When we grow up unaccepted, unliked, and under appreciated, it’s a totally normal reaction to internalize those feelings. This is our way of making sense of the world — if people keep taking their anger and hurt out on us, we will begin to think that we are the problem and that we deserve it.
If left unnoticed and untended to, this belief system can cause us to accept mistreatment and abuse later in life. If we are rejected or criticized, it can trigger a storm of self-hate and self-blame.
The thing to remember is, our reaction causes our suffering, not the unkind or cruel words of someone else. In this life, we will encounter all sorts of people. Some will be kind and some will be hurtful. If we are always on high alert, always on the lookout for a mean comment, we will always be stressed and agitated, healing will be much more difficult, and we are sure to find that which we are looking for.
When a stranger suffering from mental illness yells at us on the street, we don’t become insecure. And yet, we believe the hurtful words of people who are clearly suffering all the time.
So we have to change that internal story. We have to recognize that our reaction is conditioned, it is not objective truth. We think rejection and criticism are hurtful, but they are just other people expressing their own internal mental state. We think we need not be liked by everyone, but even you probably don’t like everyone!
You are the miracle of life itself. The universe manifested you! This is no accident. You are infinitely worthy of love and kindness. If other people can’t see past their own egos, be grateful that you can and move on with love. Here’s how we can be happy with what we have while still striving for more, how we can we struggle our way towards success, and yet be happy along the way, and how we can feel content no matter where we are, where we’ve been, or where we will reach tomorrow.
Whenever you feel most down, most conflicted, most angry, most hurt or most upset, do this one simple thing: Ask yourself, “Where is the lesson?” You cannot be both upset and curious at the same time. Curiosity, intellectual exploration, and reflection cannot coexist with anger and rage. You may not even find an answer, but at least you’re open and curious instead of closed and certain.
The simple act of turning our attention inward and observing our mental and emotional state with clarity and equanimity, instantly transforms our thoughts and emotions.
This week, seek criticism and rejection. What I mean is, put yourself out there, take chances, and start living like a confident person with nothing to lose. Be smart, be safe, and be mindful, but notice that when we embrace the idea of criticism and rejection, the fear and aversion instantly melt away, we no longer resist rejection, and we no longer cling to acceptance. This is freedom. To know how to get your desires, intentions and actions into alignment, watch this video.
If we are meditating for a “high” or for purely selfish reasons, we’re going to have a harder time going beyond thought because meditating is about temporarily letting go of all attachments. When we dedicate our practice to the benefit of all beings, our growth is accelerated because selflessness is the path to freeing ourselves from our ego. I cover this topic of needs, wants and desires in detail in my book Death, Life and Oneness.
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