I recently came to the above conclusion after what felt like lifetimes of fighting all those aspects of society that seemed corrupt, cruel and abusive in any way and trying to save everyone that I felt was calling out for help. Having always been the one to be in reaction to things like parents yelling at their kids in the grocery store or calling out a manager at work for speaking in an abusive and disrespectful way, I took it upon myself to be the ‘warrior of truth.’ It felt like it was my responsibility to save other people from the cruelty of the world and fix all their problems as if they were my responsibility.
This obviously became disheartening when it seemed that no matter how many times I went to human resources or called out the corruption, manipulation, lies and abusive behaviours I had seen and personally experienced in all the jobs I have had, nothing really seemed to change insofar as company policy or from those personally responsible for the abuse. After witnessing time and again nothing being done to address these issues by management or in personal relationships, there was a tendency for me to withdraw from both those work situations and from the people I felt were rejecting me or what I was offering in the way of the truth and what was needed to help bring more love and harmony there.
I feel that many people who are very sensitive can probably relate to many of the situations I have previously mentioned. But what I have found is just how much I was using this divine sensitivity in an unsupportive way. For instance, taking on other people’s problems and the burden of their own issues as if they were my own was coming from a judgement that they were not capable of handling the situation on their own and learning/healing what was being offered to address based on their past history.
When I held them in the knowingness that we are all equal at the level of our souls and have all had various life events and hurts that may have been the underlying cause for their harmful actions, it allowed me to let go of my need to change them based on the pictures and expectations I had created coming into the situation about what a harmonious job/relationship should look like.
This also relates to how much I have not been in so much reaction to the massive level of corruption that occurs on a global scale with corporate greed, politics, industrial-military complexes, domestic abuse, war, slavery, etc. Although we should never accept any of these things as ‘the norm’ or ‘it will always be that way,’ I feel that a certain level of acceptance that it is temporarily that way can be healthy as long as we allow ourselves to feel how much we know this is not our true way of being. This can once again lead to more understanding and maintain a love of people without giving up on them or judging them, which ironically is actually solidifying a notion that they are nothing more than lesser beings and will never change – both of which are not true and counter to what we really want to see in the world!
I also realised that running away from situations and withdrawing when I felt what I was offering was not being accepted will never solve anything and is a disservice as I am then not trusting others to come to their own understanding in their own time and space, and also not offering the reflection of love and truth that I hold naturally within me.
Although I am in the fledgling stage of all these developments, I have recently experienced a flow and harmony at work that was previously unattained, with greater communication, understanding and appreciation all around, and working in a way with my team and managers that feels like true brotherhood, even if there are lies and other manipulations occurring on other levels, which I now express concern about in a way that does not trigger further reactions. I feel it is this willingness to go deeper with our relationships with greater understanding – simply living in a loving and deeply caring way for ourselves and in our work and families – that will then inspire others to make similar life choices: the pressure and weight of the world seems to have lifted from my shoulders because of it.
How many times have you engaged in a mental game of self-flagellation over making a mistake, running the scenario over and over in your head, as if by doing so it will somehow finally result in a more appealing ending? I know I sure have, but the ending never changed, I just ended up feeling like I had contracted into a little ball and sometimes wanted to simply hide from the world, or at least from those who knew about my error! It was as if I had made some kind of perfectionist contract with myself that stated very clearly in black and white – ‘No mistakes will be tolerated!’
Having repeated this pattern of mentally and emotionally beating myself up for making a mistake and seeing how it changed nothing, but only resulted in lower self-worth, guilt and shame, I began to really question the reasoning of this approach. It literally felt like I was torturing myself with this negative self-talk and repetition of the mistake laden scenario. Another potential by-product of this pattern is that we live our lives as if we are walking on egg shells, terrified of making mistakes and timid about engaging in new challenges that we are unfamiliar with that could be offering us growth in our lives.
It was in this moment that I saw clearly how there is no perfection in life and the actions I deemed as mistakes along the way offered me a chance to pause, re-evaluate what the quality of my daily movements were that lead to the mistake and take responsibility for my actions while renouncing what truly had not supported myself or others. I could then simply look at my mistakes as an opportunity to learn from these observations and move on with the understanding that on a deeper level even the word ‘mistakes’ brings with it a sense of negation or contraction of our true self. In a way, mistakes do not really exist, for they are really only experiences in our lives that are a result of our choices. When these choices result in an accident or harm to others in any way, it offers us the chance to be honest about our part in the matter and be willing to accept the consequences, no matter how serious, but without any self-judgement or berating of ourselves, which only hinders our ability to simply learn from the experience with acceptance.
It was with the above knowing that I was now equipped to work and be in a more qualified position to offer guidance to others regarding similar experiences and avoid the same error myself in the future, that eventually turned these situations into ones I no longer needed to fear and loathe. It’s amazing what a change of perspective can do for us! This also brought with it a deeper sense of understanding and appreciation for others when I let go of any belief of perfection in life. More on this topic later.
When we are sold the view of life being about personal financial and material security, and that we basically have ‘one shot’ to ‘get it right’ in education, future employment and even marriage – this notion of not allowing ourselves the space to make mistakes is born, and along with it comes a whole lot of nervous tension, anxiousness, and stress in our bodies. I can still remember the hours I spent berating myself for getting one or two questions wrong on a school test that resulted in me receiving something like a 96% or 98%! How crazy is that? And all this without being pressured at all by my parents to get good grades. It was all self-induced and based on a belief that mistakes were signs that I was not good enough in life. But what if we considered that this life is actually just part of a continuum of lives, each one being an opportunity to deepen our connection back to our soul, and which entails a trial and error learning process along the way, as we begin to understand what truly supports us and what takes us further away from where we are originally from…God. Although this notion may seem more foreign to Western countries, it is quite common in Asian ones.
The pressure we place on ourselves to not make mistakes can be massive and can lead us towards a tendency for perfectionism in a constant quest to prove our worth to our parents, teachers and friends. Our current education system actually reinforces this with its approach that is based on such extensive testing, grading and classifying of various ability levels. When kids grow up feeling that the main attention they get is for the mistakes they make at home or what they got wrong on a test or school assignment it can really exacerbate this phobia of mistakes. No wonder we many times fail to see the blessing of growth and learning that is disguised in our errors, and only by taking responsibility for creating our own emotional issues (in a self- understanding way), without blaming those around us, will we be able to then let go of the intolerance we have for others when they make similar mistakes.
All we have to do is look to Nature to see that nothing on this planet is 100% efficient or perfect in any way. Does a cheetah always catch the gazelle she is chasing? Do fledgling birds fly away from their nests effortlessly on their very first try every time? And do squirrels always land perfectly without fail when they jump from tree to tree? The answer to all these questions is an obvious ‘Of course not!’ Even though we are not animals, maybe they are showing us something about ourselves, in that we are most certainly not perfect and on the contrary, every time we make a mistake, we gain a little bit more information and thus experiential wisdom on how to move in this world that we can then build upon when we see these mistakes as opportunities. A world where mistakes abound is one that indicates to us that these ‘hiccups’ are a fundamental aspect of our human development. They are indeed our teachers, guiding us by providing a constant feedback of what is the true and harmonious way, whether in relationships, work, or family life, even though they should never define us.
Any mention of workplace situations in this blog do not involve my current employer.
I imagine most people have at some point heard someone say that ‘hindsight is 20/20’ after an event that typically left someone feeling a certain level of guilt, shame, remorse or desire that whatever unfolded would have ended with a different result. The phrase denotes a sense that once we experience the outplay of a life event that may have resulted in something we did not necessarily want to happen (like an accident or mistake), it is easy to look back in time, so to speak, and understand all the factors and decisions that led up to that negative experience occurring, hence the 20/20 perfect vision connotation.
But I have noticed a repetitive pattern, and thus a correlation between the times that I have had these ‘hindsight is 20/20’ moments, where I felt awful about something that happened and that I was responsible for, and my initial negative emotional reactions to someone or a previously unforeseen circumstance that life presented to me. It’s as if these reactions that were based on things like doubt, fear of judgment from others, lack of self-worth or low confidence set off a chain reaction (pun intended) of events that culminated in my having those ‘could have, should have, and would have’ moments as an end result.
The dictionary definition that I found for foresight is:
the ability to predict what will happen or be needed in the future – Lexico.com (1).
Now, I am not saying that everyone needs to be Nostradamus here and predict the future (although I do feel we all have had instances of feeling and knowing what was about to happen, as in a friend calling on the phone right after they popped into your mind), but that we definitely can all feel what is needed in a given situation and begin to let go of the emotionally and eventual physically damaging practice of looking back on life’s events or mistakes in a regretful way that ignores the possibility that what unfolded in that instance was exactly what we needed as a reflection of where we were at in our own personal development, and offered a great lesson that we could utilise and pass on to others for the rest of our lives.
I know for myself that every time I went over in my head something yucky that happened in my life – as if I could somehow change the past outcome with sheer willpower and repeated thoughts – it only resulted in a lot of stress, was exhausting, and did not help or change anything. For to truly value all that life presents for us, as being held by a divine love that is guiding us back to a more soulful way, is quite liberating indeed. It’s in these lived experiences where true wisdom is born.