Sidling up to happiness

Today, the affirmation from Abraham-Hicks may take a couple of readings.  It describes the Law of Attraction in our lives with regard to other people.  Here it is:

Tell everyone you know: “My happiness depends on me, so you’re off the hook.” And then demonstrate it. Be happy, no matter what they’re doing. Practice feeling good, no matter what. And before you know it, you will not give anyone else responsibility for the way you feel — and then, you’ll love them all. Because the only reason you don’t love them, is because you’re using them as your excuse to not feel good.

 —Abraham

 Excerpted from the workshop in Asheville, NC on April 30, 2005

From 1983 to 1990, I was married to H.  We lived in Colorado for most of our time together, and I cannot think of a reason in the world why I was unhappy, except that I created that feeling for myself.  I didn’t know this at the time, though; I blamed H., turning a small disagreement into a reason to bolt, without facing up to my responsibility.

I wish now that I understood then what this affirmation says.  I didn’t come to this realization until long after I left that marriage, and the next one, as well.  In fact, I was so afraid that someone would learn how frightened and insecure I was — and I thought I hid it so well behind my protestations that every failure was someone else’s fault.  In fact, I lived with that particular fear for most of my adult life, while so much of the time I was far too immature to realize how pathetic I became.

I don’t remember the first time I heard the idea expressed in the affirmation, but I bet I scoffed, and said that anyone who believes that no one influences how they feel, is nuts.  I couldn’t accept the responsibility for the way I felt, because I felt like crap most of the time, and what kind of failure would that make me?  I needed years of thinking and wondering about my feelings, before I finally accepted that I am in charge of them all.  With many thanks to Don Miguel Ruiz and the Four Agreements, I suddenly understood that No one can hurt me unless I let them.  And no one can love me unless I let them, either.  

What followed this realization was a long period of self-examination, and long nights sidling up to my need to forgive myself.  I knew I must take responsibility for the things I’d done, before I could take responsibility for my feelings now.  Once I did, though, I was able to let others off the hook, as Abraham says.  Then came the hard part — sort of.

I knew I must live what I was saying and feeling — claiming responsibility for my life brought no change unless I meant it.  This was when I came to understand the Law of Attraction — I decided to exist in a more contented state, and for a while, I was hyper-aware of any time I stepped out of that life.  But, as time went on, I found it easier and easier to stay in that place, owning the responsibility for my feelings.  That led me to one of the most hopeful expressions of living joy — I admitted that some of the people I’d blamed for problems were in fact not at all who I’d built them up to be — not cruel or condescending or nurturing malice toward me, (for the most part.)  I became friends with people I never thought I could forgive for what I felt they had done to me.  In fact, they hadn’t done anything to me that I didn’t let in, somehow.

Deeper understanding, that everyone is trying to feel good, opened relationships I never thought could exist.  I am so happy when I spend time with my mother — making up for all those lost years, when I blamed her for everything.  That one relationship made all the self-examination worth my time, but that isn’t the only one.  I am a different woman, now, and I am content to be responsible for myself.  All in all, a good way to live the second half of my life.

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