"If I am not for myself, then who will be for me?
And if I am only for myself, then what am I?
And if not now, when?"
Learning to embrace the fullness of life and to bear personal responsibility and accountability for one's own life are precious life lessons. I was recently listening to a CD set called "Radical Self-Acceptance" by Tara Brach. When she began to talk about the simple act of saying "yes" to your own life, my immediate reaction was, "Like, duhhh! Who doesn't know that?" Then when my consciousness got above my ego, I began to check in with myself about how and when I am actually saying "yes" to my life or "no" to my life on a daily basis. I was astounded by all the subtle and obvious ways that I was spewing negativity against myself and what is happening in my life. I wouldn't tolerate others attacking me like that, yet there I was assailing myself.
This experience reminded me of a workshop I attended many years ago. Participants were each given a blank piece of paper representing their daily allotment of energy units and asked to walk around the room tearing off pieces of the paper representing how they spent their mental, emotional and physical energy and dropping them on the floor. For many of us, the paper was long gone before we got anywhere near the end of our list about how we spent our precious energy. Many of us also were shocked by how much of our life force was expended in resistance and negativity towards what was present in our lives. I highly recommend that you try this process. It was a profound exercise for me and has stayed with me all these years.
Self-sabotage comes in many forms: judgment, rejection, resistance, comparing ourselves to others, creating fantasy alternate truths, distracting our attention elsewhere. In what ways do you sabotage yourself each day? What strategies do you use to reclaim and redirect yourself in more uplifting ways? Here are some of my personal favorite ways to say "yes" to my life:
- Observation. The mere act of self-observation brings my consciousness present and provides the opportunity to claim my own truth and to make different choices, if appropriate. If I am not paying attention, then my negativity runs on autopilot, and I haven't got a prayer of doing anything about it. So, I pay attention, and once I see my negativity, I can choose to explore it and do something about it. An appropriate reminder here is Einstein's definition of insanity, which is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
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