Category: Acceptance

why do we judge

Why do we judge?

Years ago, while studying the Course in Miracles, I read that we shall not judge one another, because everyone is always doing their best in any given moment.

That stayed with me…….but I didn’t really believe it.

Looking around, it appeared that people should know better than to do hurtful things to one another, ignore each other, or make stupid choices.

Don’t we all feel that someone has wronged us?

⦁    That our parents did stupid things, hurtful things that we would never do?

⦁    We judge others’ lifestyles, because they look weird to us.

⦁    We see the husband cheating on the wife who believes she is doing her best to make the marriage work.

⦁    The man who chooses not to forgive the father who used to berate and beat him, but now desperately wants a relationship.

⦁    The friend who declares eternal love, but keeps “forgetting” dates to get together, doesn’t call, goes out with other friends and doesn’t invite you.

⦁    Or, the person in the super-market who won’t smile back, just stares or looks away.

⦁    The people that are so irresponsible, it’s hard to understand how they make it through life.

⦁    The person who lies about everything.

Observing all this, it seemed clear to me that it was simply not true that everyone is doing their best.

Some things are just obviously right or wrong and we should know this.

To be truthful, I just didn’t get it…. for years. I continually judged, because it seemed so straightforward to me that some people’s choices were just plain selfish, stupid and mean.

It took some painful events to wake me up (isn’t it always that way!), to humble me and my opinions.

To see it differently.

It took going deeper. It took realizing that we are sacred beings, each of us with a purpose that only God knows.

But it helps to understand. Our mind likes organization and order. So I began taking a closer look at what might prompt some of the behavior that looks so hurtful.

⦁    What causes a person to act selfish?

We are complex beings, but we have learned that there are certain things children need to become healthy, well functioning  adults. If they are deprived of those basic needs, parts of their psyche become misaligned or crippled.

Babies need touch. That’s a fact. Some years ago the tragedy was all over the media about some orphanages in Eastern Europe where babies and toddlers were left alone in their crib without human touch. They simply died.
Our body and psyche need to be connected, acknowledged and appreciated. We need to be bound to others, be nurtured, understood and cared for. Human beings are social animals.

When our parents are incapable of nurturing our body, mind and spirit, parts of us wither. Typically then it becomes difficult to develop compassion, integrity, understanding, generosity, kindness and connection as we grow into adulthood.

We first have to receive, before we can give to others.

If we do not receive compassion, we can’t give it. If we do not  experience kindness and connection, we can’t give it.

Worse .…..depending on the degree of isolation, we might become narcissistic. That is the epitome of self-centeredness, wherein someone is so lacking that they are incapable of forming a bond or giving selflessly.

So, selfishness, I found, exists on a continuum.

Our ability to give depends largely on what we received in childhood.

⦁    Why are some people always critical?

One of my clients was perpetually criticized and reprimanded as a child. The parents didn’t know any better, because that is how they were raised.
They had good intentions, they believed that this would make him an aware person, who would know the difference between right and wrong.

This young man found himself constantly being critical of others, either aloud or silently. Particularly of his girlfriend. He was letting her know that he knew better and she needed to listen to him. He was certain he was doing the right thing. Eventually she left him. This scenario repeated a few more times until he realized he needed some help.

He felt so insignificant as a child, that by degrading someone else as an adult, he made himself feel more significant.

It’s painful for everyone involved, because the person who is hurt by the behavior suffers and the person who perpetrates recognizes on some level that something isn’t right. They may even feel imprisoned in their emotional state.

⦁    What about all the other strange behaviors?

Sometimes we have a deep fear that we will not get what we need from others. That we don’t really deserve anything good.
We develop coping skills, we will find a way to survive.

That may include drinking, drugs, sex, overeating, anger, avoidance, denial, too much activity…..keeping busy so we don’t have to be present. We get quite creative with the possibilities.

Carol grew up in an uncertain, frightening environment. As a little girl, she watched her bi-polar mother being taken away in a straight jacket, never to return. Her father dealt with his despair by drinking, screaming and physically abusing his children. Carol’s brother left home to join the army as early as he could. Then her sister ran away. This left her unprotected, afraid and alone. She often had to sleep outside and didn’t know when the next meal would come.

This little girl only knew chaos, there was nothing safe and solid to hold onto.

As an adult, Carol can only focus on one thing at a time, she is easily overwhelmed. She is full of anxiety and needs to verbally outline everything she will be doing for the next few days. She has lived in the same home for most of her life and is very particular how her things are arranged.

One of her coping skills is denial.

Denial of her deteriorating marriage, her advanced age, the state of her deteriorating home, that time is not standing still…..

This is how she creates a perceived sense of safety.

She is doing the best she can.

⦁    Why do people lie?

As children we don’t want to get in trouble, we want to be loved and accepted. Yet at times there are things we want to do that we know aren’t allowed.

So we learn to say….it wasn’t me, I didn’t do that.

If there are many things that are forbidden, we become very creative. We develop a very sensitive radar to what is expected from us.
We learn that it isn’t safe to be truthful, because we won’t be accepted and worse, we will be punished.

This can become a habit, a pattern, as we grow into adulthood.

We all want to be liked. If we suspect that our behavior might upset someone, we just make up a little lie….or a big one, so we can look good to others and continue to be accepted.

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Once we step through the door of understanding, the door widens and……………

…when we begin to see others with compassion, with the intention to love, it becomes clear that everyone is always trying to do their best.

Even if we don’t know their history!

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In life the happy, joyful, peaceful times carry us forward and give us strength. The painful times help us grow…. if we are open to learning.

It’s how we all make it through life. When we know better, we do better.

Looking at it this way then, we are ALL always doing the best we can in any given moment.

Healing happens when you forgive.

This is the second in a series of articles looking at how our feelings affect our lives and bodies. It is powerful knowledge that can help eliminate pain in all areas of your life. If you are struggling with something, send me an email or call.

forgiveness

 

 

Healing happens when you forgive

This is a more in depth look at a component of forgiveness, that we often don’t acknowledge.

Forgiveness is essential in every major religion on our planet.

The final words uttered by Christ during his suffering reinforce the importance of forgiveness: “”Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:34).

Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else but you are the one who gets burned” — The Buddha

Who takes vengeance or bears a grudge acts like one who, having cut one hand while handling a knife, avenges himself by stabbing the other hand.” — Jerusalem Talmud, Nedarim 9.4

What is forgiveness:

“Forgiveness is the act of consciously deciding to let go of resentment or vengeance toward another entity who has harmed you in some way (whether or not they’re actually deserving of that forgiveness)”, according to the Greater Good Science Center at the University of California, Berkeley.

Forgiveness is NOT forgetting or condoning a behavior. It is simply a desire on your part to let go of the burden of carrying the anger, rage and vengeful thoughts…..and giving them to a higher power.

It sounds like a paradox. Forgive, not forget? How do you do that?

I think letting go (forgiving) happens more easily, the more tired you are of carrying the heaviness of those negative feelings. It can be the hardest thing you ever have to do, but conversely, it is also one of the most freeing and miraculous things that can ever happen to you.

The moment you become willing, a space opens up for miracles to occur. Relationships are healed, physical healing occurs and suddenly personal peace and joy is in your life.

I spent years working on forgiving my father. I wanted a loving relationship with him. What we had was too painful for me. I wanted to be able to tell him how I experienced my childhood, but he was not open to that. So I had to do the work by myself.

Today, the memories of my childhood in his house are still there, but the pain, the emotional charge, the hurt and suffering, are gone.

Forgiving a parent is difficult. Our whole outlook on life was developed because of what and how we experienced life with them. I remember the violence I experienced when I look at my father’s hands, but today I just feel love and want to hold them. With the grace of God, I see beyond my father’s unloving behavior, understand the origin of it and see the love behind it.

How I forgave:

There are many different ways you can tackle forgiveness toward others.

Letter writing is one way: You put all your grievances on paper and then burn that letter, or bury it.

There are many forgiveness meditations that walk you through the layers.

Sometimes you have the opportunity to discuss our pain with the offending person.

When I started, I had no idea how to go about it.

Somehow, I prayed my way through it. I asked for guidance to find a way to let go, I stepped outside of my wounded self and learned to view my dad as the child he once was. I looked at his childhood, his parents, his upbringing and saw a little boy who had to develop these coping skills that left him so emotionally crippled that it made me cry.

I imagined how life must have felt to that little boy. He grew up in pre- World War II in Germany during the rise of Hitler. Not only is he a product of the German culture: strict, efficient, judgmental, quiet, orderly, not known for being warm and caring. He also had an incredibly uneducated, abusive father and an although kind, but submissive mother. I can almost see that frightened little boy, growing up without any hugs or praise. Never a gentle word or any encouragement.

There were 4 kids in a tiny 2 bedroom apartment in “a child is to be seen, not heard” world. There were plenty of brutal beatings and degrading, critical comments. At the age of 10, he was inducted into the Hitler Youth. That meant living in a camp with other boys and severe, exacting caretakers for 4 years. I have no idea what kind of abuse he endured there, because he refuses to talk about it.

I don’t believe my dad could allow himself to be loving and soft. He had to develop some hard, twisted ways to cope with that cruel childhood of his. Love was a superfluous emotion.

I was deep in my adulthood, when I realized that he shows his love by feeding you. If he takes you out to eat, or cooks for you, you know he cares.

During the process of forgiving my dad, I sometimes thought I was finished, all done, nothing more to forgive. Yet, when I least expected it, another layer of stuff came up. But I was determined and it was worth it.

We have good conversations now, because on some level he feels that I no longer consider him guilty. We both learned to become softer with each other, trust more and share more intimately. On the other end, my brother, has not been able to let go of his anger toward his father. He still talks about many painful occasions as if they happened yesterday. Their relationship is strained and uncomfortable.

The path less taken:

Typically, when you think about forgiveness, you think of others who have wronged you.

Yet, the most profound act of forgiveness is self-forgiveness. I think few of us dare to look at the depth of pain we have caused. I don’t know why it is so difficult to forgive ourselves? We are unbelievably hard on ourselves.

It is so deep and heavy that you’d rather not acknowledge it. You might break under the realization that you have caused harm and suffering for others. At times, you may glimpse some of the damage you created. This kind pain can bring you to your knees with self-hatred.

No wonder you don’t want to look at it.

These are the parts that you hide from yourself, from others, that you cover up with a facade, a mask, with lots of activity to keep from having to deal with it.

As a matter of fact, most of us are so good at this cover up that we aren’t even aware of the complex, deeply layered protective mask we have created. I am including myself in this. We are masters at it, the greatest actors of all: Keeping busy, acting defensive, covering up! We can spend our whole lives like that.

When this awareness comes up, it is not a time to do busy work, turn on the TV, get a drink or do anything evasive to avoid it again.

When the pain comes up, it is time to get still and pay attention. Listen to it. What is it telling you? What do you need to look at?

Don’t be afraid! Your fears are just thoughts. They can’t harm you.

This kind of pain wreaks havoc with your body, your mind, your relationships, your daily life.

My father is not able to look at himself. His pain must be enormous, because he has punished himself with such severe physical pain and lack of relationships that it breaks my heart. His body barely functions anymore, he spends more time in hospitals than home and feels alone and unloved.

Because, you see, when you can forgive yourself, there is only understanding and compassion left for others. There is only kindness and gentleness left………and self-esteem!

We see in others what is in us. How can you see goodness out there if it isn’t in you first? The people in our lives are a reflection of ourselves.

Where there is forgiveness, there God resides — Kabir, page 137

In this self-forgiveness miracles happen. Our DNA literally changes, because our insides are no longer twisted up and our cells can work properly again. Healing begins!

There are many who have been healed physically and emotionally. I am incredibly blessed that some of these exceptional human beings are my friends. Exceptional, because they tackled the work of forgiveness. Check out Dr. Vernon Sylvest’s miraculous healing on http://www.vmsylvestmd.com/

What I have learned:

We all need teachers and guidance at times. One of my teachers is an amazing woman, who has been healed of cancer twice, and joy and happiness literally ooze from her being, even across distance. Lauren Lane Powell http://www.harmoniesofhealing.com.

We met when I was writing “How to Create Passion Spirit Adventure” and interviewing people who love their work. She subsequently walked through the valley of the shadow of death twice.

She has been teaching me that the pain and anger is lodged in our bodies and cannot be released simply by thinking it away.

She taught me a practice that puts awareness into the body and allows release at the cellular level. This requires energy and sometimes I don’t have it. But there is always more than one way to do forgiveness work. What’s important is doing the practice, NOT pushing the difficult, painful feelings away!

Pain, Sorrow, Fear, Sadness are our travel companions in this lifetime. I don’t know anyone who can escape them. Why not make friends with them, acknowledge them? When you shine a light into the darkness, the power of the fear diminishes. It lessens the intensity of the negative feelings and allows the positive to return more quickly.

Let me know if I can help or if you would like to learn a powerful forgiveness practice.

God bless you!

Wayne Dyer’s last gift….it’s free

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We have lost a great soul on this earth. His family posted in social media that: “Wayne has left his body, passing away through the night. He always said he couldn’t wait for this next adventure to begin and had no fear of dying. ” Wayne Dyer has contributed so much to our lives through his books, talks, PBS specials and simply his presence.

One of his famous quotes is: “Love is my gift to the world. I fill myself with love, and I send that love out into the world.”

It was his purpose to re-discover the meaning of life and share it with us, guide us and inspire us. I’m forever grateful to have had the opportunity to experience him in my life.

In honor of his life, Hay House is offering his film “Shift” for a limited time for free. I want to do my part by sharing this link with as many people as I can, because if you are just a little bit willing, it can bring a shift into your life. It is a message we all need to hear.

On some level we are all searching for something. It is built into us, we can’t escape it. We might pretend, but it keeps tugging at us.

We long to find meaning in our lives. We all long for love, peace, joy and purpose.

However, the world we live in is a paradox, an insane place. All you have to do is call a big organization: You will be told “Your call is important to us” and then be put on hold for an indeterminate amount of time. Really?

Governments are meant to serve, but do you feel served or more like a victim of bureaucracy?

We will be punished if we don’t pay our bills, but our governments, who are supposed to represent us, continue to accumulate more debt and print more money. They don’t pay their bills.

Everywhere you look, the action does not reflect the words. The answer is not out there!

Wayne Dyer said: “Society demands conformity at the expense of individual liberty. Let us be for once a non-conformist to be fully alive.”

Our businesses, the media, laws and governments are not run by enlightened, kind, caring people. How can it not be confusing and illogical to follow society’s rules? That is not where the answers are!

In his film “Shift”, Wayne Dyer gently guides us back to ourselves where we have the answers. He does it with such humility, kindness and patience that we lay down our defenses and listen. He does it with such integrity that you feel trust and a willingness to acknowledge the truth of his words.

http://www.drwaynedyer.com/the-shift-movie

So take a few moments to watch this powerful movie and let me know if it made a difference to you.

I’ll leave you with some of my favorite quotes by Wayne Dyer:

If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.”

If you have a choice between right and kind, always choose kind”

Live one day at a time emphasizing ethics rather than rules.”

A mind at peace, a mind centered and not focused on harming others, is stronger than any physical force in the universe”

Healing…………

emotional pain

 

 

 

Until you heal the wounds of your past, you are going to bleed. You can bandage the bleeding with food, with alcohol, with drugs, with work, with cigarettes, with sex; But eventually, it will all ooze through and stain your life. You must find the strength to open the wounds, stick your hands inside, pull out the core of your pain that is holding you in your past, the memories and make peace with them.” Iyanla Vanzant

I couldn’t say it any better.

This is the truth!

In all my years on this planet, I have not found an easier solution.

Most of us will not experience God’s grace the way Paul did in the Bible (1 Corin 15:10) Grace is God’s unmerited favor. It is a miracle that shifts our old way of thinking and makes us new.

Most of us will have to do the work while practicing faith and patience.

It will be different for each of us, but we have to deal with the wounds. We cannot cover them with a smile or false laughter; they will find a way to creep into your life when you least expect them.

This life, your life will reflect your choices made from that unconscious state created by your wounds.

Each day you are faced with choices.  Your life, as it is now, is made up of choices that you made in the past.

These choices will ultimately reveal the real you.

The sum of your life will show your thoughts, your beliefs, your character.

Do you choose to care about others, or only about your pleasure and comfort? Do you choose to try to get by, take shortcuts or put in the time and effort? Do you choose to stay open and learn or do you stay with your fixed perspective? Do you choose gratitude or complain and find fault? Do you choose lies or honesty? Do you choose defensiveness over vulnerability?

Why?

What has happened in your past?

If you discover that you are living a selfish life, ask for courage and look at what happened that made you feel so empty that you cannot consider others! Open this horrible, deep wound of rejection and abandonment within you, look at it (you will need help from someone), shine some light on it and begin the healing.

I’m not going to promise that doing the work means that you will live happily ever after, but you will find a deep peace and joy that will forever elude you if you choose denial. You will discover a strength and a faith that will help to create a richer, more meaningful life.

For additional tools for Personal Growth go to http://www.selfgrowth.com

SelfGrowth.com is the most complete guide to information about Self -Improvement, Personal Growth and Self Help on the Internet. It is designed to be an organized directory, with articles and references to thousands of other Web Sites on the World Wide Web.

Are you weirder than me?

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I recently moved because of my neighbors. I couldn’t live next to those weird people anymore.

We, the neighbors and I, judged one another harshly for being different.

We couldn’t accept each other.

It just seems so difficult to do with all these weird people around us!  Don’t you think those thoughts? Don’t you believe that your lifestyle is really the best way and if everyone just understood that, the world would be a better place?

I sure did.

Staying in the same place all their lives is some people’s idea of a good life, while others love to travel and move around. Some wouldn’t do without a routine; others can’t stand the same thing every day. Some people stay married for life and judge others for getting divorced.

And what is it with gay people? Are they born that way or did they learn that? What about people that hoard, or women with muffin tops and super-tight shirts? What are they thinking? Why do some people, especially guys, talk sooo loud on their cell-phones in public?

We could go on all day like that. It’s really easy to get stuck on someone else’s odd behavior.

I’ve been thinking about that a lot lately. Mostly because I want to be loving and accepting.

My parents were incredibly judgmental about others, about the smallest stuff even, like the way someone wore their hair or their make-up. One day I listened to my mom go on about the way my aunt was chopping onions. I mean really, what difference does it make?

It made me want to figure out how we could learn to accept each other more.  Would it really be better if we were all similar?

I decided to look at Nature. It is incredibly diverse.

Just look at a rose, such beauty that comes with thorns. How about a dandelion, a flower that changes and then you can puff it into the wind? There are rare, exotic flowers and there are wildflowers, there are brightly colored flowers, intricate and simple flowers. Some are long blooming and some have a very brief lifespan.

What about the animals? Some mate for life, some never mate. Some live in groups, some are loners. Some prefer same sex, some are loud, some are quiet, some are big, some are little, some are lazy, some super-industrious………..

My point is, whatever you can dream up, exists in nature. Pretty awesome, wouldn’t you say?

So if it is present in nature, it can’t be absent in human nature.

Human nature mirrors nature!

We CAN accept, appreciate and love the presence of all human nature’s weirdness. We don’t have to hang out with it if it isn’t our thing. We have to take responsibility for surrounding ourselves with what feels right to us, what works for us…….sometimes that means moving.

 

Is This the Most Loving Thing?

What if we started asking ourselves periodically throughout our day “Does that feel like the most loving thing for myself?” …

Friendship

“Friends… they cherish one another’s hopes. They are kind to one another’s dreams.” – Henry David …

The Gift of Mindful Presence

There was a point when I noticed that everyone in my life seemed to talk a lot while I listened. I wasn’t a talker. I was …