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Learn to receive, and not just give

There is absolutely nothing selfish about caring for yourself first

Make the hand the gesture of giving, and notice that it is exactly the same as receiving.  Yet we are so caught up not in receiving, but in giving.

Think about it, and focus on how many times a day you give and give.  Look at the dynamics of your family life, friendships, relationships. People love so much that they believe that loving others means giving all of themselves to those they love.

Just look at a new mother, and you will see this expressed in the most vivid way. She will not even attend to any of her needs, as long as those of her infant are met. That giving until it hurts is the best way to love is just a belief—and it can be damaging.

Let’s use the analogy of a glass of water. You are the glass, love is water. In order for you to be happy, your water level needs to be at the rim. Full equals joy, happiness, love, bliss and a fulfilled life. Now, let’s say you are constantly giving. Your water level will decrease rapidly; the more you love, the faster the water level drops.

You start to feel depleted, cranky; you start expecting your water level to be refilled, and you begin to feel lack. Lack of water leads to all sorts of negative responses because you become desperate; without it you will die. But there is no water in sight, because you have used it all up, giving it to others.

Drained

How many of you can relate to this analogy? How tired, spent and drained are you from your everyday life because you are only doing what a loving person is “supposed” to do? The way you are feeling is an indicator of your state of being. If you are feeling drained, you are giving too much and not receiving.

There is only one way to allow yourself to  receive, and this is to change the belief that loving others means to give of yourself completely. We will also add the belief that “In order to give to others, I need to give to myself first.”  And, “I am the source of my own completeness and love.”

How do you do this? This is the fun part. When you wake up in the morning, ask yourself what you can do for yourself. It might even help to say your own name and speak to yourself in the third person. You talk to yourself a lot during the day anyway, so you might as well manage those negative thought patterns.

Say, “What would you like me to do for you today, (your name here)?” A thought, an idea, an activity, a non-activity will enter your head. Do the first thing that comes to your head, provided that it is loving and kind towards you. Cooking dinner for your family is giving. Tutoring your kids is giving. Driving for your mom is giving.

I’m not saying stop the giving; I’m saying, add an act of service for yourself. It could be one of the following:

Whenever I pass by a mirror, I will say, “Hi, beautiful!”

I will only say nice things to myself about myself today.

I will not judge myself or anyone else today.

I will wear lipstick.

I will smile at everyone today.

It does not have to be some grand gesture.  It is any act that makes you feel good about being you.  Once I tried to set my alarm every hour for eight hours, and each time it would ring I would say thank you to God for whatever it was I was doing at that particular moment.  It made me so happy that whenever I feel that that world is not being fair to me, I do this, and it instantly makes me feel good.

Source

This teaches you that you are the source of your happiness, and you alone can create happiness in your life.  It isn’t easy to do an act of service for yourself, only because you really never have. Don’t you think it is time to start?

In giving to yourself everyday, you are actually reprogramming your brain, thoughts and belief systems into focusing on the fact that it is safe for you to receive, that you can receive without guilt, that it is okay to take care of yourself first. The only way to true happiness and fulfillment is through self-love, self-care and self-acceptance, and there is absolutely nothing selfish about caring for yourself first.

On the contrary, if you care for yourself first, you are validating to the universe and your brain that you are the source of your own love and fulfillment. That source is within, and never external.  You will never find it in a spouse, a job or even the best friend in the world. You will always be searching for external validation unless you give it to yourself.

By filling your own water glass, you create more and more love, which you are now free to give to whomever you wish without expectation. Expectation that ruins all relationships. Yet the only way we can free our loved ones from expectations is to love ourselves. Then what you give becomes free, pure, authentic and without strings attached. That is true giving.

And when you give without condition, because you are no longer depriving yourself, you open yourself to receive.

Let’s go back to the glass of water. It is now full because you filled it up from your own source, and are not depleted in any way, now you can receive. Your stores will never run out because you are  your own supply, and whatever you receive is just the  icing on the cake that you give thanks for on a daily basis.

This is the true nature of abundance. This is the cycle you focus your attention on, and I guarantee that happiness will be a constant in your life. What have you got to lose?  You won’t know unless you try.

Give yourself a week. One act of service to yourself, for yourself, for seven days. If it doesn’t work, stop. If it works, make it a part of your daily ritual. You will not look back.

Published March 1, 2016 in Philippine Daily Inquirer Thriving in SouLove column.

SL PDI 3

You could be unconsciously sabotaging yourself

The unconscious mind is very powerful. Our thoughts and actions are largely based on our subconscious fears and desires, and we do not even realize it.
Think about this for a minute with an open mind. Think of a time when your dream, desire or deepest longing was right in front of you. Think of that time when your dream job or school, or an entrepreneurial opportunity, or even a great romantic love was right there for you—and just when it could have been yours, something happens, and poof!

You start feeling so bad about yourself and the world around you that you can’t even explain why it happened. You begin to question everything and blame God, wishing the circumstances were different, or you simply consider yourself unlucky.

What most of us do not realize is that this is self-sabotage, and we do this all the time. What makes it so difficult to change is that most of the time we are unaware that this is happening. Part of mindful living and conscious awareness is to recognize the patterns.

Look back and see how difficult it has been to get to your fullest potential, or how it always seems to feel like you slide back just as you are about to reach your goals and dreams. Just when you are about to close that deal, finish a project, or get that job you have always wanted, something happens. It can be so simple or so dramatic, but something happens, and what you so desired is no longer within reach.

If you find this happening on a regular basis, luck has nothing to do with it. It is, again, all about limiting subconscious beliefs, and the fear that is stored within your subconscious. What we refer to as luck, karma, opportunities, being in the right place at the right time, serendipity—all that is frequency.

This frequency or energy that you are is housed in your subconscious mind. Which is why, half the time, we are so completely unaware of what is happening inside us. We play the blame game and become reactive toward our own lives. But there is a way to recognize, change and reconfigure your frequency so that you attract your dreams, desires and fullest potential.

Muscle testing

This muscle testing method is based on the science of kinesiology. It is really quite easy and amazingly accurate. Here are the simplified steps for you to try.

1) Download a compass app on your cell phone and face north.
2) Make sure you are hydrated; drink at least a glass of water before doing this exercise.
3) Place your hands on the side and keep your spine straight and close your eyes.
4) Out loud, say, “My name is (state your name).” Your body will naturally tilt forward. Say, “My name is (make up a name).” Your body will naturally tilt backwards. Test this further by saying “Yes, yes, yes” and “No, no, no.” Your body will move forward for “Yes” and backwards for “No.”
5) If your body does not move, you are dehydrated; take another glass of water and then do the test questions again.
6) Then make the following statements to yourself to test your subconscious belief systems. “I am worthy of achieving my dreams.” (Most people self-sabotage because they feel they are unworthy.) “Dreams can be reality.” (Some people feel that dreams can never become reality because this is what they have been programmed to believe, for whatever reason.)
7) Remember that the beliefs do not have to make sense to your conscious mind. You will find that the beliefs your conscious mind may find incredible are actually the ones that hold you back. These include: “Money is the root of all evil”; “There is lack in this world”; “If I reach my full potential, I will die”; or “I have a vow of poverty.” Most of us who have been self-sabotaging will have these beliefs. And yes, we can change it.
8) Fear is the great paralyzer. Fear can totally disable you emotionally and spiritually in all aspects of your life. Fear is the direct opposite of love. Check for limiting beliefs on the following, over and above what I have just suggested: I fear success. I self-sabotage. I fear becoming a different person if I reach my full potential. I fear moving forward. I fear (add your own fears here).

Changing beliefs

Please note that the muscle test does not function as a lie detector. It does not determine the truth; for this particular purpose, it is used to determine beliefs. Asking help from a professional will make the process go faster, but you can definitely do it yourself.
There are many ways to change beliefs; some are faster and more effective than others.

Beliefs that are not fully ingrained in your subconscious are, of course, faster to remove.
The more attached you are to your beliefs, the more difficult it will be to change. Remember that all beliefs serve you in one way or another; otherwise, you would not have accepted the programing to begin with.

1) Determine what your limiting beliefs are without judging yourself. Do this through the muscle testing.
2) Trace the source of your belief. Did it come from school, family, society, religion, etc.? Acknowledge and validate that the limiting belief is not the truth. You decide what you want to keep and what you want to remove. All decisions are made by you and you alone.
3) Reprogram your thoughts through repeated action and affirmations. Affirmations will work only if you have determined your limiting beliefs, and make a decision to release them with the intent of changing them.
4) Take action. Step out of your comfort zone. This is the only way to release the limiting belief.
5) Like, love and celebrate your achievements to validate yourself and experience the new joy these new thoughts are bringing you.

I know it sounds a bit abstract, but remember that we are working with frequency and energy here. Both are propelled by thought, action, intent and determination. Start slowly, and begin to feel the difference immediately.

Manifest

You will know when the limiting belief has been changed successfully because when you do the muscle test again, you will now test “No” where you tested “Yes” before. When you see the results made manifest in your day-to-day life, you can repeat the process as often as you like.
You will begin to reach your goals with ease and grace. And if you don’t, stop judging yourself and stop labeling yourself as unlucky. Simply find the limiting belief and change it.
You are in charge of your own life. Empower yourself, determine and change your limiting beliefs, and start living the life you have always desired. Dreams do become reality. Your birthright is to be happy.

Visit www.liabernardo.com; e-mail: namaste@liabernardo.com

Read more on the The Philippine Daily Inquirer Thriving in SouLove column.

SL PDI 2 Final

Being stress-free is a decision

Just like everything else, if you want something gone from your space, change your beliefs about it. The same goes for stress.
The No. 1 cause of unhappiness, worry, anxiety, sleep deprivation and illness is stress. Yet people have come to accept stress as part of life. It isn’t, and it shouldn’t be.
Some people can be in major anxiety-inducing situations and still remain calm, while there are some who react to the smallest things. The measure of stress comes from how each individual reacts to the stressors in their lives, not the magnitude of the situation.

This is why it is important not to judge the situation as small or big, because when stress is triggered in a person, the reaction will depend on how the person will process the stressors. The best way to determine whether you are stressed or not is to pay attention to your body.

Your body is the most accurate gauge of how stressed you are. When you are calm, there are no sharp pains or intense feelings in your body. Try this exercise: close your eyes and breathe normally. Focus on your breath and notice how your body is reacting. If there is a reaction, including not being able to sit and focus on your breath, your body is under stress.

If your body feels calm and there are no sharp sensations, this is your state of relaxation.

Body sensation

Now think of something that stresses you out—traffic, not paying bills on time, the fear that someone in your family might get sick. Notice that the minute you think of something that will stress you out, there is a bodily sensation that corresponds to the thought. Your shoulders may freeze up, the back of your neck might hurt, the solar plexus feels hollow, the lower back aches, the head starts to throb.

Pay attention to how your body reacts to stress, because each person will react differently.

It is important to recognize how your body responds to stress so that you can understand and listen to your body. This way you will stop judging the situation as too small or too big, because it does not matter; what matters is that you are in stress mode, and you need to decide that you no longer want to be there.
Decide to change the situation, or don’t. Just know that you and only you are responsible for your state of being. Yes, it is just a decision away.

Face it: Sometimes you like the drama, and if you want to be in drama mode, go ahead and stay there—the choice is yours. You and you alone are responsible for the choices you make—not the driver in the car in front of you, not your boss and not the situation you are in.

A large part of being under stress is thinking and believing that your are not in control of your feelings. This is, in fact, the farthest thing from the truth.
Once you decide that you no longer want to feel a certain way, change it and see what happens.

This is why it is so important to recognize that you are reacting to the situation with stress, as your body will tell you so. The situation will not change; you are the one that changes your reaction toward it.

The first step is deciding that you no longer want to feel that way, and then doing whatever works to change how you feel.

Tools

We all use tools to make us feel better. Some choose to drink beer after work, others smoke cigarettes, some take anti-anxiety drugs. But there are tools that don’t require a lot of money and that are far more conducive to happiness and empowerment.

Alcohol, cigarettes and other “maladaptive” tools create dependence. When we go toward something outside of ourselves to cope with something unpleasant, we create dependency. But our objective is empowerment and accountability, so instead of using maladaptive tools, we take responsibility for our state of being—and that’s just recognizing that you are in a state of stress, and not judging yourself as good or bad.

Second is to use means or tools that empower you, rather than giving your power away. Here are some tried-and-tested tools you can use to raise your frequency, or to put yourself in a better mood.

1) Play music.
Choose music that makes you feel good—classical, gospel, religious, mantras, love songs that are not about heartache, etc. Play music that has a positive message, uplifts your mood and elevates your spirit.

2) Take a walk.
If you live near a park or you have access to a garden, take a walk and be with some semblance of nature. This may be difficult for city dwellers, but there are still some public parks left where you can just take a walk and release your tension and fears. Walking in the mall doesn’t quite cut it.

3) Exercise.
Go to a Pilates class, yoga, Zumba, tai chi, hip-hop dancing, Nia, ballroom—there are so many choices that I am quite sure there will be at least one that you will enjoy. The point is to enjoy, not to go because you have to.
See how your energy shifts from the beginning of class to how you feel at the end of class. This is a great way to stay in shape while putting yourself in a great mood.

4) Hang out with friends.
Be with people who uplift you, with whom you can laugh out loud and just be yourself. This is bonding with like-minded people who make you feel good about yourself because you are also making other people feel good about themselves. Have fun, watch a movie, get together and just be happy.

5) Play with your pet.
Never underestimate the ability of pets to heal you. Play with and nurture your beloved pet, as it responds by loving you unconditionally—and learn how to receive that love.

6) Eat fruits.
Nature’s feel-good food is fruit. Bite into a fruit, and you will instantly feel better. Eating fruits on an empty stomach will amplify its healing qualities in terms of nutrition, but it will also instantly make you feel good inside.

7) Find something to be grateful for.
The gratitude tool is the easiest and most effective way to shift your negativity into positive thoughts and feelings. There is always something to be grateful for; the fact that you are alive is one of them. Look for something or someone to be grateful for, and see and feel the stress disintegrate.

8) Pamper yourself.
This isn’t free, but it is money well spent. Go to the barber shop, the salon or the spa, or get a home service massage. Just give time to take care of yourself.
It takes practice, yes, but this can be as easy or as difficult as you decide it to be. Being happy and stress-free is a decision you make. Do it because you love yourself, and you know that you deserve to be happy, and that happiness is your natural state of being.

Read more on The Philippine Daily Inquirer Thriving in SouLove column.

E-mail the author at namaste@liabernardo.com.

SL PDI Final 1202

Judging others is judging yourself

Our relationship with another person is a direct reflection of our relationship with ourselves. When you find that your self-talk leads toward judgment and criticism of yourself, you are creating a negative relationship with the person you ought to be loving the most, and that is you.

Take a minute here and just see yourself as objectively as you can, and look back at the number of times you put yourself down in your head. Then think of how many times you put yourself down in conversation with others. Think about how often you say, “I’m so fat or I’m not good enough or I’m afraid to…”

These are all judgments created by you about yourself.

Now imagine yourself as a pin cushion, and each judgmental thought or phrase you utter is symbolized by a pin. How many pins are in you right now? There shouldn’t be any, yet most of us indulge in this daily practice of self-flagellation, and we have been doing so for years on end, we don’t even realize we are doing it.

When you judge yourself, you are in fact taking a whip and hurting yourself with each thought and each word you say that puts yourself down.
Take today, and just for today—monitor your thoughts and words to rephrase and rethink and reverse any judgmental thought you may have about yourself and others.

Just for today, be free of any self-criticism, self-deprecation and expectations of yourself. Be judgment-free, just for today. And don’t start judging yourself when you catch yourself putting down another or yourself. Simply change the thought or rephrase what you are saying.

Self-acceptance

This exercise is a crucial step toward developing self-love and radical self-acceptance. There is only one way to happiness: Love yourself, just for today.

When you suspend or release self-judgment, you automatically stop judging others. It is impossible to stop judging another or to stop being critical of another without doing this for yourself. You will find that the most judgmental people are those who are un-accepting of themselves.

When you begin to accept yourself and see yourself not as broken or damaged goods but as someone who has experienced life, then you begin to see others in the same way. Your relationships, remember, are just mirrors of your relationship with yourself. If you are dissatisfied with yourself, you will always find fault in others. You will always be unhappy, and that is the truth.

The only way to happiness is pure self-acceptance, and this can only come from a deep love for the self. Yet a majority of those reading this will equate self-love with selfishness, which is the farthest thing from the truth.

The only way to treat another well is to treat yourself well. The only way to show kindness to another is to treat yourself with kindness. The only way you can fully accept another human being for just being himself is to accept yourself fully—both in shadow and light.

When you get irritated by others who judge, this is a signal to see it as an alarm that you are denying or suppressing that side of yourself. You are being nudged by the universe to acknowledge that you are that way, and it needs to be accepted and healed.

It is all about perspective. Shift your perspective and reverse the self-judgment. See how quickly judgmental people disappear from your space because you no longer need to be taught the lesson.

So, the next time you judge yourself or another person, know that you can create the shift in perspective within, and the outside will take care of itself. Know that you can learn this one day at a time. So, just for today, free yourself from any thoughts or words that judge yourself or others.

Published Nov. 24, 2015 in Philippine Daily Inquirer Thriving in SouLove column.

By Mia De Zuzuarregui  for SouLove

Why gratitude is good for you

In this space I will give my thoughts and insights on how to create SouLove in your life. And I am starting with the power of gratitude. By creating gratitude in your life, you can immediately feel its transformative ability to create miracles within.

Gratitude as game changer

Love is the most powerful, energetic force in the universe. What propels love? Gratitude is the most definite game changer. Gratitude will magnify anything and everything. If you focus on what you do not have, you are magnifying that, and that will become your reality. This is what happens when “nothing goes right.”

Think about it—how many times do you say, “What’s wrong with today?” or “What’s up with today?” whenever things do not go right within your day?

By focusing on what is wrong, you actually are unconsciously creating all that could possibly go wrong. The result will be a horrible day. Creating gratitude in your life is the greatest gift you can give yourself. Gratitude has the power to heal. You will become happier, nicer and will see everything from a positive perspective.

Remember, your reality and everything happening to you now is just the result of your perceptions. The easiest and fastest way to change your negative perception is to focus on gratitude. Just try this little experiment for one day, and see the difference.
There are four ways to create gratitude in your life:

1) Awaken to gratitude. From the moment you wake up, be thankful for something, anything. Be thankful you woke up, or be thankful you slept well, or try being thankful for the day that is about to happen. It doesn’t really matter what you are grateful for, but regardless of what you were thinking when you woke up, shift it to something you are grateful for.

2) Validate gratitude. Throughout the day, say thank you for every little thing that happens. You find a great parking space, say thank you. You eat something that is good, say thank you. You pay for something, say thank you for having the money to buy what you just bought, even if it is just an ice cream cone. Just say thank you for everything. It is just for one day. Focus on what you have.
Now, let’s magnify it even more. Every time you say thank you, validate gratitude further by saying, “How does it get better than this?” Say this each time without feeling guilty. Most people will not utter this phrase because of guilt. But, just try it for a day. By saying, “How does it get better than this?” you are validating abundance, gratitude and being limitless.

What is good can get better

Whatever is good can get better, whatever is happy can get happier, and whatever is awesome can get more awesome. By saying these words, you are validating gratitude and magnifying it, and in doing so, you are attracting more of what you are focusing on into your life and your reality.

3) Be gratitude. When you validate gratitude, you are reformatting your thought patterns; you are training your mind to focus on what is positive and good, and what you have vs. what you do not have. You affirm gratitude, and when you validate or affirm something, you become that which you validate.

Notice that people who have branded themselves as lucky are in fact extremely lucky. But those who say they are unlucky are in fact unlucky, right? What you validate, you become. You can shift anything that is negative in your life into something positive.
By being in gratitude, you do this so instinctively that you do not even think about it anymore. But for your one-day practice session, observe and be mindful of you becoming gratitude. Notice how you are smiling more often, and how much nicer you are becoming to others. See and observe your overall disposition—you will notice that you are lighter, more pleasant and seeing the more pleasant side of things. Your attitude becomes that of gratitude.

4) Have a gratitude journal. You can make your own with cutouts and artwork. You can buy any notebook and make it into your gratitude journal. You can even download it as an app. It does not matter how you do it; what matters is that in some way or form, you write down three things that you are grateful for every single day.
I often ask parents to do this activity with their kids. It is a great bonding activity, and it teaches children to think positively and be in gratitude. Do this every day and watch your life change almost immediately. Today, I am grateful for…

You can e-mail the author at Namaste@liabernardo.com

Read more here.

heart

Sharing a Poem on Gratitude

Be thankful!
Be thankful that you don’t already have everything you desire.
If you did, what would there be to look forward to?

Be thankful when you don’t know something,
for it gives you the opportunity to learn.

Be thankful for the difficult times.
During those times you grow.

Be thankful for your limitations,
because they give you opportunities for improvement.

Be thankful for each new challenge,
because it will build your strength and character.

Be thankful for your mistakes.
They will teach you valuable lessons.

Be thankful when you’re tired and weary,
because it means you’ve made a difference.

It’s easy to be thankful for the good things.
A life of rich fulfillment comes to those who
are also thankful for the setbacks.

Gratitude can turn a negative into a positive.
Find a way to be thankful for your troubles,
and they can become your blessings.
Author Unknown

When angels fall

We can choose to live our lives protected by fear or we can choose to heal so that we can claim our Divine Right to happiness and harmonious relationships.

Read more

Creating Harmonious Relationships Workshop

Theta Healing Soulmates® Class

CREATING HARMONIOUS RELATIONSHIPS

This is a class specifically designed to help you improve yourself so that you can create more harmonious relationships in your life, especially in your romantic relationship.  Whether you are preparing yourself for a manifested relationship or you would like to make your current relationship better, this class will be highly beneficial to you.  As a certified ThetaHealer, this class will also help you when doing healing sessions with clients regarding romantic relationships, manifesting a soulmate or healing relationships.  Couples may even take this class together and will find a renewed energy in their current relationship.

We will be talking about soulmates, soul families, beliefs that are blocking you from having the relationship you desire, creating harmonious relationships, what you can do to make yourself a better person, how to be the person you want to attract and most importantly, you will heal the beliefs that no longer serve you and may not even know you had. Then we will help you manifest the perfect partner through ThetaHealing.

I will be running this class on December 10 and 11 from 1pm to 6pm at 38A Pacific Plaza Ayala Ave Makati City.  Non ThetaHealers can join us on Day 1 while ThetaHealers need to join both Day 1 and 2 to get certification.  Certificates will only be given to ThetaHealers.

Because most of you are donating to the relief efforts, I am also reducing the price (only for this run) for those who will pay in full before December 5, after December 5 the regular price will apply:

Energy Exchange (before Dec. 5)

Day 1 only:  Php  3,750

Day 1 and 2 Php  5,700

Regular Price: (after Dec. 5)

Day 1 only:    Php 5,000

Day 1 and 2:             Php 8,000

You can leave a message here to reserve your space. Please include your cell phone number and email address and I will get in touch with you.

If you have previously taken this class and would like to join us once again you only need to pay a joining fee of Php 500.

Once you reserve, I will send you payment details…

Namaste,

Lia Bernardo

On Forgiveness

This is one of the most difficult topics for me to write, yet I am compelled to do so because I am bringing closure to this issue at this particular point in my life.

Forgiveness can take a long time, I will not delude you into thinking that the minute you make a decision to forgive, it will happen like magic, for it does not work that way. Yes, the first step is deciding to forgive, but that decision will simply lead you to the process of forgiveness and will not automatically make you forgive and forget.  Let’s start with forgive and forget, this is absolute nonsense. Yes you can forgive but how can you realistically forget what has happened to you. You can’t and you never will. You will however remember what happened to you and look back at it without any emotional attachment or reaction, that is the greatest sign that you have fully forgiven.

Betrayal, abandonment, loss of trust, loss of faith, anger, resentment, and a myriad of other emotions are felt when one has not fully forgiven.  It is a difficult and arduous process that requires personal readiness. You cannot forgive until you are ready.  And there is no way on earth you can rush the process because it is a process, not one activity that will render instant results.

When someone hurts you, you feel like you are the only person on the planet going through the pain.  You feel like there is a gaping wound that will never heal.  You feel empty, lost, abandoned, angry, betrayed you name it — you are feeling it.  Do not try to mask, negate or sweep your feelings under the rug and hope it will just disappear in time. Honor your feelings, cry all you want, curse all you want, get out into the garden and yell from the top of your lungs if you must. But you must honor those feelings for they are very real to you. Anyone who tries to tell you that you shouldn’t feel bad, steer clear from them for the time being. For if you feel the way you do it is real to you, it is your truth and your truth alone, no one has the right to tell you how you feel. No one has the right to tell you are overreacting and should just snap out of it. And absolutely no one can tell you, you did this to yourself.

First step is to completely detach from the person that has hurt you. If this is impossible because you love together try to avoid each other first or sleep in separate bedrooms. Why? Because you will just lash out, you will expect sympathy, compassion and empathy from the person that has hurt you. If the person is truly and genuinely apologetic then there is no need to detach but a high degree of self-control on your part will be needed. If you feel like lashing out, stay clear from that person for you will only add to the problem. If you expect an apology and none is offered do not demand it because apologies should be freely given and more importantly, genuinely given. If you demand it, they will simply go through the motions and this will only hurt you further. The only thing worse than a non-apology is a fake one. And remember, you are working on yourself not the other person.

So if the person that has hurt you even blames you or offers fake apologies or non at all it is best to detach. Do not expect compassion or empathy or regret from that person who has hurt you when there is none. If there is, then consider yourself lucky for the forgiving will come much easier. But when there is no remorse from the other and the other feels faultless it adds massive insult to injury. But we know by now that we can only change ourselves, each individual is responsible for his or her own growth. You are only responsible for yours and yours alone.

You will know it is the right time to forgive when you can no longer carry the burden. If your resentment and anger is weighing you down, disrupting your life or even leading you to temporary depression, you yourself will say enough is enough. Remember the person who has hurt you has either moved on or carrying no baggage at all, most likely. Maybe he or she regrets his or her actions maybe not, my point is who cares! When you don’t care anymore about revenge, about anger, about why the person doesn’t seem to care when you are hurting like hell, it is time to forgive.  Believe me, you will get to that point as long as you keep loving yourself and going back to the person you want to be.

This incident merely showed you who you are not and certainly holding anger, grudges, resentment and all those other feelings are who you are not.  When you are ready, you will know and if you keep on your path you will know you are ready sooner than later. You may ask why some people live their entire lives unable to forgive? The answer is simply because they are not in touch with who they really are. Because the heartbreak and disappointment for the other will heal, you either take active steps to heal it or it will eventually heal in time. Remember what is left behind are pride and ego. All of us have pride and ego. But the difference between someone who is in touch with their higher self is that you recognize that the heartache has healed and everything else is coming from pride and ego. A person who is not in touch with his or her core will be unable to tell the difference.

The difference is consciousness.  While you got hurt you consciously felt the pain and allowed the pain to occur consciously because you are fully aware that there are no short cuts to forgiveness or healing. You consciously decide to heal yourself with or without the support or even the presence of the person that has hurt you. And when the emotional wounds are turned into scars you also consciously recognize that you are healed but the anger, resentment, loss of faith for the person that has hurt you is no longer coming from the heart but from the mind. The mind is the home of fear and the greatest manifestation of fear is pride and ego. Once you realize you are already coming from pride and ego, then you are truly ready to forgive.

And what exactly is forgiveness? It is certainly not forgetting, we have already established that. It is being in a state where the other’s actions, words and reactions no longer affect you emotionally. You can look back at the incident as if you are watching a drama series. You can finally look back at the incident without crying or anger. But most of all, you look back at the incident or experience and say these are the lessons I have learned and because of this experience I have grown, and because I have grown, I am one more step closer to the person I want to become and I am validating the person that I am.

If you think it is too simplistic it is because it is simple in writing, but there is nothing simplistic about going through the process. But going through the process is easier when you understand it and when you recognize the experience as a great contributor to your growth. When that happens you have fully healed and you have fully forgiven and you have fully learned.

An exercise I do in my workshops are to ask people to write a letter of forgiveness to the person that has hurt them. You may want to try it. You do not necessarily have to give it. Then write another letter asking for forgiveness for your part in it. You may have not been the cause of the incident but maybe your reactions made things worse. Or maybe you did something that made the person act out and hurt you. You had a part in this one way or another and it must be acknowledged and you too must ask the person for forgiveness, again you may just keep the letter or send it if you wish. Now, the most important letter, the third letter, this is where you write a letter of self- forgiveness. Write to yourself and forgive yourself. Finally, the last letter is a letter you write to yourself but pretend it is coming from the person that has hurt you in response to your first and second letter. This is where the magic of healing happens.

By putting yourself in the other person’s shoes you get the genuine apology you deserve and you will see the other person’s truth. Write to yourself using the other person’s language and perspective. If you can do this without anger for the person, then you have truly forgiven. If anger is still there then you will need to repeat the process more than once. But if it comes from the heart it will work. Discern if your responses are pride and ego based, if they are, simply rewrite the letter from your heart. If it is still heartbreaking then give yourself time to heal some more, be kind to yourself and do not rush the process. It simply means you are not yet ready. Do it over when you feel strong enough to do so.

Relationships exist so that we can discover who we are and so that we can learn. There are also two kinds of relationships, one that is based on fear and the other based on sacred love. You will know which one you are in because a relationship based on fear is difficult and volatile. You expect your needs and wants to be met by the other person. This is an indication that you feel you still need something outside of yourself to be happy. If you are suffering in a fear-based relationship, ask yourself where the fear is coming from? Is it from you? The other person? Or both of you?

Relationships are difficult to discuss only because it will take an entire book altogether. But to put it rather simplistically and keep the discussion focused on forgiveness, you need to decide who you are vis a vis the relationship and who you are in or vis a vis the person you are trying to forgive. Again, I remind you, how the other person takes your act of forgiveness is irrelevant at this point. You are working on yourself and only yourself, you must relinquish attachments to the results of your act of forgiveness on the other person for there is no way you can control that, so why bother?

Focus on yourself and your healing. If the person you are forgiving is still within the mind and has not yet learned to access the heart, that is not your problem. It is you that needs to access your heart and stay true to who you are. Who you are and acting from your higher self will be able to forgive from the heart because you have fully forgiven yourself. Moreover, by now, you have already realized that happiness comes from within.

Yes, the other person’s actions caused you hurt and painful heartache but you are fully aware that you can and never will be able to derive happiness from outside yourself and that includes other people including your children, not to mention your spouse, a friend, a relative, or a significant other.

Relationships that are based on sacred love are based on freedom of expression. Meaning, you are not devoid of needs in a relationship, it would be next to impossible for you to enter into a relationship wherein you expect nothing. Only the highest evolved souls do that, but we are not that highly evolved, we are simply going through a journey in order to become higher evolved souls, but we are still in the infancy stage whether we want to accept that or not. It is true that expectations ruin relationships, but how can you realistically give yourself and share your life with another completely devoid of expectations? It is impossible? What is possible is managing those expectations. How? Through freedom of expression, through the ability to voice your truths, your wants and your needs.

You may not realize it consciously but in every relationship you are telling the other person how you want to be treated. If you are in a marriage, for example, and your spouse constantly puts you down and verbally abuses you. How you react to this will determine how you will be treated. Sitting back and taking it as a martyr or just crying in one corner will only give him or her permission to do it again and I guarantee it will get worse in time. If you voice out your truth and say that you get very hurt each time he does that and you feel unloved and unvalued. His or her reaction will determine the course of your relationship. Why? Because if he or she continues to do it, then you are really not respected and valued and it may be time to let go. If changes occur then you will know you are truly loved. You may say how do I just end a lifelong relationship? The choice is yours, you either accept it or you don’t.

You and you alone decide whether or not the other person’s behavior elevates you and makes you a better person or not. Now why would you want to stay in a relationship that degrades you as a person? But ultimately the choice is yours alone to make. See, people in functional, harmonious and dynamic relationships are open to change. Freedom of expression is not responded to without judgment or with defensiveness. Your truth will always be honored by the other individual.

Just remember that when you forgive you are doing this for yourself and yourself alone.  Again, there is nothing selfish about self love, you are not doing this for the other person, you are simply doing this for yourself.  Why?  Because it is the natural path a person takes when one honors himself or herself.  And when I say honor this is not elevating yourself as a better person than the other, it simply means that you love and honor yourself and your feelings.  Neale Donald Walsch explains this so very well in his “Conversations with God” trilogy.  I recommend this book for everyone to read if you have not yet done so.  When people come to me and I help guide them towards their spiritual awakening, this is the very first book I tell them to read.  Book One of “Conversations with God” will change your life if you are open and ready for change.  What Walsch is saying or rather what God is saying through Walsch is that all begins and ends with the self.  Forgiveness is actually one of the most difficult life lessons we will ever go through.  Some acts of forgiveness will come easy, some more difficult, it depends on how much hurt your have experienced and how much you are willing to grow from it.

Remember that life’s “disappointments” are nothing but lessons and experiences brought forth by our souls’ desire to grow.  The soul is never stagnant.  It craves for growth.  Since we are spiritual beings living a human existence, it is our humanity or our fears that stop the growth process.  It is so much easier to say, I am right and every body else is wrong.  That is not love at all.  The soul is pure love, there is no such thing as an ugly or evil soul.  However there are very real selfish and fear based people out there.  Walsch explains in his books that there are only two emotions, fear and love.  One can either act out of fear or out of love, everything is about choices.  So never say you do not have a choice because you always do.  Inaction in a choice within itself.  So ask yourself, who am I?  Do I want to carry this burden with me or not.  Believe me, when you act out of pure self love you will not be happy carrying the burden of hurt, resentment and anger, simply because it is absolutely contrary to who you really are.  At the same time Walsch explains that feelings are the language of the soul, as such, action out of self love means honoring your feelings but you cannot attach to your feelings.  What I mean to say here is that once the feeling is acknowledged then one honors them and makes a decision of what to do about those feelings.  This is where the explanation becomes a bit more difficult.  The reason being is that the decision needs to be made from the heart.  Walsch suggests a magic formula that has worked for me when making decisions of any kind.  He advises, or God advises, that you ask yourself two simple questions:  Is this who I am? And Is this who I want to become?   Then you know that the decision comes from the heart and not from the mind.  It is the mind that houses fear, it is the heart that delivers love and actions based out of love.  When you act out of fear you are acting contrary to who you are as a person, but when you act out of love you are acting and reacting from your center, from your soul, from your very being.

But remember anger is a very powerful fear based emotion and when you are already angry it is impossible to say I need to act out of love now.  So when you feel the anger, detach.  That is the only way I have learned to control anger.  When a person has hurt you in a way that totally wounds your heart and diminishes you as a person, you need to detach when anger comes or else, take it from me, you will react on that anger and you will regret your actions later.  Try to take yourself away from the situation and stay as far away from the person towards whom you are expressing anger.  The reason for this is once anger takes over, you will automatically react with self-preservation, defensiveness and need to protect yourself, you will always act out of fear.  Once you detach, it will give time for the anger to subside then you can act from the heart.  If the person continues to egg you on because he or she is also acting out of fear, just detach before you will do something you regret.  It does not matter whether the other is willing or not, on the contrary the other will continue to needle you because the act of detaching means you are surrendering and he or she will see this as power which is also fear based, by the way.  So the person with whom you are having an angry discussion with will simply act out of ego and continue to rile you up.  This is where self-control and discipline come in.  Easier said than done, I know that all too well, but if you want to preserve the relationship you need to step aside or you may do something or he or she may do something that will damage the relationship further.

Forgiveness is an act of Grace.

When you are in a state of Grace you will be very very uncomfortable carrying the burden of hurt and pain, regardless of the cause.  Why?  Because it is not who your soul really is, it is not who you really are.  Then and only then will you be ready to forgive.  I’m speaking out of experience here, you will take two steps forward once this happens to you, because you open yourself up to the healing of the Divine within.  Once you have truly forgiven yourself and the other person you will feel as though you are soaring through the clouds as light as air.  Nothing is more freeing than being able to remove the debilitating effects of resentment and anger.  But it can only happen once you have grown and one can only grow through experience and learning from those experiences.  That is why it is often said that nothing happens by accident or coincidence in the universe.  Everything happens to make us grow, evolve and learn.  Life without growth is no life at all.  When you have truly forgiven, it is as if you have wings to fly and in fact that is exactly what your soul feels.  You have freed yourself from the bondage of fear.

Namaste

Let go my ego

Trying to conquer ego, is ego.

Living in fear, is ego.

Putting yourself down, is ego.

Putting other people down, is ego.

Judging yourself and others, is ego.

Control, is ego.

Manipulation, is ego.

False humility, is also ego.

Ego is many things and I shall not attempt to be a psychologist and try to define it.  I can only share my understanding of it.  The ego is not bad.  The ego is a part of me.  If I am both shadow and light, then it safe to say that I have a side that protects me, but I also have a side that gives.  So I see my ego as the side that protects me.  That way, there is no good or bad judgment call here.  It is the shadow to my light.  Sometimes I come from shadow.  I come from shadow when I feel threatened, when I feel fear.  If emotions can be narrowed down to love and fear, then when I come from my shadow, I come from my fear.  When I come from love, I come from my light.

Yet, light cannot exist without dark, nor can I just give and give and give.  I need discernment, but when I come from fear that discernment becomes protection.  The greater the fear, the greater the protection.  Discernment is based on love, protection can sometimes be fear based.  When I protect myself from danger, I am acting out of love because I am sensing harm to my person.  But when I protect my pride, my feelings, my image, my “social mask,” I am coming from fear.

I come from fear a lot of times.  When I come from fear, I come from ego.  I come from ego a lot of times.  I acknowledge this and accept it.  I do not try to deny it because that will only cause exponential side effects.  I say “this is me coming from ego.” And then, I choose to change it.

I do not fight my ego.  I’ve tried that route, it does not work.  I have come to understand that when you fight something that is a part of you and try to destroy it, you destroy yourself.  The ego, if threatened, will protect itself.  If you fight it, it fights back.  If you try to eradicate it, it will show you that it strong.  I have befriended my ego.  I treat it as part of who I am.  It is part of me and I accept it.  I work with it.

When I am healing and I have a vested interest in making sure that my client gets well, I know I am coming from ego.  I detach when this happens by asking the Divine to take me away from the equation.  I even ask my ego to sit on my left shoulder while the Creator does the healing on my client and uses me as a tool.  It works for the most part and when I come from ego I know (well, most of the time) and I again just choose to change it.

Like everything else in life, the ego will fight for its existence and its right to exist.  So I go through the continuous process of understanding it rather than fight it.  Sometimes I succeed and sometimes, I come from ego.  But this is all part of learning to accept yourself.  This is part of the journey.  Knowing and understanding who you are in relationship to yourself and others.  When I come from ego, my question to myself is:  “What are you protecting?” I also ask myself: “What is causing the fear?”

Most of the time I protect myself from rejection.  Rejection is a powerful emotional block.  No one wants to be rejected and we all seek approval from others especially those whom we love.  When I am afraid of rejection, I always come from ego.  I act in ways that will protect me from rejection.  I say things that are safe.  This is when I lose my authenticity.

It gets even more complicated in relationships.  Here is where the ego takes charge.  When pride takes over, ego takes over.  Pride is actually based on the fear of rejection.  But, it is rooted in the rejection of the self, not necessarily the rejection of others.

What do I do when this happens?  I heal the fear.  Sometimes it is necessary to face the fear.  But most importantly I work with myself so that I can be aware that it is happening.  I think this is the most crucial part of working with the ego.  Once I come from ego, it is so hard to accept and acknowledge that I am coming from ego.  So how do I know I am coming from ego?  Bottom line is, nothing will work!

When I come from my higher self, everything goes very smoothly.  But when I come from ego, it is an uphill climb.  Life is not so easy, it becomes a struggle.  I have come to understand that struggles are there to wake me up, to remind me that there is an easier and better way.  It is my soul’s way of saying, stop, analyze, find the source and change it!   This is when magic happens.

So see what triggers your ego?  Befriend your ego so that you can learn to work with it until you come less and less from your ego.  But to say that you are completely devoid of ego is in fact the ego talking.  It is all about oneness and integration.  Learning to work with the ego is an essential part of healing and spiritual growth.

Namaste

 

egodeepakchopra