I used to be addicted to the opinions of others. I took my cue on how to feel about myself or what to think about my day, based on the reactions I got from everybody around me. If someone smiled at me first, I smiled back. (Nice person, upbeat day.)
If they frowned I took it personally, because I was sure it meant that either they were an asshole, or I was—depending on the situation. (Maybe you know what I’m talking about. Maybe you’ve responded to life in this same way once or twice.)
This despite a kick-ass spiritual life in which great wisdom and deep compassion flow quite naturally through me. I know people suffer. I know their responses to life say very little about me, and a great deal about how they perceive their own difficult circumstances. And I genuinely want to help ease that pain somehow.
But. Despite glorious light-filled meditation exercises in which I could feel all these things so clearly…go ahead and cut in front of me in the Starbucks checkout line and watch me go to that lightning-quick place of silent outraged judgment. I’m a jerk, you’re a jerk. Or vice versa.
But this approach to life has become too painful and too pointless to continue.
So lately I’ve been kicking the habit of looking to the behavior of others, to tell me how I should feel about myself, or my day. I decided I want to be truly confident about myself, exactly as I am. I don’t want to wait for anybody else’s approval in order to approve of myself.
Because actually that’s nuts. We all do it, we all take our cue from the responses of others—but it makes no sense at all to do that. Others are all wrapped up in their own forms of self-hatred and pain, and guess what: They are just as preoccupied with looking to the outside world on how to feel about themselves. Why would you want to base your own self-worth and happiness on that?
So I’ve taken serious steps to end my addiction to the reflections I get from others. I’ve checked myself into the most private clinic in the world, you might say—only one doctor, only one patient—and the therapy is to wear a Self-Love patch.
This is not some sort of self-esteem/affirmation thing. I’ve never found that kind of thing to truly work, have you? Not way down deep where it counts.
This Self-Love ‘patch’ goes beyond all that stuff. It releases little reminders of my own stupendously beautiful divinity into my bloodstream every so often throughout the day. Whenever I remember to do it, I pause in what I’m doing, and choose to feel my true identity as God’s love. I witness myself as being composed entirely of the sweetness of holy light. And I feel how fantastically right that feels.
I started doing this because I recognized it’s time for me to stand up confidently strong in my own being. It’s time for me to be of truly loving service to others, in the way my soul yearns to be. I want to be a beacon of strength and light for all.
And yet I know I can’t offer authentic love to others if I’m not feeling it for myself first. Because I can’t give it if I don’t have it—not really.
So I’m pausing to feel my own divine radiance a bunch of times a day.
And as my body-mind slowly gets used to this more truthful self-image, I’m noticing an interesting, unlooked-for side effect: The obsessive need to calculate my worth based on the random reactions of others is becoming far less powerful.
Like, far less powerful.
When somebody smiles at me first, I still smile back and automatically go to that same old happy-place: This is a good day. Nothing much has changed there yet. But here’s what is noticeably different:
Anytime somebody frowns, or is snippy, or in any way harshes my happy-buzz…I seem to bypass my usual reaction and go straight to the recognition that this person is composed entirely of God’s love. They are made of sweetly holy light.
This is not an exercise. It just happens.
(Well, sometimes I react first, and then it happens a few seconds later.)
But then the most heartfelt THANK YOU wells up in me. Thank you for reminding me of who you are in truth. It’s such an honor to hold this reminder for you…until you can remember it for yourself.
And that’s the part that blows me away. I’m totally touched and honored that this person entrusts me with the memory of their divinity on their behalf.
Think of it: Every asshole, every brusquely preoccupied person, everybody who treats you poorly…each one of them is only doing it to offer you the supreme honor of remembering their light for them.
In truth they don’t need the help. In truth, their light is self-evident and known by all. They’re just here to help you (and me) practice holding the reminder of it, so that our own light can shine ever more consciously and beautifully throughout the universe.
What a rich and joyous world this is.
So that’s today’s realization.
I can’t guarantee nobody will just plain piss me off, of course. That could happen. But for all the ones who spark this gorgeous recognition of holy light instead…my gratitude knows no bounds. Thank you.