If it’s true that we often teach what we most need to learn, the subject of blame would be a big one on my curriculum. And clearly, it’s not just me. The need to find someone to blame, find fault in, criticize, is like a loud bullhorn in our society it seems. When I look inward, I can see that when I blame another or a condition – it’s usually when I am in emotional pain somewhere. Often I haven’t even acknowledged that I’m suffering in some way and the self-righteousness and superiority feelings of blame, cues me that I need to check in with myself and what pain I am avoiding feeling.
Here is what I feel blame is all about: it a way to avoid OURSELVES. It’s a refusal to deal with what’s really at the root of our anger or pain. Rather than dealing with our own pain, suffering, internal struggles – blame is so much easier! We don’t have to take responsibility for our own view on life when we blame. We put our attention on things that are really none of our business.
Also rolled up in blame is our human tendency to listen with the intent to REPLY, rather than listening with the intent to understand. Steven Covey’s well known book: “The 7 habits of highly effective people” in habit #5 says seek first to understand THEN to be understood. We often jump to conclusions without even really listening – waiting for the other person to just draw a breath so we can leap on the conversation with OUR 2¢. Rather than knowing that opposing views don’t have to be taken personally, we armor up with blame and criticism because to stay civil requires vulnerability. Not easy sometimes.
Novelist Tom Robbins once said there are only two mantras in life… “YUM” & YUCK” we are constantly commenting on what we think is a yum and what we think is a yuk. It can be as simple as commentary – “Oh, those shoes she is wearing are awful.” (A.k.a YUCK). We focus on others, conditions and our approving or disapproving when NONE of it has anything to do with us.
Blame works like this – we aim our focus on what we deem wrong or YUCK about a person, a behavior, a choice, and we spend time and energy building a case of why they are at fault. Why does this matter to us? How does this help us grow? How does it increase our own self-awareness? Let me just answer for you – it doesn’t. Blame is a form of stalling, a way to deflect our own feelings about our self and project them onto someone or something else.
Our relationship with our self is played out in every other relationship we have. Our opinion about our self is played out in our opinions of others. We give our power away when we blame. The power to grow, the power to understand someone else, the power to understand ourselves.
The day you stop blaming others is the day you BEGIN to discover who you truly are. And discovering who you really truly are is a HUGE job, crucial to a whole-hearted life. Why not invest that time and energy in YOUR OWN lesson, YOUR OWN journey. THAT would help not only you, but the entire planet. And if your blame is about feeling hurt by another person, instead if we could focus that energy on self-compassion, we can reduce our pain and suffering.
Let’s chat also about a version of blame, known as scapegoating. A few months ago, I was reading about this mentality in a daily inspirational message I get from Father Richard Rohr. He said some powerful things about this version of blame and it really got me thinking about how we humans seem to have a need to find someone to BLAME when we are in pain. I mean – my feeling of suffering can’t be MY fault – right? Then I’d have to take responsibility and end my victim mentality.
Here's a bit of what Richard said that stuck with me…
If your ego is still in charge, you will find a “disposable” person or group on which to project your problems. People who haven’t come to at least a minimal awareness of their own dark side will always find someone else to hate or fear (or blame). Hatred holds a group together much more quickly and easily than love and inclusivity, I am sorry to say. Something has to be sacrificed. Blood has to be shed. Someone has to be blamed, attacked, (“bad”).
Wow. Let’s look at a couple of the points in this statement – if your ego is still in charge and you haven’t come to at least minimal awareness of your own stuff, you will BLAME, you will find a scapegoat to carry your pain so you won’t have to look inward. When we find a vulnerable person, group idea to blame or attack we have found our scapegoat. It's easy to see that prejudice springs from this mentality.
Blame is a refusal and it is also projection. When we don’t transform our pain – we TRANSMIT it, to others. We find a sacrificial goat – someone or something to blame, project our pain onto so we can think we are free of it, but the problem is - this doesn’t free us, it actually keeps us small and imprisoned in our resistance to own our emotional stuff. When we let the pain pass through us, rather than passing it off onto others, it lasts only about 30 seconds – I can show you studies that prove it. Grieving lasts a little bit longer; 90 seconds and may take a few rounds. But when we blame and scapegoat, the pain can last days, weeks, even life times.
One more quote from Richard Rohr on this: Spiritually speaking, no one else is your problem. YOU are first and foremost your own problem. There are no bad goats to get rid of. We are ALL tempted to project our problem, our painful feelings, our suffering onto other people. When we blame someone else, it gives you a false sense of moral superiority and outrage. You don’t have to grow up, let go, forgive, or surrender—you just have to accuse someone else of being worse than you are.
This is probably why blaming can become addictive or a groove in our brain that we go to over and over again – it gives us a rush of superiority. Added bonus! We don’t have to look at our own bullshit when we are busy blaming and complaining. It also becomes an pattern we repeat due to what we focus on. We could choose instead to forgive, create boundaries for ourselves, look within and learn to heal our suffering, but this takes WORK. Blame is much less labor intensive and requires no responsibility on our part.
Lord knows I have been the engineer, conductor and the passengers on the “blame train”. I have worked long and hard to drop my blame of my husband in our relationship challenges. I knew that blaming him was keeping ME stuck. Then I had to work through my blame of MYSELF in our relationship, learning to give myself compassion and find the lessons in what the conditions were and are. I’m not saying either of these two blame routes never ever happen for me any longer, but I know that it has changed our relationship with each other and more importantly my relationship with myself, for the better.
When we are in blame, we can’t hear the messages that are there for us. We are focused on the problem and when we focus there, we can’t hear or see the solution. Blame and commentary on every single thing that comes our way takes us out of being present with ourselves and as a result it blocks intimacy. We become deaf and blind to the information that could actually heal us because we are committed to a focus on blame or wrong-doing by others.
I've also certainly been on the receiving end of blame. Anyone who puts them self "out there" is bound to be an easy target for some blame. It's pretty painful in that moment to be sure, and it can be hard to stand in your center when you're getting blasted. When if feels as if someone's aim is to hurt you, it's hard. What I WANT to do in that moment is remember that hurting people - hurt people.
Unfortunately, what I usually do is a knee-jerk (human) reaction and try to defend myself. As you know, this doesn't work. It's just another version of refusal... just like blame. IF I can take a breath and look for the lesson or what vibe I am putting out that might be attracting the fire from someone, then I can learn rather than feel shamed or victimized. Letting it pass through is tough, but the fastest way forward, is through.
When you hear yourself blaming, and we will, it’s gonna happen… just notice that you are doing it. Don’t turn it into something to criticize yourself for. Just remind yourself that you are attempting to avoid your OWN transformation by your blaming. Within the attempt to off-shift our pain is a beautiful opportunity. A chance to heal something within ourselves if we will just let it come through instead of trying to avoid it with blame. Give yourself some compassion and just acknowledge that this stuff is hard! AND! you can rise above it.
The subtitle of this Chat could be; “playing small”. Life truly does shrink or expand in proportion to our courage, and also in proportion to our confidence. I am waking up to the awareness that my own levels of courage and confidence have taken serious dives in the past couple of years. I can see how my world has shrunk down to this hamster wheel of worry. Mostly worry about being enough in some way. Hell, I was in Africa earlier this year on the trip of a lifetime and my mind was in my wheel of recurring thoughts and worries about my relationships, my career, self-doubt – all these narrow, well-worn cattle paths in my brain that I run on a daily basis.
When we struggle to find our confidence or courage, pretty much anything outside our tiny view of the world looks scary and out of control, like an enemy – but I have seen the enemy, and she is ME. She lives in the most dangerous place possible… in my head!
Witnessing others with low levels of confidence or courage and noticing how it effects their view on life and then conversely witnessing those who just go for it in life, has opened me up to looking at my own levels of confidence. In checking in on my own life and when my confidence has dipped, it seems that the most dramatic times were when I experienced some sort of loss. At various points in my life I have lost:
This most recent loss of confidence and courage seems to have taken a somewhat bigger or different toll than all the others. My world shrank maybe more because many of the support systems I had relied on in the past – were DEAD! Dad, Mom, my brother, my mentor Taz… these people who had always convinced me I was unstoppable - were no longer physically available to converse with. And others in my support system were, understandably, going through their own pain and hamster wheel distractions.
So this time, pulling myself up and relocating my confidence and courage has been different than all the other times because I had to find a new route. New skills, new inner circle of support and spend more time just being in the pain rather than ignoring it. This is not "wrong" or "bad". Staying with the pain actually takes a TON of courage. Being willing to feel it, invite it in - so it can move on once and for all is a very brave act indeed.
Confidence really does determine how big or small our world is. I wonder if this is what often happened when we retire… we spend decades believing our identity is in our job and what we DO rather than who we BE. So when we stop working and DOING – who are we? Confidence wains, fear shows up about things like; our life span, perhaps money, if we are making a contribution to life... our world starts to revolve around what’s for dinner and our bowel movements. Not that there's anything wrong with that.
Confidence and courage are main ingredients to our view of the world, other people, our purpose and what manifests in our lives. If you have ever asked someone a question about their vision or big picture ideas – you will get big insight on their level of confidence and courage. Better yet, ask YOURSELF these types of questions and notice the focus of your answers.
Is the focus of your answers on the wrong doing of others? How you don’t have something? What you CAN’T do? What someone else “Should” do? These types of answers indicate LOW confidence and courage. We look outside ourselves rather than showing up as creators in our lives. When these are the types of answers we give or get to questions about vision for the future or the big picture, we waste time on the hamster wheel of blame, victim mentality or dimming ourselves.
Being courageous takes a focus on how we can make a difference, become our best versions of ourselves. This takes FEARLESSNESS.
This quality is in my genetics – and most likely in yours too. When I think about my ancestors, who found a way to get on a ship and make it across the ocean, fought in wars here, then eventually trek across half the continent in a covered wagon to wind up in Mills and Fremont Counties of Iowa and be excited to start from nothing over 160 years ago – I owe it to that story line to stay confident and courageous. In honoring the clan that got me here genetically, I need to remember who I am and that fearlessness is in my blood.
There is an idea that says we all have what is called a spirit animal. We might have more than one in our lifetime. It’s an animal that represents healing or helps us find our way in difficult times. Sort of a representative of who we are.
The butterfly is certainly one of my guides. Personal transformation, change, spreading your wings, beauty, open and light. And at the same time the badger represents the courage and fearlessness part of my journey. Tenacious, persistent, they protect their own fiercely and will take on any challenge. I need to call on my inner badger! Regain my confidence and courage so I can show up fully and contribute more.
Yes, we can be both open & loving and strong & fearless at the same damn time. When you are willing to BE this paradox, your life expands in size. Knowing who you are, knowing you won’t tolerate certain things, being courageous and at the very same time being loving, generous, and open – this is stepping into a big life. It’s not either/or, black/white, good/bad… it’s being both that makes for a big, big life.
We humans also have some pretty ingrained ideas about dualistic thinking - there has to be a good and a bad, a right and a wrong, us vs. them. I’ve been thinking a lot recently about the emotion of guilt and noticing how it is tied quite often to taking undo responsibility for things that don’t belong to us. When we take on responsibility for things that are out of our control or power – guilt won’t be far behind.
Often we take on responsibility for the reactions of others. How they experience us or we may take on the responsibility of the results that happen from a team or a business of several people – as if we alone are able to create the results that occur when a group works together.
Maybe someone can help me understand the reasoning behind how we operate as a society in situations like a sports team that isn’t winning. Rather than looking at what can be done to change things up with the players who are playing the games, or try a different strategy – the coach gets fired.
Or a business whose sales are down, often in corporate systems, the CEO is fired, as if they are responsible for all the actions taking place in the people within the company. Is it just that we need someone to blame? Someone must pay for things not going the way we want them to??? Responsibility for all the things that go into success or failure are up to just one person? Do we as a society just need to deem someone “guilty” for the performance of an entire group? For our pain? Do we just need someone to be "wrong" so we can feel less guilty?
Guilt has a bunch of stuff wrapped up within it: A feeling of wrongness, potential punishment (real or imagined), self-esteem/worthiness/enoughness, rescuing – see the previous Sandy Chat on the Drama Triangle.
Boil it down… guilt = FEAR. Where there is fear there is guilt. “99% of guilt has nothing whatsoever to do with reality. Guilt is really a self-condemnation & self-invalidation of our worth and value as a human being.” – Dr. David r Hawkins M.D. Ph.D
The story goes – a man walks along the beach and sees a fisherman with pail of crabs. “You’d better put a cover on those or they will get out!” The wise fisherman replies “No, actually there’s no need for that. When one crawls up to the top, the other crabs reach up and pull him back down into the pail.”
This is a lot like how guilt works sometimes. We work to rise higher, become our best selves and then start to feel the “pull” of responsibility or obligation a.k.a. GUILT. We are both the crab about to climb to freedom AND the ones in the bucket pulling ourselves back down in the pile by listening to guilt and responsibility that doesn't belong to us!
My therapist, Joy, has a favorite line she says with frequency to me… “It’s not our job to vibrate for anyone else.” Just as it’s not someone else’s job to make me happy (that’s my job), it’s not our job to take on the responsibility of happiness or the experience of another person. We can only help others through our example of our own happiness – not by climbing back down to a lower frequency.
Guilt is a lower frequency. It's about punishment typically. It leads to self-rejection, self-sabotage, even projection of self-hatred onto "evil" other people. Studies would indicate that guilt is even the basis of many psychosomatic illnesses.
So what benefit do we get out of feeling guilty? It only serves us if we see it for what it is intended to do - provide us with information. Guidance on how we might choose differently next time. It's purpose is NOT to drive decisions. Doing something out of a motivation of guilt is really just letting our inner critic run the show. That is that voice that nags at you internally. It is NOT connected to your joy, happiness, or fulfillment – it’s function is emotional risk management. It’s goal is to protect, keep you small and safe. Sometimes we actually need this information, but when it becomes the leader in most of our mental patterns, we will suffer, big time.
Sounds True is currently offering a series of talks on self-acceptance. I’ve heard some excellent tips on how to show up out of a motivation of love rather than guilt/fear. To take these steps, we have to be willing to take charge of our minds – not just hand them over to the media hype, negative conversations we find ourselves in, our need to be liked or seen as positive and agreeable.
When guilt/fear is our motivation, we abandon ourselves. Letting guilt be our decision maker, we have turned our backs on our own wisdom and our heart because we turn our measurement of our worth over to someone else. Some great questions I’ve picked up in the Self-Acceptance Summit for when guilt is trying to run our decision making:
From Tara Sophia Mohr-
When we operate out of guilt, we are often hoping we will somehow be seen as enough by others. Worthy. Someone will validate that we are “okay”. This is a super destructive way to live. When we don’t believe we are already worthy and enough, just as we are, we will reach for “other-esteem” to fill our void of self-esteem. This fix is temporary – have you noticed??? It feels good for a minute, but it actually makes the inner void worse & keeps us reaching for what we already are. We just don’t know it yet.
Self-esteem requires a clear understanding of our limits of responsibility. Where we don’t have control or power – we don’t have responsibility. Where we don’t have responsibility, we can regret, but no guilt. Our fear of disapproval from others is venturing into an area where we don’t have any power/control. Others will experience us, based on how they feel about THEMSELVES. Always.
When we accept and have compassion for ourselves, our guilt lessens. When guilt pops up – trying to shame ourselves for feeling it…ummm… that doesn’t work. You’ve got to have compassion for your guilt. Accepting that guilt is there and soothing it is the only way to quiet it. You have to meet it head on, with love. Guilt is trying to protect you, it just doesn’t understand that you’re not going to let it be in charge of your decisions. Here is what you might say to it when it shows up…
“Hey guilt. I see you, I know why you’re here. We are going to be okay – no matter what. No matter what the consequences are of the decision – we are going to be okay. I’m going to make the decision, so you can relax. Thanks for caring about us.”
It’s kind of like how you might tell your mom, in your most loving way, to butt the hell out.
Guilt has a purpose and it can help us become our best selves when we use it to learn how to make better choices going forward. Guilt can be a "department head" but it makes a terrible CEO. Check in with the information it gives us, but love needs to be the decision maker and leader of our lives. Love and knowing we are worthy simply because we are a child of the Divine, THAT is what has to be in charge of our decisions and our feelings about ourselves.
Perhaps guilt is irrational 99% of the time because it’s driven out of a need to gain approval and esteem from other people. We don’t have control over that. Since we don’t have control/power over how others choose to approve or experience us – it means we don’t’ have responsibility for it. There’s no benefit in feeling guilty for things that are out of our control – other than to remain in a victim mentality. It’s just self-punishment.
When you feel guilty, ask yourself “what is the information in that?” See if you can find what the lesson is and then drop the guilt – it has served its purpose.
Try this one on for size this week... rather than buying into guilt and undo responsibility as a motivator, couldn't we accomplish the same or more with a motivation of love? If the quote below holds true (and I feel it does), if we operated out of love rather than fear, at least 51% of the time - wouldn't we show up in a more loving way not only with ourselves, but also with others? Let's give it a try! Let me know what you learn. Choose love over guilt and see what happens, just for fun.
Opportunity. It exists in everything. It’s more obvious in those conditions and situations that feel “good”, and yet it is also in those that feel more like the dark night of the soul.
I have an amazing opportunity in front of me at the moment. I have a chance to dive into my own awareness and acceptance of some well-worn emotional patterns that no longer serve me and practice some new routes – all with a beautiful safety net of being loved while I do it.
Making the most of this opportunity is my aim. The opportunity doesn’t come as a result of a sudden tragedy, a loss, or an angry hate-filled flurry. So I don't expect that most will understand it, and that's okay! I intend to make the most of it by diving in and noticing who I am now at this point in my life and how I can shine my light more fully more of the time. So let’s get started.
Pretty much all families have dysfunction on some level. It’s a rare one of us who was raised by parents who made it clear to us that we were enough simply because we exist. Most of the time we learn that we are enough when we behave in a certain way, get certain grades, do what we’re told, and make life more comfortable for our parents. It’s not that they did it to intentionally to mess us up – it’s what they were taught too. You’re enough, when you perform in a particular way. WE then take this same approach with ourselves as adults... when we weigh a certain #, when we reach a certain income, when we accomplish that thing we've been talking about doing - THEN we will be enough. Seems funny how that day never seems to really arrive doesn't it.
The undoing of whatever our particular dysfunction is, isn’t something that just happens on its own. A change in environment, location, career, health won’t change an ingrained emotional pattern long term. Externals may inspire a change but for it to be sustainable takes more than externals and conditions for it to stick. It takes some willingness, and some conscious choices. More on that in a bit.
Think of your brain and your emotional patterns like an LP record album – remember those? They had grooves that the needle would sit into and play the song embedded within. This is kind of how your emotional patterns work too. And those grooves can become soooooo deep and worn in that getting out of them can take a major jolt to jump the needle up out of the groove to play a new song that is more in line with who you have become. I mean who wants to listen to Twinkle Twinkle Little Star when you are now, at this point in your life, more into Led Zeppelin for instance?
Emotional patterns don’t magically improve or change just because someone left, arrived, or stayed – they change when we walk straight into them and ask what it is we need to learn in order to heal ourselves. This is something very few people choose to do. Which explains why it sometimes seems that people don't really change much. We are capable... but not willing. Our insecurities aren't there to taunt us - but to help us HEAL.
If you’re unsure what your emotional pattern is that no longer serves you and is inviting you inward to heal yourself – look no further than the person or people who drive you a little crazy. The person who you resent, dislike, or are annoyed by is as Fr. Richard Rohr says “carries our dark side”. We most dislike in others what we most dislike are don't accept in ourselves. This dark side or our shadow self contains some major information that can transform our lives - if we are willing to look at it.
So if that is the case, here is what I need to dive into and look at in myself:
To grow myself I need look no further than the things I blame and criticize others for. I am aggravated when people are super hard on themselves and dim their light. I am baffled and a frustrated by people who are amazing, incredible and continue to kick their own back-sides with nasty words and behaviors that dim them. So it looks like I need to increase my OWN levels of self-esteem and self-compassion – THIS is why witnessing it in others annoys me.
I also get really frustrated when I hear a lot of blaming, name calling, bullying, defensiveness or not learning from choices made, side stepping honest conversations – this all sounds like things a two year old would be doing, and it really gets my red-haired, Irish, anger up - so looks like I need to take a look at my own emotional maturity.
This aggravation, dislike, being annoyed by stuff is showing me “the log in my own eye”. (Matthew 7:5 - I looked it up!)
Since #1: low self-esteem is the biggest obstacle to #2: emotional maturity, let’s take a look at what Self-Esteem is and what it isn’t:
We ALL need some increased self-esteem. It’s part of the human conditioning we get here on the planet - to develop this belief that we aren’t enough, not worthy in some ways. It takes three steps to move in the direction of knowing we are indeed enough:
When we accept that we have been making choices to dim ourselves or develop emotional patterns that are hurtful for us, then we have the ability to practice a new or different way. Acceptance and self-compassion are closely linked and many of us have very little compassion for ourselves. We notice that we are doing something that is harmful to ourselves and we then kick our own butts for doing it, vow to change and then go right back to doing the painful thing again. Without acceptance and compassion for why we are doing what we are doing to cause our own pain – we will simply return to the same pattern over and over again. Think about the last time you felt like you needed to lose a few lbs. You become aware that you want to weigh less - so you vow to take action like diet or exercise. You don't give yourself any acceptance or compassion for why you may have added a few, so the effort isn't inspired (pulled) from LOVE, it's motivated (pushed) by FEAR. This is why it doesn't result in lasting change.
Acceptance is the invitation to ask ourselves "WHY?" Why am I doing this? What am I getting out of it that I could find a healthier way to accomplish?
This quote above is so true! When we don't accept our demons - we try to avoid them and that leads to having them bite us in the butt! Those demons or hurtful emotional patterns aren't "bad". They are there in an attempt to protect you. They just don't realize that you don't need protecting. Acceptance and compassion for our messed up emotional patterns is the step most of us miss in our efforts to revise our ways that are causing us pain and it is the step that will change everything.
So if you have a pattern that you notice you are annoyed with in another person or people, become an observer this week. How is that same behavior showing up in YOU? It might look a little different in how it manifests in you, but notice it – what is it when you boil it down?
Then love yourself, show yourself compassion for the behavior you are so annoyed by in others. Consider why you might be doing it, what are you getting out of it?
Then see if you can practice one small step in the direction you’d RATHER go in your emotional pattern. If you have some challenges in self-esteem like I do, take a look at the list of what healthy self-esteem looks like and see if you can practice just one of those for a few days.
Fr. Richard Rohr’s daily e-mail message all last week was about going THROUGH instead of AROUND the darkness. That’s what it takes to really shift emotional patterns. They don’t fix themselves just because conditions changed – no matter where you go, there you are. The courage to look at, accept with loving-kindness our own role in our suffering and then practice a new way, THAT is the way THROUGH.
Stuff I've been reading this week that inspired some of what I Chatted about here:
Pia Mellody on Codependence and Love Addiction - YouTube videos and books
Father Richard Rohr: Daily Meditation e-mail and also Hope Against Darkness
Tracy McMillan Instagram posts
My own journal notes from sessions with my therapist Joy!
Have you ever found yourself complaining about how someone else treats you? Ever felt dissed when someone doesn’t return your text, didn't take your phone call, or they changed plans on you, etc...? Do you then hear yourself accusing them, blaming, complaining? We ALL do this sometimes, but when it becomes chronic or a regular pattern – it’s time to take a deeper look.
I found myself caught in a loop recently of accusing someone of treating me poorly. I decided it was time to stop and take a moment to see what MY role was in the situation and when I did this, I heard the words “none of this is about them.” What it is really about is getting clear on how I am feeling. As Gay Hendricks says about feeling we are on the receiving end of poor treatment: “The reason this happens is because we tend to demand from others what we are most unwilling to give to ourselves.”
When we seek to GET love, connection, understanding, acceptance from others without GIVING it to ourselves first – we are going to feel like we are on the short end of the stick. That’s because we will never fill that void inside ourselves with something or someone outside of us. Even if we feel we get what we need for a moment, it’s not going to be sustainable if we are seeking fulfillment from externals and other people.
I took some time and thought about the behaviors I felt I was on the receiving end of…
O.K… so what do I do now that I’m aware? Love and accept myself. Contrary to what some believe, loving yourself is far from being conceited. That’s a whole different animal. It’s about not looking outside yourself to feel worthy. No one on the planet is qualified to determine your worth. That is installed at the factory – standard equipment on every human being. All of us. When we use externals, how other people treat us, to gauge our own feeling of worth, lovability, value or if we are acceptable – we suffer. A lot.
Every person in your life is there with a gift for you. That gift may appear to be the very last thing you’d ever classify as a “gift”, but it is. We are drawn together with those who can offer us a reflection, an opportunity to see our OWN level of Divine alignment, our own level of self love and acceptance.
So, in my lifetime, I’ve spent a gigantic load of energy talking about, complaining about, blaming about how someone else treats me. Different places, different faces, but the constant… is ME. I'm not saying that as judgement against myself - but instead the awareness that if I am the constant, that means I have the total empowerment to change the conditions no matter what anyone else chooses to do or not do. Perhaps a better approach would be to look for the gift in it. How can I learn to love and accept MYSELF even more, rather than focus on what I think needs a “fix” in the other person? That’s a more empowered question for sure.
You don’t get to decide what is “right” or “wrong” behavior, interpretations, or beliefs for anyone else. YOU JUST GET TO CHOOSE FOR YOURSELF.
There will always be diversity, differences of intention. Fighting against it doesn’t help anyone. Focus on what you WANT, what you are FOR – now that makes a difference. While you may not agree with what someone else chooses for themselves, the only person you get to choose for is you. Don't focus on what you are AGAINST, focus on what you are FOR.
So when someone behaves in a way that tends to cause you to feel less than in some way, rather than resisting it – consider this suggestion from Esther Hicks: (Recommendation: don’t say this out loud to the other person! Just think it to yourself!)
“BRING IT ON! Because my happiness & how I feel about myself doesn’t depend on how you behave. My happiness depends upon my ability to focus & the worse you behave – the better my focus gets!”
When I traveled to Africa earlier this year, I climbed these two HUGE ladders known as “The Chains” in the Drakensberg Mountains. The picture above is of ONE of the TWO ladders up the side of the mountain. 77 rungs, no safety harness, just you, deciding if you wanted to do it or not. The other day, Don said to me “You are at like rung 75 and you're reaching back to help someone on rung 25.” The more I thought about this comment – it’s a great analogy.
When you love someone, you want the best for them – what YOU think is best for them. We may try to pull them along, “fix” their mindset or view on life. But when we climb back down to where they’ve decided to camp out on a lower rung – we really can’t help them. Now you're both down in the lower level - stuck. Where they decide to hang out on the ladder - it’s what THEY have chosen, where THEY feel they need to or want to be, for now at least.
The only way we can be of any help is to keep climbing up to the top and if they want help we can throw them a rope, or shout out some encouragement. We can only help them through the power of our own example of what is possible – NOT by climbing back down to where they are. When you climb back down you don’t help them and you hurt yourself by making yourself weaker, and less able to help if they even decide they WANT your help. You can only call people forward or higher from a place of strength – not from dimming yourself to make it okay for them to play small.
I preach this stuff week in and week out in meetings with my team at work. As they say – we teach what it is we most need to learn ourselves.
So let others behave as they choose and don’t expect anyone to put your needs first – that’s YOUR job. Get in alignment with the love of you, with the Divine in you and just notice the impact it has on the behavior of those in your life. It’s not about them. It never is. It’s a gift of insight into YOURSELF.
BRING IT ON!
Sandy Edie Hansen
I use this space to "Chat" about things I am working through and learning in my life currently. Join me!