Empathy And Forgiveness
Even if you can grasp and accept that you are God–like, Divine Source Energy, love, and oneness, most people cannot or do not want to believe that in some way they have attracted everything and everyone in their life. The relationships and situations we find ourselves in are the mirror of our thoughts and feelings. It can actually function as a wonderful feedback system to let us see and learn about ourselves. It’s also an excellent demonstration of our power to create. Your thoughts and feelings attract to you people and situations that directly reveal your deepest beliefs about yourself and the world. As Bruce Lipton just noted, we develop these beliefs early in life.
From day one we begin to react to our environment, doing our best to adapt and survive. We acquire beliefs from our parents, in particular, about what is right and wrong, who we are, and how we’re supposed to present ourselves to the world. And when we violate any of these learned beliefs, we begin to develop guilt and shame. We develop a “shadow” side of our selves. We try to hide it and deny it, and one way to cope with these uncomfortable feelings is to suppress or repress them, and take them out of our conscious memory. Another way is to blame and project what we rejected or denied about ourselves onto others. In psychology this is called scapegoating or projection.
I’d really like you to think about this because if we could look at what we judge about ourselves and others, we could see it as a way to understand ourselves so much better. Truly, like the law of attraction, the people in your life (including your pets and co-workers) are mirrors of you – the good and the bad. It takes courage to accept that what we don’t like about others is what we consciously or subconsciously don’t want to acknowledge in ourselves.
Experiences of guilt, shame, and rejection are how your “inner critic” is born. Psychologists, Hal and Sidra Stone discuss this concept well in their book, Embracing Your Inner Critic. We all to some degree, early in life, develop insecurities and fears largely based on our parents’ beliefs. And, like it or not, we become a lot like our parents. Actually, your inner critic is primarily the voice of your parents. As children, we may feel alone and afraid, and want to reach out for love and to feel safe, but we usually can’t for fear of further rejection if we’re not measuring up to our parents’ or other’s ideals.
In my case I developed my father’s perfectionist tendencies, “If you’re going to do something, do it right. You should be willing to sign your name to whatever you do.” I similarly learned from him a definite defensiveness, rigidity, and cut off from my feelings: “If you want to cry, I’ll give you something to cry about.” I had to do it his way.
The research and common sense are that you feel best and are most healthy when you are able to be yourself, when you are being unique. You didn’t learn to be unique. Most of us learned to conform to the beliefs and values of our parents. You weren’t stupid – if you were going to be yelled at and made to feel unworthy and unloved for not obeying your parents or other authority figures, you’re going to soon catch on. You learn to equate love with conforming.
Your inner critic, like your ego, is simply a survival mechanism doing its best to help you make it in the world. As you experience more and more thoughts and feelings of separation and fear vs. oneness and love, you subconsciously create aspects or sub personalities of yourself that you come to believe are who you really are. They include your inner critic, rule maker, pleaser, responsible parents, and other selves. These “selves” that you call your personality, were developed by your subconscious, and take over when you’re feeling vulnerable. And your beliefs about who you are will be reflected in your primary relationships in particular. They are your mirrors.
In marriage, for example, you will attract someone who carries your “disowned selves”, the parts you’ve somehow learned are socially unacceptable. I tend to say that you marry your opposite. One of the most common observations I’ve made is that one of you will be significantly more self-centered, and one of you will be more of a nurturer. One of you can’t wait to throw things out, and the other wants to hoard and save. If you really think about this, it can make you wonder why in the world you married this person. You can be so different. The reason is that at an energetic level, you attract others to fill in your void and to balance you. Interestingly, all of the qualities that you are looking for in another are within you (“Oz never did give nothin’ to the Tin Man that he didn’t already have”). And those who push your buttons, or who you overvalue, are your best teachers. Your beliefs at a vibratory level attracted you to each other. If only we could see our relationships this way, and how we can help one another instead of judging and wanting to change them.
Interestingly, the best way to change them is to change yourself. As you learn to love and accept yourself, it changes your energy and the way others relate to you. If you change, they have to change also. Believe me, this doesn’t always go smoothly, but the key is your becoming more aware of the truth of who you are and assuming a conscious, caring role in relation to “the inner critic”. Your inner critic can become a special ability to spot problems, and a warning system that you’re out of balance. This is the role of your emotions.
In their many books, Esther and Jerry Hicks refer to an “emotional guidance system.” How you feel is an indication of how well you are aligned with the truth of who you are. Are you aligned with Divine Source, and allowing this Energy to flow? If so, you will feel good. This is the same with your health. A major premise in shamanism is that medical symptoms are what I call benevolent messengers. They’re feedback letting you know that you’re out of balance or alignment. And when you rebalance, your symptoms have no reason for being, and go away. If we are willing to be more introspective, and really see ourselves as a bunch of sub personalities that we have acquired, like our ego, as a misguided way to survive, we can begin to see our True Self. Ideally you want to meditate and really learn to access your True Essence. You need to realign. You must learn to love and accept yourself. Empathy and forgiveness are essential to this process.
Many therapies embrace this approach. It is important to empathize with yourself, not criticize. I believe that criticism is the most stressful thing you can do or have done to you. It’s the epitome of “Don’t be yourself.” This was a major message in Doctor’s Orders:Go Fishing.
I learned what most people want is peace of mind. And when I thought about when we have it and how to get it, I realized that it comes largely when we’re “going fishing” (doing what we really love). But, remember, people found this too selfish. This was their shadow and inner critic at work. They came to believe that everyone else should come first. You don’t get peace of mind running around trying to please everyone. That will get you crazy since everyone has at least a little different idea about most everything. Even religions can’t agree on what’s right!
So, whenever you find yourself becoming stressed, or your buttons are being pushed, take time as soon as possible to sit down and get in touch with that part of yourself that’s feeling out of sorts. Be in touch with your feelings. Don’t judge them or try to change them. Treat yourself like you would a best friend. If a best friend were struggling and asked for your help, ideally you wouldn’t judge or try to change this person. You would be there for your friend. And whatever it took, you would stay by your friend. That’s what you need to do for yourself. I call it loving yourself. You need to learn to accept and love yourself just like you accept and love best friends. You can see their warts and foibles, and you love them just the same. Similarly, be there for yourself. Do this for yourself. Love yourself.
I believe that self-love or loving yourself is the core issue that underlies all of our concerns. This is the same as knowing who you truly are: one with God or Divine Source. For if you really understand that you are one with God, and if you love God, then you must also love yourself. I used to joke that if I could create a new diagnostic code for physical or mental disorders, it would be called “Forgotten Identity.” We have forgotten the truth of who we are, and this loss of connection to our Essential Nature causes or contributes to a breakdown in our health. We must stop the self-criticism, and learn to forgive ourselves for not living up to some learned, arbitrary ideal that came from our parents, community, or culture.
Excerpted from Why Love Heals (Heartfelt Intent Publications, Eagle Point, OR)
© 2009 Dean Shrock, Ph.D. All rights reserved. Reprinted by permission of the author.
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Dean Shrock, Ph.D. served as Director of Mind-Body Medicine for a group of 40 cancer centers. Here he discovered that the one thing we’re all looking for is peace of mind. His books, Doctor’s Orders: Go Fishing and Why Love Heals, reveal how to find it. The secret is finding your joy. This is the key to accessing the life force quantum energy that flows through everything. This all-pervasive energy is best described as love. This is why Dr. Shrock’s research concluded that you need to feel loved and cared for. This allows for the flow of this life-giving energy. He then realized that healthcare must address the whole person: body, mind, and spirit. Now after more than 30 years of study and practice, Dr. Shrock has dedicated his life to writing and teaching how to find your own true joy, greater health, and a deeper sense of inner love.
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