Step 7 – Humbly accept the fact that we are wonderful just as we are,even if we never pick up an article of clothing, or wash a dish;even if nothing changes externally at all.
The mindset that all external criteria must be in line for any individual to be happy with themselves is bogus. Everyone’s standard is different, depending on what their “ism” is. Let’s say that your father was adamant about particular perfectionist methods of doing things. He was always checking your homework, making you do it over and over again, because it was not to his standard. He checked your bed after it was made, and if it were a bit out of line, he pulled the bedding off until it was right, according to his specifications. If this scenario is true for you, then most likely, the standard you hold for external criteria will be quite different from the person whose “ism” was that of proper diction and posture. If your outward appearance was all that mattered to your caregiver and you were always put under scrutiny and judged by certain standards for appearance, your standard of “okay” would be very different than others. Our requirements for “okay” are not external, they are internal. If they were external, then all of us would feel good about ourselves if x, y, and z were fulfilled. There is no perfection in life, learning to accept that and embrace life, on life’s terms, is the beginning to experiencing joy.
In our particular challenge in the organizational category of life, it is easy for us to measure our value of self based on the condition of our home. The feelings of inadequacy and self-loathing are rampant within our ranks. Even for those of us who mask it with outward acceptance, saying things like “This is just how I am,” or, “I work better this way,” or, “I am organized! I know where everything is, I’m just messy.” Even with all kinds of justification, we still feel shame at an unexpected guest’s arrival. Add to that the inability to fulfill our deepest dreams and desires because we just can’t get our acts together, and living life becomes a time bomb for frustration and inner pain.
Your next assignment is to think good thoughts of you. Deliberately, list all your positive attributes. Write them on a 3×5 card and tape them to the mirror that you use most often while grooming. Below are some for you to choose from. You can write in some of your own.
I am helpful, I am giving, I am loving, I am creative, I am positive, I love to laugh, I am funny, I am compassionate, I love to play, I am encouraging, I am faithful, I am kind, I am patient, I am gentle, I love people, I love to live, I am a good friend, I love to learn
Because of the social stigma that slobs hold, being seen as lazy, unmotivated, and often even dirty, it is no wonder that we, many times, feel bad about ourselves. If you can relate to this sentiment, please, meditate and take time to undo this negative association that you have internalized about yourself. Just as it is not appropriate to think negatively about yourself because you can’t play the piano or learn a language easily, it is also not appropriate to feel bad about yourself because you cannot keep an orderly house or life. What is important is that you love yourself, accept yourself, and think good thoughts about you.
Have you ever heard the phrases “Like attracts like,” or, “As a man thinketh so is he”? If you haven’t heard these phrases, Google them. I will expound on these sentiments, as well, as I explore with you the process of becoming organized while learning to love yourself.
First, I wish to begin by saying that I have compassion for anyone who has had less then an exemplary childhood, which, of course, is most of us. Some more devastating than others, but the kinds of childhood I am writing about here are the ones where there were personal verbal comments made by the parent or guardian regarding the child’s looks, personality, habits, etc. I implore you to not compare yourself with anyone else’s experience. This often tends to invalidate your feelings and pain and keep you from addressing your issues. Denial is a serious and dreadful fixation. Secret and hidden thoughts have power, but when they are brought out into the open, they lose authority and eventually shrivel up and die (or just disappear). There is a root from which all dysfunction stems. There is always a root to a problem. Believing the lies that someone told you while growing up is the root to many of our issues. You may be thinking, “How dare I feel bad about myself. Look at Gibby’s life, what she went through. I had nothing to live through like she did!” That may be true, but acknowledging Gibby’s poor circumstances will not help you with yours, nor does it make yours nonexistent. If you say negative things or think unkind thoughts about yourself, if you compare yourself to others and see yourself less than they are, it is necessary to address the root of why you do these things.
I give you permission to be selfish, which is a word that has been given a raw deal in my opinion. We must be selfish, i.e., thinking of oneself, and often. When you are on an airplane, you are told to first put the oxygen mask on yourself before helping a child with his. The reason for this is, if you lose consciousness you will not be able to help your child at all. By trying to be selfless and putting others first, you actually can harm them. How can we take care of anyone else if we are not properly taken care of ourselves? When Mother Theresa was ministering to the poorest of the poor in Calcutta, she, at first, decided to eat and live as those she was helping, in order to remain humble and fair. This lifestyle was soon abandoned, because Mother Theresa and her volunteers lacked the strength to help those they were called to help. The selfless thought that inspired their living as those who needed ministering turned out to be misguided. Although well-intentioned, absolute selflessness does not work. We must first think of ourselves.
Meaning well is never a prerequisite to success, just as good intentions are nothing without action. Not being aware of natural laws does not exempt you from experiencing their consequences. A child who is unaware of the Law of Gravity, who thoughtlessly walks off the stairs or tumbles off a couch, falls just the same. They soon learn what the Law of Gravity is and how to respect it. You may not be aware of the Law of Attraction, but that does not mean that you do not experience it daily. You may not be aware that what you think about most, you will bring about, but that does not mean that it does not happen. You may not believe that what you expect out of yourself will manifest in reality no matter how bad you want the opposite, but that does not negate the truth: we get what we expect.
Albert Einstein said, “The most important question you’ll ever ask is whether the Universe is a friendly place. The answer you give will be your reality.” Also, it has been said by Charles Capp author of The Tongue a Creative Force, “Those that say they can, and those that say they can’t, are both right.” Right now, I ask you to contradict any negative picture you have of yourself. Bring into thought all the teachings in previous chapters. You are not disorganized, just as you are not unmusical; you simply have not had instruction. Think order; wake up thinking that you can be whatever you choose to be. Stop listening to those old tapes and get yourself some new ones!
Something happens in our brains that can be monitored. As we learn anything, whether it is true or false, pathways begin to form. These pathways become information that is readily available to us in the form of knowledge. It is how we can be completely convinced that the Eiffel Tower is in France, even though we have never been there to see it. It is how we are certain of our names and no one could convince us otherwise. But, did you know, that if a pathway is neglected it reverts back to its original form, much like a deer path in the woods. If it is not used, eventually the plant life takes over and it will no longer be recognizable as a path, nor could it be used as one. We can reprogram ourselves in the same way. Are there pathways in your mind that you would prefer to be gone? Would you like to form different, more productive and self-serving ones? Well, then, do it! We are all the product of our thoughts. Now that you are a grown-up, you can be your own parent, be your own boss, and think what you want to think. Create new truths and ignore old negative thoughts until they are but a distant memory that is difficult to recall. You can do it, if you choose. Life is good.
Children are the true victims in this world. They have no choice. They are a captive audience and are subject to their parent or guardian’s desires. However, as adults, we must come to terms that childhood is over and we are not victims any longer. Get help with issues that are plaguing your present. Address thought patterns and behaviors that are counterproductive to happiness. This can be done through many different venues. Private therapy, competent counseling in your brand of faith, prayer, meditation, reading books directed toward helping with what ails you, and then taking the action necessary to change.
In whichever way our self-image has been damaged, it is not relevant at this point. What is relevant and critical is its repair. This has to be done deliberately and you are the one who needs to do the restoration work. Here, again, there is a ‘no excuse’ rule that applies. If you want to have a better self-image, you must make it happen. Once again, I tell you to be your own parent. There is nothing you can do about what has already been done, but you have complete power over what will be done, what is, what pathways you keep clear, and which ones you neglect. I realize it is difficult to change tapes that have been playing in your mind for years, but it is not impossible. In fact, it is necessary, if you wish to see change and be who you wish to be.
Years ago, when life was not so great for me, I came across Wayne Dyer on PBS. I loved what he had to say and so I picked up his book. In the introduction, I read something that changed my life. What I learned was, if I continue to blame someone for why things are as they are (however justifiable they were) I would not be able to change a thing about how I was living. I realized that by focusing on what someone had done or was doing, I was saying, “There is nothing I can do! My hands are tied!” Well, that freaked me out. If I continued blaming someone for the state of my life, nothing would ever change for me. I had to take responsibility, which just means, the ability to respond. It does not mean that what has happened is because of something you have done, or that whatever has happened was all right. It means, simply, respond to whatever happens or has happened, with a deliberate ability.
Something else that made a great difference to me was learning the meaning of the word forgive. It does not mean that what was done was okay, it means to let go of, or to untie. Picture yourself, dragging around behind you, things that were done to you or said about you. Spiritually, this is exhausting, and it manifests itself physically. Even when sitting still, by not forgiving, our past hurts are right there beside us. This does not serve us, it can only hurt and keep us from being who we are meant to be and from living the life we long for. Let go of past injustices and give yourself the ability to move on in a direction of your choice. Make a conscious decision to forgive. Say this: “I know that what was done to me and the things that were said to me were not right, even very wrong, but still, I can make a conscious decision to take my life back and forgive (let go of) what was done. That person or those people cannot pay the price to restore what was taken from me. I will stop expecting payment. I will let go of those actions against me and leave them on the curb. If a thought comes up that makes me feel bad, I will meditate, seek help, talk to someone, read something inspirational, but I will not continue down the road of self-pity. I acknowledge the fact that I was hurt, I validate my feelings by the realization that those things did happen to me, but I refuse to lose another minute of my life, going back to a time that cannot serve me. I am thankful that I am free. Help me to continue on to a new road, one that I choose to take and not one that was chosen for me.” Then rejoice, be glad, get happy, and stay that way. You are the master of your future, the past is gone, and there is nothing you can do about it anymore. Whether self-afflicted or unjustly placed upon you, the past is over.
There are many great examples of people who endured great hardships and were able to move on and do great things. These same people live full and happy lives; Oprah Winfrey, Colin Powell, Dan Caro, and Joyce Mayer, to name a few. I recommend looking into these people’s lives. There are lessons, inspiration, and encouragement in learning about them, as well as some wonderful help on how to move on after you have been hurt.
Should you decide not to go the route of forgiveness, you still can become organized by following this program. The point to all of this is the importance of loving yourself and implementing change. Whatever you believe you are, for whatever reason, you will act accordingly. I propose that you believe that you have all the potential in the world to be organized. What do you have to lose?