There is a lot of needless suffering when it comes to relationships. For many people, the desire for loving relationships trumps most other wishes. The solution is so simple, but it is difficult to master: ACCEPT PEOPLE AS THEY ARE. Put your energy into the only thing you can change: YOU! Most of us want to believe that we are sad or angry because of the way someone else has treated us. But in reality, we suffer because of the meaning we place on what has been said or done. The truth is, we create meaning that is congruent with our own self-image… and that self-image, when closely examined, can be pretty terrible. Change the relationship you have with yourself and everything around you will change. Take responsibility for your choices in friends and lovers. We suffer greatly if we have chosen to be in a relationship with an abusive person or to work for an abusive boss. See the people in your life as they really are, not as you wish them to be. Look at those around you with grace and consider that they are doing better than they should be considering all they are dealing with. A powerful statement in recovery groups is “Expectations are premeditated resentments”. Go ahead and expect others to be kinder, calmer, more timely, neater, more thoughtful, more wise, more independent, more driven. Go ahead. But it won’t bring you any peace. Stay with what you control: your kindness, your addictions, your integrity, your choices. Communicating your desires clearly is another thing you do control. Some people are so caught up in being offended that they themselves don’t know what they really want — except to be offended. Your self-respect and faith will ultimately be demonstrated by who you choose to date, befriend, work for, hang out with, or marry. This is important stuff.
On March 15, my RENEWAL RETREAT FOR WOMEN: Waking Up to Loving, Living & Letting Go! will take place at the Rush Creek Country Club in Maple Grove, MN. I am so excited to work with fantastic, brave women who are committed to explore ways to bring more love into their relationships and work. For true serenity, we must let go of wasting energy on trying to change others. Perhaps it is true that if you are trying to change someone, you don’t really love them. We must accept that we do not know what others need. Are you able to feel someone else’s anxiety in their chest? Are you able to experience someone else’s goosebumps when they are inspired by a strain of music? Do you know the private thoughts that are exploding in your partner’s head? Do you know everything that happened to your friend in 5th grade? Of course not. But ironically, your own body, spirit and mind are trying to love you by shouting your own needs at you as you ignore signals that YOU are out of balance, or unfulfilled in your career, or using food or substances to quiet your own self-criticism. Many of us have quit noticing what the muse is telling us, because we have become addicted to the distraction of other people’s business. We also impose our abusive perfectionism on others. Healing starts with loving you as you are, forgiving all your mistakes, and embracing your wonderful imperfection! When you invest in YOU, everyone around you will be touched by your content spirit. Marianne Williamson wrote about this power of personal transformation in Our Deepest Fear, “Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you… As we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
I look forward to being in the midst of seekers on March 15. We will laugh, explore, create and be transformed by each others’ presence. I invite you to join us (register here at http://bit.ly/1eyttoO). Springtime is near and new life is about to explode everywhere. Consider a new life for you!
Note: The wonderful painting, above, is entitled, “5 Muses”. It is the creation of Suzen Juel of Minneapolis.