“The worst loneliness is to not be comfortable with yourself.” ~ Mark Twain
I had a client who, by any measure, possessed and achieved everything many people want. Yet he didn’t believe he was a good person; someone worthy of all with which he had been blessed. He had unbelievable expectations of himself and self-imposed standards that he (for many years) was unwilling to reconsider. He pretty much painted himself into a limited corner for growth. He wasn’t a good person or a bad person, he just held fast to some cumulative, personal decisions.
There are choices and actions that lead us in different directions, and it is through those choices and actions that we create our realities. Sometimes we choose or do something that takes us in the opposite direction of the reality we want to create for ourselves. When we do this we feel badly – uneasy, unhappy, unsure. We might go as far as to label ourselves “bad” when a situation like this arises. Instead of labeling ourselves, though, we could simply acknowledge that we made a choice that led us down a particular path, and then let it go, forgiving ourselves and preparing for our next opportunity to choose, and act, in ways that support our best intentions.
Many of us experienced childhoods in which the words good and bad were used as techniques to control us — you were good if you did what you were told and bad if you didn’t. Such discipline undermines a person’s ability to find their own moral center and to trust and be guided by their own inner self. It is important that we grow beyond what we learned and take responsibility for our choices in our own terms.
You are a human being with every right to be here, learning and exploring. To label yourself good, bad or otherwise is to think too small. What you are is a decision-maker and every moment provides you the opportunity to move in the direction of your higher self or in the direction of stagnation or degradation.
If you are interested in accepting and being yourself, here are three steps you can take:
Stop before you act. Whenever you are faced with the choice of living your true self in the outside world, or not, stop for a moment. Don’t act. Acknowledge your choices. Contemplate their consequences. Ask if the consequence of choosing YOU will be intolerable. And how it would feel to deny being yourself. Feel your answers. Then act.
- Shift the focus back to you. The outer world is a reflection of what is going on within us because we project our own thoughts and feelings onto other people and events. We give it our own meaning. Remember, you can’t change other people, the past, or circumstances out of your control. All you can change is yourself. Shift the focus back onto yourself and realize you have to power to change your life.
- Make little changes. As you discover little truths about yourself, make little changes. What you might think of as little can have a huge impact on your life. For instance, a slight shift in perspective can color how you choose to approach everything in your life. And that may be all you need to feel significantly happier. I’m not against bold or dramatic change. What’s important is to understand why you are making changes.
In the end, only you know the difference. If you find yourself going into self-judgment, try to stop yourself as soon as you can and come back to center. Know that you are not good or bad, you are simply you.