When you make a mistake, do you condemn yourself? I used to do it all the time. I'd forget something I'd promised to do for a friend and tell my friend (and myself), "Boy, was that stupid!" Or maybe I'd make the wrong turn on the way to the store, and once again I'd mutter the same thing.
What I was forgetting when I said those things about myself was that they weren't true. Not that I'm some kind of genius-but "stupid" is not the way God made me or you or anyone else. Each of us is, in reality, His perfect image. God is Mind, perfect Mind. He includes all intelligence and is totally wise and good. Since the Bible says that "in him [in God] we live, and move, and have our being" (Acts 17:28), it follows that we are intelligent and good also.
This intelligence doesn't depend on a brain or on heredity. It is spiritual intelligence because God is Spirit. Our abilities aren't limited by genes, tied to the amount of rest we've had, or dependent on any other material condition. When you pray-reason in this way-it makes a difference. Prayer breaks you out of the limitations of brainpower and difficult circumstances and brings the spiritual resources that belong to each of us. But if you call yourself stupid, you're actually working against yourself. Instead of identifying yourself with good, you're saying, "I'm just a bunch of flesh and bones without a whole lot of goodness, and even God can't help me."
Mary Baker Eddy founded this newspaper. She also wrote Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, which explains Christian Science. And in this book there's discussion of how cutting yourself down affects you. For example, page 219 says, "We shall not call the body weak, if we would have it strong; for the belief in feebleness must obtain in the human mind before it can be made manifest on the body, and the destruction of the belief will be the removal of its effects."
By the same token, affirming something positive about yourself, something true and accurate about how God created you, can eliminate bad effects. Here's an example. Not long ago I had to take some legal documents to the post office for a friend. I mailed them and got a special receipt she needed. Then I stopped at the library for a couple of hours. When I got home and looked for the receipt, I could not find it.
To say I was frantic would be an understatement. I was sure my friend would be mad because she had trusted me with something important. And I felt like a total idiot for having lost the receipt. The only thing I could think to do was to go back to the library to see if it was there. As I drove there, I silently yelled at myself for at least half a mile, calling myself some pretty harsh things-"stupid" was probably the nicest.
Then finally I thought of God and of the fact that I am His image. I realized that I would never make any progress in solving this problem if I kept affirming I was separated from Him. So instead, I declared that I was not stupid, because God didn't make me stupid. I affirmed that I knew He would guide me and that there could not fail to be a solution. I had the power from God to act intelligently. I also prayed to know that I had never been stupid or careless, because God had never let me out from under His direction.
Almost like a whisper coming into my thought, I remembered I had bought a card at the post office, and I recalled what I had done with it. At that moment all fear that the receipt was lost went away. When I got to the library, I once again looked through the things on the back seat. The card and the receipt were both there, under a blanket!
Now, nothing magical happened here. That is, objects didn't suddenly materialize on the back seat. The point is that I couldn't find the receipt until my thinking about myself had cleared up and I once again recognized that God is the source of my intelligence and life. And believe me, that made for a much happier day than I had thought it would be!
If you think you've done something stupid, take a few minutes to remember that you are God's intelligent image, full of goodness and wisdom. It may not be easy at first. But if you stick with this way of thinking about yourself, you'll find that it will make a big difference for you.