Sunday, April 27, 2014

Have You Given Yourself The Credit You Deserve?

I think perhaps I haven't given myself enough credit. Perhaps you are feeling that way too, or maybe you haven't had the ah ha moment yet. Therefore I am compelled to share this with you, hoping you will see within yourself the success you truly are.

I was reading a book I wrote several years ago, "Don't Change For Heaven's Sake", and found my moment of truth. Some found the book too personal, others were helped beyond explanation by reading it and applying it to their own life. We all have a story, but honestly, our story is the same, with different characters and drama. Our purpose is the same. We are all here to experience what is ours to walk through and come through it with love, gratitude and compassion. We are all here to learn peace, to know who and what we are.

I set out to revise the edition. Instead what I found is the relevance of what is written. We have become so success and material conscious, we have forgotten the basics of living a good life. Social Media has created a bigger audience for our stories about others (gossip). There is so much more advertising available to tell us we are not good enough unless we own more cars than we can drive or a bigger house than we can maintain. Success has become about money in the bank, no matter who is left hungry in the process. We beat ourselves up daily as we compare what we have with others. We are so busy putting out positive messages to the world, we don't take time to process anger, guilt and shame, or take time to forgive. And in our search for self-acceptance we are met by Law of Attraction Gurus who reinforce the idea of having more is being more. What happened to the basic laws of respect, acceptance and loving others?

As I reviewed "Don't Change..." I realized how blessed I am. I  felt the strength it took to work through relationship and health problems, to clear my anger, shame and guilt. I felt blessed not to have succumbed to the feelings of lack, which were true for a long time. I saw the success with which I had used the tools for clean living, as I continued to create a life I was proud to be living. There are too many who give up. I reach out to you today. There are those who continue to live in an illusion, believing that their houses and cars make up for their lack of love, as they continue to berate others for their seeming lack. I send my compassion out to you, knowing the loneliness of things. I am grateful for faith in a Higher Power providing all that I need.

Louise Hay was my greatest mentor, teaching me to love myself, so I could love others; teaching me to accept others for who they are, rather than judge or use them as a marker for who I am. I learned along the way, I cannot control everything. Sometimes surrender is all that solves the situation.

And as I reviewed the book, I saw how constant criticism of ourselves undermines our opportunities for happiness and peace. As we go through each day, we will make mistakes, we will have times when we could have given more or done better. Yet, in each moment if we are doing the best we can, that is enough. Mistakes can be fixed and moments of over achieving will make up for the shortcuts taken. In the end all that really matters is, "Are you happy?" If you aren't what can you do to be happy, not because of what is happening on the outside, but because deep inside you feel your own love - self love and love of life.

Just for today - Approve of yourself - no matter what.
Know "You Are A Success Because You Exist"
I am reminded life is not about change. It is about letting go - letting go of judgements, vengeance, hurt, remorse. It is about letting go of everything that does not support joy. When you stop comparing yourself to others you will no longer have a reason to criticize yourself. When you stop criticizing yourself, you will no longer have a reason to criticize others.
Know now, you are "perfect, whole and complete", in the words of Louise Hay. Feel the blessing of those words. Review your life and see what you have accomplished. You are worthy. You are strong. You are beautiful.
Julie Melville

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Forgive and Find Joy

Why do we assume there is something wrong? We need to blame either ourselves or someone else for situations and events. We take a defensive stance when confronted with another's misunderstanding of what is happening. Often we shift the blame to the one who is confused, angry or upset. Why?

Somewhere we have been taught anything that does not make others happy is our fault. We are not good enough. We are somehow broken. Our ideas cannot be good enough or everyone would just simply agree. When our judgement is questioned it triggers the response of defending our worthiness. We find ourselves lashing out or withdrawing into silence. We seldom open to discussion on these alternate opinions or ideas, afraid we may see a different point of view, thus making our point wrong. But is there a wrong or right opinion to anything that happens in life? Is life not just a perception?

One of the biggest reasons I have found for this push and pull between us, is the need to feel we are in control. Our subconscious has been programed to believe others are either better than us or beneath us. Therefore we need to defend our position on the ladder of life. But is there anyone who is better or beneath anyone? Is there a need to defend our position, if we are all equal? Is it not acceptable to understand another's point of view without feeling there is something wrong with us?

As is my usual Easter custom, I sit in meditation and consider forgiveness. Forgiveness of self and others. More and more I find myself asking, "What is there to forgive?" This ritual shows me how I am taking life too personally. We are here to experience. Those who push our "Hot Buttons" or illicit hurt or anger, can be appreciated rather than defamed for they are showing me where I still have the belief, "I am not good, worthy,  smart or important enough. Those beliefs have nothing to do with anyone else but me. I need in times of feeling a need to forgive someone else, to realize I created this experience to teach me more about who I think I am.

So then, what is left to forgive? I have long since forgiven the bullies, abusers, and naysayers in my life. I have even found a place of gratitude for the strength they have given me. Do I need to forgive those who disagree with my perception of life and what should be? No, they are entitled to their opinion. I can be grateful for the different aspect they have on a particular idea, for it broadens my mind.

Forgiveness of self is all that is left. Forgiveness for those times when I have responded without opening my mind and heart to what another feels in a situation. Forgiveness for self for those times I have made an assumption without hearing the whole story. Forgiveness of self for thinking I am not worthy of all that is good in life. Forgiveness for desiring control when control is not appropriate or necessary. Forgiveness for some and any belief that allows another to push those old buttons of the past, when the past is gone. Forgiveness for thinking I should be able to control the future when there is a greater power within me who will guide me if I just drop the pretense that my ego is all there is to guide me. Forgiveness of self for looking either up the ladder or down, when in truth I know we are all equal, all one, with a unique set of qualities and ideas that make the experience of life, rich and textured.

As I conclude my meditation for this year it comes to me that most misunderstandings are based on assumption, creating a story without allowing ourselves to hear the truth from others. We are so afraid of the truth that we shut out those who we presume have wronged us and create a story that gives basis to our right to be angry, hurt, and disgruntled. If we could instead create a story that says I am enough, they are enough and together we create a beautiful world, the need for this Easter custom could end.

Is it not enough that one man died on the cross, must we carry that hurt, burden and sacrifice as well? To do so negates that which we were taught in Sunday School, that Jesus died on the cross to forgive the sins of man eternally. Can we not remember this and forgive without pain and suffering?
For in forgiveness we find the joy we are seeking.