams actualized.
The mirror grants the viewer a new image with each sunrise,
but only reflects back what the mind supplies.

-Poem Written by Justin Farley

The Light That Shines in the Darkness – A Poem About Hope


The Light That Shines in the Darkness – A Poem About Hope

There’s a light that shines in the darkness.
There’s a destiny waiting at the end of the road.
There’s meaning in the middle of this emptiness.
There’s a reason you’ve been asked to carry this heavy load.

Lessons are taught when we reach out
Farther than we thought we’d ever dare.
Faith abounds when we confront our deepest doubts,
Enduring more than we dreamed we could ever bear.

There’s a dawn waiting at the edge of every midnight.
There’s a seed planted with every fallen leaf.
With every wrong there’s the chance to make a right.
With every hour of suffering there’s an eternity of relief.

Our darkest moments give us the opportunity
For seasons of our greatest growth.
Everyday we work towards continuity
Of acceptance and persistent hope.

And there’s a light that shines in the darkness.
There’s a star that guides the way.
There’s a gate that’s open to forgiveness.
There’s a shepherd who saves those who’ve gone astray.

-Poem Written by Justin Farley

Hello, everyone! I have recently published my first chapbook of Christian poems titled “A Voice in the Wilderness – A Chapbook of Poems about God”. This has been developed and polished over the past six months or so. I am 71u8aqpia5lhappy with the final product and hope you find encouragement in the poems but also a validation that the spiritual life is not all sunshine and rainbows. We all struggle. We all have periods of questions and/or doubt. But it is the yearning that keeps us coming back for more and allows us to experience joy.

You can purchase either on Amazon or on my own bookstore (it is cheaper and has free shipping on my store) and is available on the Kindle and in paperback.

Amazon: Kindle Paperback

Inkspiration Books (my bookstore): Paperback

Thank you for your support!

If you enjoyed this post, I would greatly appreciate it if you like, share, or comment on it. Follow my blog to receive notifications when new posts are published. You can find my other Christian poems or inspirational poems at

photo credit: Point Cabrillo Lighthouse via photopin (license)

Becoming Happier By Changing Our Perspective

8923976629_9f487a40efMost of the time, it isn’t our circumstances that define us, but our perspective on those circumstances. Every day we each go through numerous experiences that are opportunities to embrace the positive or dwell on the negative. The way we react to these experiences determines how happy or sad we will be through life. Now there are mental conditions and extreme circumstances that are beyond our control, but that still doesn’t mean we’re helpless. We often attribute our unhappiness to a lack of something. If only I had this or that…if only I wasn’t this way…if only…then I would be happy. But life doesn’t work that way. New circumstances will never change our feelings until we first change our perspective. Become aware of how you perceive your daily experience. Most of us go through the day without ever noticing how we are reacting, but those reactions are directly shaping the way you view the world and how you feel. Your mind can be your best asset or your worst enemy. How will you use it today?

Perspective – A Poem

If time finds you
Wandering through the depressions
Of dark valleys
Where the sun casts shadows
Across your vision
And smothers you like a plastic bag,
Gasping for air and relief,
Take a moment to gaze around you.

Let your vision shift
From the small, deserted island
Your mind is stranded on
In a vast, open sea,
shift your focus outside the prison
You’ve locked yourself in,
And soak up the rest of the world.

Take a look.
It’s moving just fine without you in it,
Has been since the dawn of time,
and the beautiful laws of nature
Will continue to operate just fine
Long after you’re gone.

Is it the world that’s lost and confused
Or is it me?
Are my eyes shattered like cracked
Marbles of glass,
Envisioning and judging a world that doesn’t exist
Except through my perspective?

The problems and sorrows of this life
Escalate and reach their climax
When I place myself at the center
Of the universe.
Maybe it’s time to get
These broken eyes fixed.

– Poem Written by Justin Farley

If you enjoyed this post, I would greatly appreciate it if you like, share, or comment on it. Follow my blog to receive notifications when new posts are published. You can find my other Christian poems, Lent poems, or inspirational poems at


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Introspection – A Poem


Stop chasing trouble.
It doesn’t follow you without an invitation
to walk through your door.
So why do you seem so surprised
when it uses your heart to mop the floor?

Can you simply not see the signals?
Can you really not recognize the signs?
Or are you just unable to face yourself in the mirror
without another reflection by your side?

It is just as we are, without a filter
to catch our deepest longings and failures,
that we fear most of all.
So we rush to fill our lives with negative people
rather than sit alone in our heart’s empty hall.

The mind is not partial –
it digests whatever you put in.
But outputs by the same standards,
so be mindful of what you’re putting in.

Society’s grown so deaf to silence
that solitude is no longer welcoming.
We’d rather spend time with anyone
than have to spend time with “me”.

If you don’t know the person inside your breast,
you’d better start investigating.
Because you can discover all the world’s wealth,
but if you haven’t found yourself, you haven’t found a thing.

Stop chasing trouble.
You won’t find your answer in her or him.
Your answer does not lie out there,
but waits for you within.

Photo Credit: Mostafa Abdel Samie via Compfight cc

Accepting the Invitation of Sobriety

8426831125_ca89d9643aOften times, the chains that are holding us back from moving forward are not fears or worries about the future, but fears of letting go of the past. We may not like the person we are and where we’ve been, but we’re comfortable with that person – we recognize their face in the mirror. Sobriety actually means that you will have to die to yourself and leave that person behind – that’s what frightens us. But I think a lot of the difficulty in getting sober is our outlook on the situation. More times than not, we are only focused on what we’re losing by entering into sobriety, instead of embracing what we’re gaining.


This is a huge one for most people. If I ever have the urge to drink, it is almost always because I miss the comfort. I think as alcoholics and addicts, we are naturally more emotional and soft-hearted than the rest of society. We feel things on a deeper level, and pain doesn’t just affect us for a moment, but for days, months, or even years down the line. For whatever reason, we don’t know how to handle those feelings like the rest of society and at some point we need relief. And as David Allan Coe so poetically put it, “How do you spell relief, I get D-R-U-N-K.” Leaving behind the comfort of alcohol or drugs is a hard pill to shallow when you first get sober. But the blessing is that by remaining sober, you will learn how to deal with those feelings in a positive way, instead of destroying yourself – things like fellowship, prayer, and acceptance. And coming from someone who hates to suffer as much as anyone else, I am grateful for all the suffering I’ve gone through since I’ve been sober. Granted, I didn’t like it, but suffering produces character. One of the blessings of staying sober is being able to respect yourself in your suffering. I couldn’t look at myself in the mirror with respect after I chugged a bottle of whiskey. The pain may have been gone, but it came at the price of my respect. Some days suck – that’s the reality of life. But at least I can be alone with myself at the end of the day, knowing I did the best I could and not hate the person inside.


We all have drinking buddies and getting sober makes for awkward conversation. In my opinion it is almost always, best to cut off all ties with these “friends”. I know that sounds harsh and hard to accept, but hanging around the same people will get you drunk quicker than about anything else. People think they can handle it, and they can’t imagine leaving behind the people they’ve known for years or even decades. The same people will come back crying a few months later, wondering how they ever started up again (I know I did). Old friends were at the top of the list of reasons I relapsed in the beginning. If you’re trying to become a more positive person, you don’t hang around with a bunch of negative people. If you want to be successful, you hang out with successful people. If you want to be sober, you don’t hang out with drinkers and users. Period. What you will most likely find is that once you get sober these “friends” will most likely want nothing to do with you or only want to hang out in bars or your usual spots because they’re cool with you changing, but they sure as hell aren’t going to. The other common theme I’ve noticed with old friends that actually don’t have a drinking problem and are supportive is that they just don’t understand. It’s not their fault, but they can be deadly. I’ve had friends that I haven’t seen for awhile that know I’m an alcoholic say things like, “You want to meet up and get a drink’s been a few’re cured now right?” The common misconception is that they believe this is just a temporary thing that will go away, and some will even try to convince you of this. I don’t know about you, but I have enough excuses to drink inside my own head without someone else trying to convince me of other ones. If you hold on to your old friends, you will never see the beauty of the real friends you meet in recovery, who actually do care about you and want you to stay sober. I’m not trying to say you can’t have any contact with anyone who drinks. Just understand that “normal” people are not like you. They will never understand you, and even when they mean well, they can be potentially dangerous if you’re not in the right frame of mind.


Wisdom is the fruit of growth. The more we grow, the more wisdom we gain. You learn more wisdom in sobriety than you could have possibly imagined. The people you meet and the lessons they share are priceless. Often times, I see people 10+ years older than me struggling with issues that I dealt with in my early twenties. This has nothing to do with my intelligence; it has everything to do with going through suffering and hardships. By continuing in our cycle of using, we delay confronting issues that we will be forced to at some point. Isn’t it much more practical to work through them, learning from them, instead of pretending they don’t exist?

Money & Mistakes

I feel so blessed to have quit drinking before I was even legally able to be in a bar. I would have racked up more debt and more mistakes with women than I would have known what to do with. The few times I was illegally drinking in bars, I woke up the next morning thinking that someone must have robbed me. And he did, his name was Jim Beam. Until you actually quit, you don’t realize just how much money goes towards your addiction. Sobriety is like getting a huge raise just by signing up. I think we can all agree we make a lot of mistakes when we’re drunk or high. What seemed like a good idea at the time, haunts you the next morning, leaving you wondering why trouble seems to follow you wherever you go. Being sober doesn’t mean that you’ll never make mistakes, but it was drastically reduce them.

A Spiritual Connection 

Ever since I was a little boy, I always felt a strong connection to God. I desired to please him and loved being close to him. But at some point, I decided that I couldn’t do “life” anymore and would use drinking as my way to deal with all my troubles. For many years, I still felt him, but I pushed him away. You cannot be an addict, engaging in the things the lifestyle entails, and have a close relationship with God. It is impossible. It is not that God is giving up on us, but that we are giving up on him. When you are surrounded with darkness, it makes it very difficult to see, let alone live with, the light. That doesn’t mean that you are completely cut off. I still believed in God during my active drinking, but it was not an intimate relationship. Just as you can’t have an intimate relationship with a spouse when either partner is actively engaging in adultery, you can’t have an intimate relationship with God while actively addicted. As soon as you run to him, those doors are reopened again, and he can begin to heal the wounds inside you. I am so grateful and feel so blessed that I have the relationship back that I ran away from all those years ago. I have only sobriety to thank for it. Sobriety gives us a spiritual connection and gives us the tools to receive the drug that we have been seeking all our lives – God’s love.

A New Hope

I can’t imagine there’s an alcoholic or addict that really loves being a slave to a substance. We may like the feelings it gives us, but we don’t like the cost. I think the overwhelming majority of people who are addicts would actually like to be sober, but they feel like it’s too late for them. They feel as if numbing themselves is the only way to deal with life and that their hearts are so filled with darkness, there’s no chance at delighting in the light. But sobriety gives us a chance to wipe the slate clean and start over. We don’t have to be the person that we hate and disrespect. As long as you’re still breathing, there’s always the ability to change. No one said it was going to be easy or without pain, but there is a way out. Sobriety gives us the ability to redefine ourselves and what we want out of life. If we live, clutching onto the life that we know is not working and not bringing us happiness, we’ll never see the light at the end of the tunnel that has more in store for us than we could have ever dreamed. Are you looking back at your addiction with envy and regret or looking forward at a new hope and a new life? Sobriety’s invitation is waiting. But you must accept its gifts.

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Dealing With Winter – Learning From Nature

2182376536_87a875701eThe temperatures are already putting me in a bad mood, and even though we’ve only had one snowfall, I’d say I’ve had about enough for the year. It is way too early to be already having blistering temperatures in the middle of November in Indiana. I do have a tendency to suffer from SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) in the winter – my depression/anxiety is always worse. The lack of light and inability to go outside much (unless you want to freeze) leaves me feeling restless and irritable. But this year I’m going to try my best to change my perspective and flow with nature, instead of against it.

As much as I dislike this time of year, it does remind us that even nature needs time to relax and rest. The forests are still and quiet, blanketed with beautiful snow, with all vegetation asleep until the coming spring. It is a great time for reflection – to be in solitude and think about our lives, our goals, and our destination. As human beings, we all tend to complain about how we never have the time to do anything and constantly feel like we never have time to take a break. But the time of year when nature tells us we can, we tend to ignore it and keep moving, wishing it were spring. You have permission to be still and quiet. If nature needs it, we do too. In our world, stillness is one of the hardest disciplines to practice. Is it any wonder people feel more stressed than ever before?

This year let’s not focus on how cold it is, how miserable the weather is, or count down the number of days until spring. Let’s be still and watch the example of nature – we might even learn a thing or two.


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Living Happy Now

3383537943_64d0a11b15It’s no secret that more people are unhappy than ever before.  Unhappy with their lives, unhappy with their careers, unhappy with their spouse, and most of all unhappy with themselves.  Happiness has become some intangible emotion that we are always reaching for, yet never able to firmly grasp.  As soon as you think you have it, it seems to slip from your hands.  As Americans, we live in the richest and most privileged country on earth, yet we have some of the least happy people.  Why?

The False Persona 

Too many of us judge our interior lives through the lens of other people’s outward appearances.  She’s got so much nicer things than me.  God, it must be nice to have a husband that makes that kind of money.  Why did I get stuck with him?  He’s so much more successful than I am.  If I had that position or worked for that company, I could be happy too.  If only I was thin…If only I was younger…more attractive.  We put the blame of happiness on something we’re missing that’s “out there”.  Those people have what we think will make us happy, so they must be right?  But the reality is that they are just as empty inside as you are.  They may be able to hide it better beneath their fortune and fame, but it’s still there.

The Great Lie

The great lie is that we’re unhappy now because we’re missing something.  We believe that once we get what we’re missing, things will all make sense, and we’ll live happily ever after, but we won’t.  In fact, we may be unhappier than ever because we’ve run out of hope. I always find it mind-blowing to see videos or images of people living in third world countries where they seem so happy.  They have nothing, yet they wear more smiles than the rest of us.  I believe the reason for this is gratitude.  Few Americans are ever satisfied with what they have.  The constant stream of images on the internet and t.v. remind us that there’s something bigger and better than what we’ve got, hints the reason we’re never satisfied.  People in third-world countries have nothing, so anything they get they feel blessed to have.  Embrace life with gratitude instead of demands, and you’ll probably find yourself much more content.

Live Your Story

Above all, too many of us try to live other people’s lives.  Each and every one of us has our own story to tell, yet we insist that our story is no good, and we need someone else’s.  No one’s story is perfect.  Everyone has problems, and we tend to forget that.  You are the main character of your own story.  No one in the world can play that role better than you.  Happiness begins by accepting your story and thriving in it rather than continually looking for a new role to play.

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Mindset = Happiness + Success


The power of the mind is a powerful thing.  It can work with us, or it can work against us. The Buddha once said, “The mind is everything. What you think you become.”  Our mindset and belief system is fundamentally just as important, if not more important, than our actions.  What negative thoughts or beliefs are holding you back, keeping you from reaching your dreams? I could never do that…I’ll never feel better…If only things didn’t turn out like this.  You can take all the right actions, but if you don’t believe in yourself, if your mind is filled with negative thoughts, your fate has already been determined.  Right action without right mind is never going to convince you that you deserve to be happy or that you are destined for greatness. While there is no doubt that sometimes you must “fake it, til you make it”, the concept still relies on the fact that you are pretending to feel or believe a positive way even if you don’t.  Success and recovery both start with the vision or belief in the possibility that things can and will get better.

Breaking Down Barriers

History is filled with stories of ordinary people doing extraordinary things.  Most were not caused by luck or circumstance, but because someone dared to challenge established beliefs.  One of the most famous stories about changing accepted beliefs is the story of the four-minute mile.  Until the 1950s, It was an accepted fact that it was impossible for a human to run a mile in under four minutes.  That all changed when Roger Banister shattered the record on May 6, 1954.  That record did not stand for ten years. In fact, it did not even remain for one year. It was broken just two months after Banister ran the first sub-four minute mile.  Many have ran it in under four minutes since.  So why after decades of failure were multiple men able to redefine what was possible?  Were humans suddenly given a special power that they didn’t have before?  Well, in a way, yes.  Before Banister first broke the record, running a mile under four minutes was not only a challenge, but considered impossible.  Once that “fact” was proved false, it gave others the ability to change their own perceived reality.  It gave people the permission to stretch themselves further than they had originally thought possible.  What “realities” in your life are holding you back?  What limitations have you placed on your ability to succeed?

Dream A Little Dream

From a young age, children are encouraged to dream and let their imaginations run wild.  There seems to be no limit to the things that they believe they can do.  The world is a place filled with limitless possibilities.  Yet, as we get older, we are told to pick a career and start getting serious.  Not just any career, but one that is stable, reliable, and pays well.  The world of possibility vanishes from our hearts.  Magic ceases to exist and our dreams loose their luster.  So we pick a safe career, safe friends, safe living, and a safe life.  But still something feels missing…We’re unhappy and unfulfilled..Something has been lost, and we cannot seem to find out what it is.  It is imagination.  Just as the runners’ beliefs about the four-minute mile were holding them back, so too are our beliefs of our own lives.  If we believe we are only capable of an entry-level job, we are.  If we dream we can become a CEO, we will.  Our limitations are rarely dependent on our circumstances or past experiences.  While talent and intelligence are helpful assets, they do not guarantee a person’s success.  In fact, sometimes they hinder it.  People that are naturally born with the means to be successful many times are not appreciative of the gifts that they have.  Those that are not, however, must earn them and place a high value on them because of the sacrifices they have had to make in order to attain them.  It is the way people think about themselves that shapes their destiny.

Awareness Of Our Beliefs

The easy part is understanding how our beliefs and thoughts affect our lives.  The hard part is taking our negative thoughts and changing them.  Generally, we see the damage of our thoughts before we see the thought itself.  In order to change our thoughts, we must first be aware of them.  Things like self-esteem, self-worth, and views on our own capability are usually developed over the course of our lives.  You don’t go to an interview telling yourself that you are not capable of doing the job right there in the moment.  It is a process that has been built over many experiences, slowly changing the the way you view yourself.   If we are not consciously aware of our thoughts, we can easy go into that interview, wondering why we lack confidence. Well, when all the thoughts in your head are telling you that you’re just “ordinary” or that you are not worth much, how else are you suppose to feel?  It is not a process that takes place overnight.  The brain naturally begins to belief what we tell it to believe.  Once you find out the thoughts that are limiting you, redefine them in a way that liberates you.  Change “I can’t” to “I can”, “I won’t” to “I will”.  Even if you don’t 100% believe what you’re telling your mind, you will begin to see transformations in your life and your old thinking patterns shift.

In his book, Man’s Search For Meaning, Viktor Frankel points out, “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”  It is our own beliefs and opinions of the experiences in our lives that mold our character and determine how high to set the bar in life .  Frankel was famous for enduring the torture of multiple concentration camps in Nazi Germany, remaining optimistic in one of the darkest times in human history.  As he exemplified, the world can take almost everything from you, but it can never take your peace of mind- you have to willingly give that.  No one is saying it is easy, but far too often we (myself included) take the easy road of blaming others or  circumstances for our unhappiness and failure.  But until we break the chains of doubt and have the courage to unlock ourselves from our own prison, happiness and dreams will continue to lie outside our grasp, anxiously awaiting our release.