“Day after day we throw ourselves into the path of what we think we deserve”.-Joyce Sequichie Hifler
I read this little gem yesterday in “A Cherokee Feast of Days” by Joyce Sequichie Hifler. It’s a book of daily meditations that I found in a used book store several years ago. The daily readings are always thought-provoking, but this one really hit home yesterday, even though I have read it every June 30th for a number of years.
The point is, that many of us believe our inner (or outer) critics that daily tell us we are unworthy, that we will always be victims of bad relationships, sickness, poverty, etc. and that there is no way out. Much of this ‘chatter’ is not conscious most of the time. But we catch ourselves sometimes thinking we don’t deserve a good life, or we will never be successful. In my case, my mother constantly barraged me with how stupid I was, and I believed her for a long time. It was only later in life that I understood I was not like her, and I was not stupid. It took me a long time to understand that.
This negative mindset is hard to overcome, especially when it is reinforced by parents, spouses, or society in general. We tend to internalize society’s view of us. But we can change our patterns of negative thinking. If we think we are not worthy, we will seek out people and experiences to reinforce that. It’s what my friend Bonnie calls Monkey Mind (http://www.savoringyoursixties.com/blog/) and it can be destructive to our own peace. If we think we deserve the good things in life, that is what we will find.
I know it took me a long time to change my thinking, and there are still times I catch myself thinking I will never get what I want. Half the battle is knowing what we want; if we don’t know what we want, we can’t take steps to achieve it. It’s too easy to live in the past and moan all the what-ifs. Or to focus too much on the future with dread because we are afraid of what might happen. Worry is exhausting and saps our energy so we can’t focus on where we are now. No matter what is going on in my life, I can find good in myself and in my situation. I tell myself I deserve good things; I tell myself I am a good person; and I focus on what I love and on positive ideas, people, situations. I have survived bone-crushing poverty; divorce; grad school; homelessness; unemployment. None of these things broke me; I’m still here. I have a good life, and that is the best revenge.