I felt angry, judged and shamed when I received the email from my friend

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I gave my power away for many years and didn’t know I was doing it. I had an insatiable need to be liked, loved and approved by others. I didn’t realize I was looking outside of myself for love, rather than going within to find it. Do I still give my power away sometimes? Yes, I do, but I recognize it almost immediately and then go within and give myself love and appreciation that I deserve.

Learning to trust myself and my feelings is an important aspect of loving myself. By looking to others for love and approval, I allowed myself to be robbed of inner peace and joy. I heard this quote many years ago and have often said it to myself. “What others think of me is none of my business.”
It’s easy to say it and even really think I believe it, but when the sh*t hits the fan and I feel judged by another (real or imagined,) the real test comes. I had an opportunity last week to practice “What others think of me is none of my business” and it wasn’t easy!

I received an email from a friend with her thoughts about a blog that Larry and I had written. Really, it was about what I had written. Even though she said right off the bat that this was her opinion and to only take what rang true for me, I was still in shock and disappointed about what she wrote. I felt like I was being judged, shamed and that I was wrong for some of my beliefs and actions. Before I sat down to write my feelings about the email, I prayed and asked God for me to see the truth. I wrote several pages in my journal and allowed myself to feel all of my feelings. I then called a friend that I trusted because I wanted to make sure I wasn’t overreacting or being too sensitive.

I shared it with Larry and although he was compassionate and understanding, he had a slightly different perspective on it and was trying to be helpful. At that point, I wasn’t ready or willing to hear what he had to say. In fact, I said, “Honey, I am not there yet, and I need to be right where I am in my anger.” I clearly wasn’t ready to let it go and do a “spiritual bypass. “ I knew I was in trouble and prayed again and asked for a miracle- a change in my thinking.

That night, while watching a movie together, I heard the words in my head, “It’s done.” I knew immediately what it meant because all of the resistance, anger, disappointment and resentment were gone in an instant. I felt completely free. I was truly amazed because I didn’t have to do anything or fix myself. I had simply prayed and asked for a miracle. And I got it.

I always respond to people who write to me, but I hadn’t responded to my friend yet because I wanted to come from a place of love and not anger. I needed to give myself time to process all of my feelings and to find the gift and opportunity in it. The next morning, after I heard “It’s done” it was easy to send my friend a loving email. I thanked her for her thoughts and shared with her the gifts that I had received from her email. She responded and said, “We both received gifts because I had some new insights through all of this myself.” I realized that she was not wrong and I was not right and I was not wrong and she was not right. What a freedom to know that we may have different views and opinions and that is o.k. We can agree to disagree and still love one another.

While I was in prayer and meditation that morning, I heard Spirit say that this was an invitation to believe in myself more deeply and to trust my feelings. That afternoon I went to my favorite consignment shop and what do I find but a box that said, “DARE TO BELIEVE IN YOURSELF.” Of course I bought it and put it on my kitchen shelf to remind me always to believe in myself.

A week later, I invited my friend over to discuss the gifts we had both received from one another. I was completely honest with her as she was with me. She shared that she was triggered by what I said and was able to see a pattern in herself that she no longer wanted. I am so grateful for God’s grace and our willingness to communicate from our hearts. It was truly a “grown up” conversation because we left our egos at the door.

What I have learned through this experience is: prayer is powerful and prayer changes me. My heart knows what is best for me and to follow my heart takes courage and strength. I love myself when I believe in myself and do and say what is right for me. I no longer have to fix anything or anyone, prove myself or take things personally. I just have to be me to make a difference in the world. I trust that everything that shows up in my life is a gift and opportunity to grow spiritually.

How do you give your power away? Here is a list of behaviors, attitudes and feelings that may help you identify where you might be giving your power away. I invite you to pick 2 or 3 behaviors and work on them this week.

People Pleasing – need to be liked and approved of by others. Low Self Esteem.
Staying busy with activity and work to avoid feelings and going inside.
Addictions: alcohol, drugs, gambling, sex, food, work, religiosity, shopping, cleaning, internet, relationships, codependency.
Looking outside for answers and validation. Need others to tell you what to do and that you are o.k.
Focusing on fixing others, making others happy and then feeling resentful when your needs are not met. Putting others first at the expense of yourself.
Comparing yourself to others – feeling less than or better than.
Perfectionism and unrealistic expectations of yourself and others.
Beating up on yourself with negative self-talk.
Difficulty saying no without feeling guilty. Difficulty setting boundaries and saying no.
Don’t know what you want or feel – know what others want and feel.
Needing to control others and situations. Overreact to situations you have no control over.
Neglecting your own needs – physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
Difficulty forming and staying in relationships.
Feelings of sadness, depression, loneliness, anger.
Passive aggressive, passive or aggressive communication and behaviors.
Rigidity in behaviors and attitudes and black and white thinking.
Difficulty having fun, taking self and life too serious.
Feeling undeserving and unworthy
Difficulty asking for what you need and receiving it.
Feelings of inadequacy, despite many achievements.
Pretending everything is ok, putting on a happy face no matter what.
Staying in abusive relationships and work situations.
Difficulty confronting others and speaking up.
Judging yourself without mercy and beat up on yourself for making mistakes.
Living your life from the “shoulds.”
Victim, poor me attitude

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Pat Hastings

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

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