Be careful what you think. Any image or thought you hold about some aspect of yourself stifles your growth and freedom. For example, if you think of yourself as overweight, however true that may be, you tend to stay overweight as a result. If you think of your golf handicap as a particular number, you tend to not surpass that number. In both examples, you’re inclined to sabotage any change or improvement. As soon as you see yourself losing weight, you start overeating again to maintain the image of yourself as “overweight.” If you find yourself playing better golf than your predetermined handicap, you hit more balls into sand traps in order to return to that handicap. It’s a subtle and subconscious phenomenon.
The same applies to ideals. If you think yourself a kind, fine, upstanding, church-going citizen — then become judgmental, vengeful or angry at the slightest provocation — what happened to that ideal? It’s been contradicted. You never imagined yourself a hypocrite. Then you feel guilt and remorse. The idea is not to stop the anger, but to stop holding any fixed ideal or image about yourself – negative or positive. There’s nothing wrong with anger of itself. In those moments of anger, that’s exactly who you are so the correct response is to totally accept it. When that anger is accepted, an interesting thing happens – the anger subsides. The anger is controlled. Thus acceptance has transformed anger from a negative to a positive. It’s amazing!
Likewise with any psychological pain. When feeling jealous or revengeful, anxious or despairing, weak or powerless, confused or conflicted – that’s who you are. To reject anything about yourself is to reject everything about yourself. When you reject something it doesn’t go away. It’s repressed into the subconscious part of your mind, and stays with you as an energy draining undercurrent. Anything negative that enters your awareness is to be accepted not fought or escaped from. Acceptance dis-empowers a thing. It neutralizes it.
If you think yourself strong, you’ll certainly have feelings of weakness as a result. If you think yourself a person of courage and faith, you must have feelings of fear and doubt as well. Therein lies the stressful conflict that diminishes your joy and power. If you didn’t think yourself strong, feelings of weakness wouldn’t and ouldn’t arise, etc.
All ideals have to be dropped because they include within them their negative opposites. You can’t have one without the other. They are two sides of the same coin. You don’t need to think anything positive about yourself because you are all positive and perfect all the time — otherwise you wouldn’t be here. You contradict that tremendous fact when you hold fixed ideals about how good you are or reject any so-called negatives about yourself. Change what you can, accept what you can’t. Live on life’s terms not personal terms. All or nothing has to be accepted. You have to be all in — not choose what or not you’ll accept about life like a buffet. That’s primitive, self-centered thinking. Rise above all that good or bad, right or wrong nonsense. Retire from the debating society. You are not qualified to judge the flaws of the world or yourself. If your peace of mind, joy and contentment are to be unconditional, then accept the world and yourself as is, all the time.
About the Author
Bill writes on personal development from a spiritual perspective. His formal training was in electronics engineering – a field he abandoned after a “spiritual wakening” experience led him to an intense 30-year study of human potential development. He is the author of The Relaxation Principle, Getting Centered, The Zen of Sobriety, Break Your Love Affair with Food, and many related articles. Bill is a single, former Bostonian, living and writing in Naples, Florida.