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“You only deal with yourself; there is no one else.”
This is one of the first things my spiritual mentor and coach, Shri Krishna Kalesh, taught me. I knew it was true, but years ago I simply couldn’t see it. Holding steady in this belief, even when we cannot yet see how it applies, creates a pathway to healing and empowerment.
When you accept the idea that you only deal with yourself, you have no choice but to take ownership of your emotions, ideas, and actions. You remove blame, shame, control, judgment, criticism, and other processes related to others. You are left alone and, well, just not so busy anymore making stuff up in your mind—now it is only you with you, your emotions, and your mind.
It is not easy to see this truth for a long time. You will need to choose to just trust it. It is difficult to make sense of the idea that others are an illusion. How are you only dealing with yourself when your life always seems to be populated by others—whether through their presence or difficult absence?
But if you put this notion to the test, you come to learn a lot about yourself. You finally get to see yourself. If you stand in front of a mirror but turn your head to look at all that is going on around you, you simply won’t see yourself in the mirror anymore.
When we are willing to look at ourselves, we can finally shift.
When someone triggers powerful emotions and old traumas, it is difficult to choose to turn our attention to our healing and transformation. Yet this is the time. Because no matter what someone else says or does, chances are we can find a better inner response.
Here are five reasons why we get stuck instead of choosing to shift when we are triggered:
1. It is not easy to come to terms with the idea that something we have felt or done our entire lives might be flawed. It is also almost incomprehensible that somehow we have control over something painful within ourselves and that in some way we continue to choose it. It can feel like the whole world goes topsy-turvy. We are used to believing in the idea that others or external circumstances are to be blamed for how we feel and what we experience. After all, we grew up in a world that loves to place blame. We have often been on the receiving end of it in some way—directly or indirectly.
2. We haven’t learned to separate the quality of our inner response from the quality of other people’s actions. Just because someone did something wrong does not mean that we need to have a specific reaction. They might be responsible for certain actions, but we are responsible for our inner well-being. Other times, they may have done nothing wrong, yet our buttons got pushed.
3. We confuse emotion and action. Allowing ourselves to choose more peaceful inner states could feel threatening because they imply a “weak” position that could hurt us. It is possible to be peaceful and take firm action. Being emotionally well-regulated does not mean we don’t take needed action. We might just need to learn how to do it. And we will be far more effective when we do it.
4. We have come to believe our emotions and mental patterns are bigger than us—some mysterious forces of nature. We created a mythology around our psychology because we haven’t learned enough how to work with our emotions and minds. We are just not in the habit of doing this inner work enough.
5. It is satisfying to engage with the same old habits. Maybe we enjoy making up scenarios in our minds that turn us into victims or saying angry things in imaginary scenes. Maybe we even enjoy our dramatic engagements with others. Our brains create addictive pathways over the years.
By holding steady to the idea that we are only dealing with ourselves, we can shift the focus to our healing. In this way, we use our challenges as a way to grow and transform.
One way to invite change is to question the current reality. A sincere question is an inquiry and a prayer for truth.
Here are some questions that can help invite transformation:
>> What if I didn’t have to feel or think this way?
>> What if there is another way in which I could respond? What could that be? What would I like it to be?
>> What is it that makes me hurt so much?
>> What can I heal now?
>> What is it that I don’t see?
When we are willing to question and find the answers, we can open the door to new ways of being. When we ask and seek sincerely, answers that are correct for us begin to emerge.
Here are some affirmations to remind you that you are worthy of healing:
>> I deserve to feel good.
>> I deserve to have a better experience of life.
>> I deserve to find inner peace and healing.
>> My healing matters more than my thoughts.
Shifting our inner reality, we might be surprised at the shifts that occur in our external reality. Not only because we have more clarity and act differently but also because through this alchemy we have the power to dissolve difficult situations, especially when it comes to relationships.
It can take a long time to fully own our reality and actually see how we are creating our experiences. All we can do is our best and seek each time to understand a bit more.
Healing is complex, with many layers, twists, and turns for each one of us. But I hope this serves you on your journey.
Keep the faith in your ability to change; it is within your power.