A few recent incidents in my life have reminded me once again of the power of forgiveness. When someone behaves in a manner that feels hurtful, it's easy to get stuck in looping thoughts of unhappiness, pain, and anger. Unfortunately, when we are mired in these thoughts, we create negative energy that can attract even more negativity into our lives if we allow it to do so. Holding on to hurt and anger doesn't hurt the person at whom we are angry, but it sure hurts us.
When you feel wronged, it can be so darn hard to forgive. I get it. With my recent situations, I wanted the people with whom I was upset to acknowledge my pain, understand they'd done something deeply hurtful (at least in my opinion at the moment), and let me know they recognized the impact of their actions. That was my ego talking. As I've spent the past few days examining the situation as pain or anger has arisen anew, these are the conclusions I've reached:
This morning I woke up with the residual of both of those incidents tugging at me, and for a minute I felt myself slipping back into those moments of pain. Then I realized as I wallowed (just a bit) in the pain, I was attracting more negative thoughts about other things, and I know I can never create joy from a negative space. Since joy, freedom, love, and compassion are my current primary focuses and allowing these thoughts pulled me out of that space, I took a few moments before I got out of bed to change what I was thinking and release the negativity. That allowed me to experience joy where I could meditate on things that moved me into a loving heart space that allows me to sustain my primary focus. It is an act of self-love because focus and intent shape experience, and I wish to have positive experiences in my life.
In every situation that arises in your life, you assign its significance. When an event initially occurs, you react authentically from whatever emotion you have in the moment. I'm not suggesting you should not allow that initial authentic reaction because when an event occurs, you feel how you feel. However, after that moment has passed and the event is in your rearview mirror, you decide whether you carry that negative emotion with you or if you let it go. It is always your choice to carry it; and just as that is your choice, so it can be your choice to let it go. Holding on to hurt, anger, and other negative emotions never puts you in a positive space. It never attracts joyful things, and it often blocks you from achieving your deepest desires because you are stuck in pain or anger instead of creating from a space of joy and empowerment. Choosing to forgive is always about loving yourself enough to move back into a space of positive vibration from which you can attract more positivity to bring about the things you truly desire. Choosing to forgive is an act of self-love.
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Every morning when I wake up, I try to lie in bed for a moment and be grateful. I start with noticing my coziness and warmth and then touch on anything in my immediate environment for which I am thankful: I have a roof over my head and enough food to eat, I live in an area of the world that is safe, I live in a part of the country that has incredible beauty. Next, I move on to broader things: my friends, family, and loved ones; the fact I get to write for a living; the fact I have the opportunity to meet and interact with people from all paths of life. I do this every morning for about 10 minutes, finding things small and large for which I am thankful before I rise and start my day. It focuses and centers me, and I begin my day in a state of joy.
Joy and gratitude are intertwined, and finding the things for which you are thankful is the fastest way I know of to move into joy. And from this state, it is easier to create those things you most desire because your current attitude attracts like energy. So if you focus on things for which you are grateful, you attract more things to be thankful for.
Nobody ever got happier from grousing about the things in life they didn't like, and it's pretty difficult to feel joy if all you're thinking about is how bad things are. Fortunately, everyone has some aspects of their life for which they can be thankful. I do realize some days you have to search a little harder, but those things are always there. And when you focus on the good parts (no matter how small), your attention shifts away from the elements in your life that are currently making you unhappy. Why is that important? Because where you focus your attention attracts similar energies, so if you are focusing on something negative, you attract more negativity. If you are focusing on something positive, you attract more of the same.
Joy is a choice and gratitude is one of its triggers. It's up to you to choose joy when you aren't feeling it naturally. The more you practice this, the more frequently you will be joyful and from that state, your life will always change for the better.
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Some days and some moments are more difficult than others, but unconditional love is always is a choice. Here's the good news. If you're not choosing it right this moment, you have another moment and another so as soon as you recognize you're not choosing unconditional love, you can make the choice anew.
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Have you ever truly paid attention to the stories you tell yourself and your world about your life? How you think about things and how you communicate them with others has a profound effect on your experience of reality.
For example, suppose you have been having some trouble sleeping. You spend a lot of time worrying whether you will sleep well that night, and you tell people, "I don't know why, but I just don't sleep well." As try to go to sleep, you lie there and worry about whether you will be able to. Then, if something wakes you in the middle of the night, your first thought is, "Now I'll never get back to sleep."
Your thoughts are creating your sleep situation. The more attention and belief you give to the thought, "I don't sleep well," the more it becomes your experience.
What if you changed your story? What if, instead, every time you caught yourself thinking about your poor sleep, you changed your thought to, "I sleep peacefully and wake up refreshed?" What if, instead of talking to others about how poorly you sleep, you found other positive things to talk about? What if, as you were drifting off to sleep, you affirmed, "I sleep peacefully and awake rested and refreshed," and then paid attention to all of the positive things in that moment: you are warm, you are comfortable, your pillow supports you well, etc. Then, if something did wake you in the middle of the night, what if you restated your affirmation and again paid attention to the positives of the moment? Chances are, you would sleep better.
I speak from experience. This is what I did when I was struggling with regular insomnia. Nothing changed except the story I told myself about sleep, but the effects were profound.
Pay attention to the story you tell. With every story, you can tell it from a negative standpoint discussing what you don't want, or you can tell about it from a positive standpoint about the things that are good. Changing your point of view from positive to negative and focusing on what you want instead of what you don't want can make a world of difference.
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When you align with your soul's highest purpose, you feel joy. It is a clear signal from your Divine self this is the direction you should take.
You can use your emotions as a guide to any decision you make in your life, from the most mundane to the most profound. If an option makes you feel badly, then it probably isn't the choice that serves your highest and greatest good. If, however, you feel joy when considering that option, then spread your arms wide and welcome it.
You embodied to live a life of joyful purpose. When you align with purpose, joy is always the end result. It really is that simple.
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No matter what is happening in your external world, your inner world can be one of peace, contentment, love, and joy. It's all about where you focus.
In every moment, something beautiful is happening. There is beauty everywhere: in nature, in art, in acts of love and compassion, in moments of joy, in kindness between strangers. It's in a wiggly puppy and a newborn baby. It's in the sunlight filtering between the trees or a bank of fog sitting in a valley. Beauty is all around you and if you focus the lens of your inner thoughts on finding it, your experience will become more beautiful. The more you focus on beauty, the more you notice it. And the more you notice it, the more beautiful your life becomes.
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