Let's Be Friends (Part 4)

My Dear Friends...

From last week:

Guilt and regret are not the same thing. If you feel into them, you'll know the difference. I will never give up 'regretting' some of the things I've done. To do so would be to give up my humanity. But I have given up my guilt. If nothing else, I am "not guilty by reason of insanity." It was insane of me to think that I could find happiness doing what I was doing the way I was doing it!

With guilt gone, I felt better about myself—I was almost a person I really could have a friendship with. But I still had two more steps to go before I could complete that process...

Part 4: Being friends with your spouse, with your children, with those you dearly love, truly does begin with being friends with yourself. The process for others is the same as the process is for me. It is, as I said, a three-part process...Forgiveness, Acceptance, Celebration.

Once I had found a way to forgive myself (God showed me the way by showing me the way that God forgives me), I then simply needed to move into a place of acceptance of myself; of who I was and how I was.

This does not mean that I made an inner assessment that it was impossible for me to change. "Acceptance" should not be confused with "resignation." Indeed, the ability to accept myself opened me up for the first time to changing myself.

Prior to accepting who and how I am, I resisted change mightily, because I firmly rejected the notion that I even needed to change. Like an alcoholic or a drug addict, I refused to acknowledge that I "had a problem." There was nothing 'wrong' with me, it was everybody else who had the problem.

So when others told me that I was routinely—not occasionally, but routinely—sarcastic, I told myself it was they who had the problem. They were thin-skinned, or too sensitive, or just not able to deal with the normal give-and-take of honest people being authentically themselves.

When others told me I was routinely—not occasionally, but routinely—demanding, often expecting way too much of others, and far too often talking down to people, disrespecting them, I told myself that it was they who had the problem. They were underachievers, not operating at my level, unable to cope with the requirements of Movers and Shakers—in which group I clearly had a charter membership.

When others told me that I was routinely—not occasionally, but routinely—self-centered and self-involved, I told myself it was they who had the problem. They were not equipped to deal with people as talented and gifted as I, and they had to simply understand that I was to be expected to be concerned with and focused on myself to some degree, because I was the one who was going to "make it all happen," I was the person on whom the whole game was riding, I was the star of the show, and so I could be forgiven for giving in to all that pressure by paying attention to my ego. After all, everyone else was looking at me for the answers, the solutions, the outcomes.

When others told me that I was routinely—not occasionally, but routinely—too sensitive, making mountains out of molehills and predictably "going global" with the smallest thing, I told myself it was they who had the problem. They were clearly not tuned into Life at the level I was, they were immune to the insight and awareness by which I was daily assailed, they were among the lucky ones, fortunate enough to be unable to see and feel what I was required by my very nature to see and feel every moment.

When others told me that I was routinely—not occasionally, but routinely—defensive, and that to even slightly criticize me, much less actually oppose me on something, was to invite a war of words and then to be ostracized, I told myself it was they who had the problem. They were obviously unable to move through life with my level of overall brilliance, and not knowing how to deal with a person who almost always had the right answer, knew the right way, and did the right thing.

When others told me that I was....well, you get the picture. This list goes on, I can assure you. The litany of my imperfections is long and varied. Yet I rejected them for over a half century. And so, they kept showing up. For it is as CwG says: What you resist, persists.

It was only when I opened myself to the possibility that it was highly unlikely that 30 different people over 30 different years in 30 different kinds of relationships in 30 different places and situations would come up with the same impressions of me did I see that maybe the problem wasn't "over there," but maybe it was "over here," right in my own backyard.

Then the real work began, because then I had to find a way to continue to love myself in the face of continuing and now incontrovertible evidence that I had some "stuff going on" over here.

I remember once when someone said to me, in the midst of one of my tirades: "You know, this is not the most attractive part of you." I never forgot that. It was said so cleanly, so simply, without a whole lot of make-wrong or negative energy. It was just a clean, simple observation. And I got it.

Then I had to move into a place of Acceptance. I had a long talk with myself—and with God. And God made it clear to me that I was okay—nay, that I was perfect—just the way I was. Yet that did not mean that there was no room for change. If I wanted to change, if I chose to go to the next level, if I desired to recreate myself anew in the next grandest version of the greatest vision ever I held about who I am, I was invited by Life at every moment to do that.

But I was told that I could not change, could never alter, what I could not accept. I can't let go of something I refuse to notice I am holding. So I was given the enormous gift of self-acceptance. I was sarcastic too much of the time. I was demanding too much of the time. I was self-centered and defensive and sensitive and much more. I was difficult to deal with and I could speak with an edge that could cut to the quick and I was impatient with the slowness of others (at everything) and I...and I...and I...

Yup, I was all of these things. And when I finally accepted it, I got out of denial once and for all. But the way out of denial was not by embracing these characteristics as faults. It was by seeing them as my strengths, simply with volume turned up a bit too high now and then.

With the volume at a more comfortable level, my sarcasm was my quick wit, for which people loved me; my demanding nature was my ability to inspire others to outperform, for which people loved me; my self-centeredness was my self-awareness, for which people loved me; my defensiveness was my strength of conviction, for which people loved me; my sensitivity was my openness to all of life at a hundred different levels simultaneously, for which people loved me.

These were my gifts, not my faults, and my only challenge was to rein in their considerable energy, so that I could match it with the energy of the Moment Presenting. Then I would be in closer harmony with what was going on Right Here, Right Now, and people would see me as magnificent, not malevolent.

Wow! What a simple, transformative understanding! Whew. It was over. My long struggle with me was over. On the day I "got" that God accepted me, on that day I could accept me as well. I remember well the statement that opened me to this experience: If you saw you as God sees you, you would be very proud, and you would smile a lot.

NEXT WEEK: Part 5 - Celebration

Love & Hugs,

Neale

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Author Information

Neale Donald Walsch

Neale Donald Walsch is a modern day spiritual messenger whose words continue to touch the world in profound ways. With an early interest in religion and a deeply felt connection to spirituality, Neale spent the majority of his life thriving professionally, yet searching for spiritual meaning before beginning his now famous conversation with God.

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