“If I can change within myself and keep learning how to change, then the world around me changes.” –Brian Flowers
Brian Flowers is a fellow artist living in one of these Spanish Land Grant villages that nestle in the fingered valleys running along the Sangre de Cristo Mountains in northern New Mexico. I quote him here because he so perfectly and simply puts into words a truth I am actively working to affect.
Something I struggle with and have, if I’m going to be honest with myself, all of my life, is the judgment of others. I have a fight or flight kind of response to it: Adrenalin shoots through me and I’m rendered almost ill. When I was younger I always tried to adjust—tried to “correct” the aspect of me that brought displeasure. Recently, however, I am coming to understand that kind of change cannot be the answer.
I absolutely believe we create our own reality and if we change how we are within, we change the world around us. I also feel we draw to us the lessons we need and the people who offer them. Once we’ve gained whatever knowledge was intended, the person will either disappear or our response to them and theirs to us will be changed. So I draw the teachers to me, which means, until I learn whatever lesson or series of lessons I’m meant to get from this, people who judge and criticize will continually present themselves in my life. So I really, really want to comprehend this! I have made progress. I no longer try to change myself when pressed and I’m learning to set boundaries. I am learning not to judge others.
But here’s the thing: Until I am entirely free of SELF judgment these critics will continue to come into my life in as many ways and forms as I can imagine—and it is me imagining them into reality. Until I see my own worth, my own strength, my own value, until I can embrace the whole of me; including the parts I judge, I will manifest my own self-loathing on the outside. Once I find self-acceptance, the critics fall away or no longer touch me.
Shakespeare said, “This above all: To thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou ‘canst not then be false to any man.”
My response to displeasing others is so strong I think it might be tied to safety issues for me. Somewhere deep in my psyche I must believe that if I am not liked, I am not safe. It’s the only sense I can make of it because being accepted holds terrific power over me. At least I’m seeing it now and, even if I don’t fully understand it, I can begin to change through consciousness.
Lydia Maria Child who lived from 1802 to 1880 said, “I will work my own way, according to the light that is in me.” I love that. It so beautifully says what it is I am endeavoring to do. She stands up for her right to be exactly as she is and her proclamation is both gentle and strong.
I am here on this earth, as I am, for whatever the reasons. I will continue to study and grow but I must also be exactly who I am, moving through the world in the ways that come naturally to me. As long as I am conscious as much of the time as I’m able, and as long as I intend no harm, no one but me should tell me who I am, or how I am meant to be. I must follow my own compass, my own guidance. I must live my own truth no matter who may be offended.
I want to offer one more quote that speaks to this, I believe, “We don’t receive wisdom; we must discover it for ourselves after a journey that no one can take for us or spare us.” Marcel Proust
How very powerfully true.
The photos of Jeane in today’s post were provided by Kevin Hulett.