For years I’ve been hearing and reading the phrase that “what other people think of you is none of your business.” My reaction to it was always the same. Something like “WTF?! Of course it is!” As an individual with a warrior spirit, I could never fathom how if someone had negative, warped or harmful feelings or beliefs about me it shouldn’t be something that concerns me. Surely, I would have to instantly wack out my light mirror shield and flash -bam it all right back where it came from?
And then one morning I got it. My marriage had ended over eight months earlier, and the night before I had seen a video about a new trend in England of holding “divorce ceremonies”. Like marriage ceremonies, these involved the couple in question inviting family and friends to a gathering during which the pair would announce in public their parting words. Their thanks for all they had experienced as a couple, and their reasons for needing to move on. Tears were shed, knowing, supportive smiles were spread and the couple then wandered off into a forest together, soon parting ways by walking in different directions. I would never wish to hold such a ceremony myself, but I was deeply moved by the intent behind it. Touched, and a little emotional overall, I sent the link to my ex and wrote him a message that was like what I would have said to him if we were to have had such a ceremony. It was a message of pure, heartfelt love and appreciation, clear intent, and considerate thought. I felt liberated and happy by writing it and sending it.
There was no catch, no hook, no hidden insult or secret agenda. The following morning I woke up and saw that he had read it but not replied. My emotional habit in the past, my trigger-reaction, would have been to feel a little miffed that he had not responded. But this morning, I felt at peace. Still in the same mood as I was the night before when I had sent it, I thought to myself that he may have felt he had nothing to say, or that it had taken him by surprise, or that he needed time to process it. Nonetheless, my mind set in. ‘Maybe you shouldn’t have sent it,’ the survival mechanism said. I opened my deck of Archangel Michael oracle cards and picked one. ‘Forgive Yourself.’ it read, ‘You Have Done Nothing Wrong.’
Only one week earlier I had been told the same by an angelic spiritual teacher friend whose teachings have slowly but surely been changing my outlook in life. “Authenticity and vulnerability are your power,” she had told me, “and there is nothing wrong with expressing them freely.” And right then, an affirmation crystallized in my heart – one that was not a thought, or a string of beautiful words like a diamond necklace to sparkle around my expression chakra but a message that felt completely and utterly true: “I do not need validation from anyone or anything, to know and feel that I am loved, lovable, powerful, desirable, abundant, beautiful, healthy and blessed!” And as I repeated it out loud I felt an entire universe of wealth, health, beauty, miracles and love within me. Yes, that’s where it all is! Inside. Not outside! What others think of me is none of my business, because that’s inside them. What’s inside them has nothing to do with me, because it’s theirs, and what’s inside me is my own. Unless I am open and willing to receive from the other then it does not touch me.
This was a breakthrough for me, one that I had never experienced in any form throughout my life until now. Until now, I have sought validation. What others think, feel, see, hear, smell, dream, fear, and how they project that on me, whether randomly, subconsciously, recklessly or calculatingly I have permitted it to affect me, because it was some form of contact, and my nature is to be open and responsive to contact. Even when I have known or sensed or intuitively foreseen that a form of contact could hurt or endanger me, I have been curious, courageous and sometimes desperate enough to discover more, to live it out in earnest. Why? Because it was a way to offer me a sense of existing, of participating, of being active, alive, recognized, acknowledged, taking a role, co-creating, experiencing. But what I didn’t allow myself to see during some incredibly beautiful as well as some stupidly damaging experiences was that I didn’t need so far to feel rewarded, and validated, when all the time the love and validation and honour that I craved has existed only within myself.
Certainly, being human, it doesn’t mean that having had such an a-ha moment changed my entire, complex wiring instantly. Of course, I still seek external validation. Acknowledgement, compassion, love, support, respect and so much more, and I probably always will. Practising the art of validating myself has only just begun, and will require discipline and practise, commitment and vision, flexibility and innovative thinking, like any other commitment. But it’s a start. Especially having felt the bold and beautiful truth of that affirmation within me in all its very real and palpable and eternal dimensions, knowing that what already exists within me is enough, is an incredible place to start. We all know so many of our own merits, yet we choose to forget them all the time, in our haze of thoughts and going through the motions of life. It takes focus to keep coming back to that point, reminding oneself with love and kindness, patience and faith, breathing, believing and repeating forward steps along a new path.
Happy New Beginnings!