The only accurate way to understand ourselves is by what God is and by what She does for us, not by what we are and what we do for Her. (adapted from The Message Bible)
I used to make grand pronouncements based on my feelings and these things were almost always "bad."
"A rainy day is bad. Anger is bad. Feeling anything intensely is bad!"
But slowly I started to change my perception-"not bad, but hard." That thought made me feel a little bit better. But then I changed my perception some more:
"Life is not hard, but sometimes it feels hard."
AHA! Now I'm really getting somewhere!
"I am not my feelings and feelings are not facts!"
Life is not any one thing: Life is not bad. Life is not good. Life is not hard. Life is not easy. Life is not any one thing at all!
Life is a dialectic-it is composed of many experiences, feelings, and perspectives, all at once. Many things can be true at the same time.
Sometimes now I think to myself, "a rainy day gives a spooky atmosphere to watch a scary movie," and "anger can tell me where I am emotionally hurt." I now know that emotions give us information and that is useful. When I resist labeling experiences as "good" and "bad," then I free myself from the prison of my perception-I am open to a broader story than that which is simply good and bad. Suddenly, life is bigger than it was before and I feel like I can breathe again. Emotions can sometimes feel overwhelming, but even more so when I tell myself that they are.
"Catch it, check it, change it," sounds so trite but the saying usually works for me when I can remember it and it is a concept that I am working on getting better with my therapist. Being non-judgmental is a gift I can give myself when I am intentional. I am also working on not setting arbitrary rules for myself. Why do I think so many things are inappropriate or wrong for me to do? Who says? Does God care whether I finish a job in an hour or two or if I attend all the events? I don't think so. Humans are not machines or products to be sold, although our society tries to tell us that we are.
Below is a poem I wrote a few years ago that I presented at a R2ISE Theatre event a few weeks ago that I think applies. No one person gets to define my worth-not even myself! My higher power defines my worth and She says that I was made originally "very good." Catch it, check it, and change anything that says we are not.
Left in the back of a police car to drown
We are not so easily discarded.
We are not your dollar bills or trash.
We are not your labels or diagnosis to be studied and examined.
We are not your cases to be managed or problems to be fixed.
From this day forward, we refuse to hate ourselves.
We are not consumers, clients, individuals, or patients-
We are people with inherent worth simply because we are alive.
Co-creators with our Creator creating the life that is best for us,
We are beings made up of the same stuff as the stars.
Sacred, heavenly bodies-
We are an irreplaceable part of the Universe.
Close your eyes.
Imagine a world with nothing to prove.
Even now, we are creating it.
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