To believe your own thought, to believe that what is true for you in your private heart is true for all men, that is genius. – Ralph Waldo Emerson
A good friend is going through a personal crisis. She’s facing a financial situation with so many twists and turns, she feels emotionally bankrupt as well. She’s a beautiful, intelligent and responsible person. Not only does she wants to be accountable for the mistakes she’s made, but she’s willing to take responsibility for everybody else’s mistakes too. She’s terrified that one wrong move might jeopardize her future because she’s deemed herself untrustworthy. But if she doesn’t approve of herself it’s hard to hear somebody else tell her what she need to do and where she need to go because she won’t really believe it. Even if it comes from a well-intentioned friend reminding her the finish line is reachable if she’s able to turn off the over-reactive voice in her head telling her it’s impossible. Now this may not sit well with Suze Orman’s aggressive I’ll-tell-you-what-girlfriend approach to money matters, but I’m not writing this to shame my friend for her fiscal misgivings. She’s already beaten herself up enough for the situation she’s in. My hope for her is that she’s able to move forward without criticizing and blaming herself for every little detour and roadblock along the way. She’s facing her past head-on and no longer blindly giving away her power, but the underlying fear that she isn’t enough keeps her in this cycle of either finding or fighting herself every step of the way.
Everyone is going through something similar in their lives, but it’s important not to let the past determine how we choose to handle whatever our particular situation happens to be. Just because I dated one guy who treated me poorly and broke my heart, doesn’t mean every guy I meet will do the same thing. Unless I decided he wasn’t the jerk, I deserved to be treated that way because why should I ever expect anything else from men? Then, I will only have myself to blame when that particular kind of guy continues to show up in my life. My past mistakes are meant to inform my perspective so I can make a different choice the next time around. If I decide that I am only capable of making bad decisions and everything ends in disaster, then sure enough, I will experience that too. If I’m not willing to look at what I really believe about myself and the past that shaped those beliefs, how can I possibly expect a different result in the future? If I believe everything sucks, then everything will probably suck most of the time because I won’t even remember the times when life didn’t suck since that wouldn’t be relevant to the unconscious story I’m telling myself every day. The need to generalize people, places and situations and categorize them as all one way or another is a clear indicator that we’re not really trying to connect to the present moment. Rather we’re referentially applying a previous experience as a substitute for the truth. It’s an excuse to stay comfortable and not really make an effort. While it may be true to say everybody poops, not everything in life sucks unless we want it to…the choice is ours.