I criticized and beat up on myself

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There was a time in my life that I believed my ego voice and the stories it told me. It was usually negative self-talk and I would ask myself (if someone withdrew or acted strange or was irritated with me), “What did I say or do wrong?” It always resulted in thoughts of separation, blame and guilt. I never knew if the story in my head was true or if I was imagining something. Talk about losing my peace and giving my power away. I know today that their behavior usually has nothing to do with me. It was usually about what they were going through and often a call for love. Can you relate?

Are you able to distinguish when it is the ego voice in your head or it is the voice of the Holy Spirit? I am learning, practicing and finding that the more I LISTEN and trust the voice of the Holy Spirit, the more peaceful I am. When I STOP and ask for help or direction, I am guided in ways that are for my highest good and for the highest good of all.

I have 2 experiences that I would like to share with you and how I “checked things out.” One of them was about 25 years ago when I was an alcohol and drug therapist. The other one is a recent experience with one of my children.

I was invited to speak at a local college about the effects of alcohol and drugs on families with one of my peers. Ray had been speaking at the college for years and this was my first time. He praised me at the end of the talk and it appeared to have went well. Until the next day when I started to beat up on myself and criticize what I had said. It was usually that I spoke too much or too little. I felt terrible. The story I told myself was, “Ray probably wished that he hadn’t invited me to speak.”

Instead of “stewing” and obsessing about it, I decided to be courageous and vulnerable and share with Ray what I was thinking and feeling. I really needed to check it out to see if this was a story that I imagined or was there truth to it. Ray was quite surprised and taken aback when I asked him for feedback and told him my struggle. He said, “Pat, you were wonderful and the students loved you. You added so much to it.” What a relief to know the truth.

The other example of “checking things out” was with one of my children. When we hung up the phone I felt some tension about our conversation. It felt like I was prying into their business. We have always had a close and honest relationship so I didn’t know what was going on. I asked myself, “Was I imagining this or was there something going on between the two of us?”

After praying about it, Spirit assured me that it had nothing to do with me. I asked Spirit if it was in my highest good to send an email to share my experience when I got off the phone. Here is the message I received from the Holy Spirit:

You can write if you want to if you think it will make you feel better to “check it out” or you can let it go. You can send love and know that it has nothing to do with you.”

Why would I want to send an email if it has nothing to do with me?

You want to feel at peace when you think about the conversation with your child. There is nothing wrong with “checking it out.” Your ego wants you to believe you have done something wrong and feel guilty. This is not Me.”

Yes, I do feel some guilt and I don’t like not knowing if everything is ok.

This has been an unhealthy pattern that started in childhood when you tried to figure out what was going on in your home. It became your default to blame yourself and to think you must have done something wrong when you felt tension or someone withdrew from you. This is especially true with your family and loved ones. So for your peace of mind, it is good to “check it out.”

With the help of Spirit, I composed an email to “check it out.” I received a beautiful honest, heart-felt email back from my child assuring me that the tension wasn’t my imagination and that it was about something they were experiencing in their personal life. I encourage you to “check things out.”


I can hardly believe that I have been retired for over fifteen years. I thought that when I retired time would slow down somehow and I’d appreciate it more. Well, I think perhaps I was half right. I do appreciate it more, but it certainly hasn’t slowed down. Retirement has given me the time to grow and become more conscious of who I am and who I want to be.  Here are some of the things I’ve discovered:

1. I don’t want to nor do I feel responsible for another person’s well-being or happiness.

 After experiencing two marriages and a number of relationships in my life, I don’t want the pressure and responsibility of providing well-being for another. There was a time in my life when I thought my attitude was selfish because I believed it was my job to make someone happy. I’ve come to learn that it is not being selfish, but it is truly loving myself.  

Pat and I have a beautiful loving relationship and we understand that we are not responsible for making each other happy and providing for each other. We recognize that we are both adults who love one another and will always be there to love and support each other. We treat each other as individuals and expect that we will provide whatever we need as equals. There is no pressure on either of us to provide that for the other. 

2. In the past, I have felt unworthy of the gift of Love’s energy and light.

I have learned that Love is freely given and has nothing to do with being worthy or good enough.  We are magnates for Love. Love is a gift that is always waiting for us to receive it.  I’ve opened my heart to Love and I’ve never been happier in my life.

3. I’m learning what I want and what I don’t want.

In the past, I would mostly do whatever the other person or persons wanted to do.  Now, I value myself more and allow myself to make decisions depending on what I want or don’t want to do. I do this even at the risk of hurting someone else’s feelings and I don’t feel guilty about it.

4. I know what causes stress in my life and for the most part I don’t allow those situations to materialize.

I worked for thirty years in a very stressful industry and I looked forward to retirement. I live one of the most stress-free lives that I can imagine. I believe that is one reason that I am so happy and at peace with myself.

I am most grateful for Pat in my life who has been so loving and helpful by her living example of accepting the light and energy of Love and encouraging me to experience the GOD experience that is LOVE.

All we have to do is open our hearts to love. to the extent that we can do this, we will become who we were meant to be.  What are you waiting for?

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Pat Hastings

Author, Inspirational Speaker, Spiritual Coach, Retreat Leader & Radio Talk Show Host

Simply A Woman of Faith
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