Peace on Earth and Goodwill Toward Men
Traditionally, December is the time of year where we hear the phrase, “Peace on Earth, and Goodwill Toward Men (and Women),” and I offer the idea to you that having Peace on Earth is a lot closer to home than you might initially think. It reminds me of the wing mirrors on a car where it says, (or at least in the United States anyway) “Objects in the mirror are closer than they appear.” In this case, peace on earth might be as close as looking in the mirror.
What if peace on earth started with being at peace with you, with yourself? What makes me be at peace with something? What makes something right or wrong or good or bad? What if it's simply my own judgment of the situation? You declare whether something is right or wrong or good or bad.
How do you know whether something is good or bad or right or wrong? What evidence do you have? How do you know whether something isn't exactly as it should be so that lessons could be learned?
I'm not going to be tackling all the world's challenges in this newsletter, but what I do offer is that the first step at being at peace with yourself is to begin looking at YOU neutrally. We're not normally accustomed to doing this. We're accustomed to comparing ourselves with all the magazines we see. We're accustomed to all the “shoulds.” You've heard the expression – don't should on yourself!
It does seem sometimes that we're rewarded for fitting in and for our beauty. I only have to go so far as the grocery checkout line to see how much we as a society, seem to be obsessed with our looks.
But more importantly, how do we look on the inside - to ourselves? One of the challenges working with weight and body image is that it has a lot of to do with thinking we ought to be another way than we are. That resistance can show up as weight or an unfavorable body image. This phenomenon of judging ourselves is so powerful that it starts eating disorders.
There is an expression: outer experience is a reflection of inner reality. What if the objects in the mirror are closer than they appear?
Let's promote peace on earth today, right now, in this very moment, beginning with us. I challenge you to find some thing that you feel guilty about. Do you feel guilty about the desert you ate recently or over-indulging during the holidays? Do you feel guilty for not spending more time at home with your family? Do you feel guilty for spending too much money? Find something that you feel guilty for presently or in the past, as big or small as you feel up to the challenge for.
What does having that guilt do for you??? There's got to be a payoff, otherwise you wouldn't have it around. We wouldn't participate in the expression of it if it didn't somehow do something for us.
Next, think of “Guilt” as an aspect of yourself that lives inside you. What if this aspect of ourselves had a positive intention (which it does)? What does experiencing guilt get you out of? What's the payoff of having it around? It has a positive intention. All aspects inside of us – every single part of us, have a positive intention for us. Think about how ‘guilt' supports who you are and where you want to get to. Another way you could look at Guilt is asking yourself what is it that you do not have to take a look at because Guilt is present?
I'll give you a real life example. For instance, the other day I went to pull down a sleeping bag in my husband's office closet, and behind the sleeping bag, I saw some Lord of the Ring's merchandise (I love Lord of the Rings) wrapped in cellophane. I instantly thought that it might be a Christmas present that he had hidden. What do I do now? I didn't mean to find it! I wasn't fully sure what it was but I sure didn't explore it any further. I realized that felt guilty for finding the boxes. I felt sad and disappointed in myself and as if I had done something wrong. In fact, I instantly remembered the time when I found out that my Mom and Dad were in fact Santa Claus when the present that I found in one of my Mom's drawers was from “Santa.” I remember being quite sad.
Unfortunately, ‘guilt' can sometimes be so entrenched in our own lives that it can be challenging to see the forest despite the trees in front of us. Guilt can be very consuming (notice the food reference).
If you are up for it, think of a couple of things that it does for you right now. Take a minute to find something in your own life.
Right, did you come up with something that you either currently feel guilty about right now, or something that you have felt guilty for in the past?
Now we're going to work with what having ‘Guilt' around does for you, i.e., do you get a value add out of keeping it around? Let's work with my example above: I felt guilty for seeing what I thought might be presents for the holidays. I was getting some work done and I saw them. Simple enough?
So next, I need to identify what the judgments are associated with that feeling of guilt. I felt guilty because a good wife wouldn't find presents since they were really well hidden anyway. Another judgment I had about myself was that somehow I was purposefully looking for some gifts. That isn't actually true, but judgments don't necessarily work with logic a lot of the time. It also brought up judgments that I had of myself when I was a child. I judged myself as a bad daughter for actually going and looking for presents. Judgments don't discriminate. They don't care about innocence and the excitement of the holidays.
So what does the guilt do for me? It allows me to keep the image of what a good wife and a good daughter might be, what I have judged to be a good wife or a good daughter. If I keep that guilty feeling around, then I don't have to violate the image I have, the judgment I have of what a good wife or daughter “should” be.
I'd like to have you take a moment and determine what image you have violated by keeping your guilt around.
For me, a good wife wouldn't have found any presents. A good daughter wouldn't have gone sneaking around in her parents bedroom drawers to find presents. So by keeping the guilty feeling around, I don't have to violate the images I've created in my mind of what a good wife and daughter are like. It's like matter and anti-matter. They can't co-exist. Make sense?
Let's get back to what I began with – “Peace on Earth, and Goodwill Toward Men.” Goodwill toward Men is about choice. Let's talk closely about Peace on Earth. What does that mean to you in this time of terrorism, poverty, and large natural disasters? What would “Peace on Earth” look like to you personally?
Would you be willing to let yourself off the hook? All the resistance you put into not liking your weight or your body the way it is and judging or feeling guilty about it is what keeps you from having the body you desire! Read that one again. It's a paradox. Accept who you are and what you are (a divine being having a human experience) and you create inner peace for yourself. It's at this point when you can move into alignment in your intentions. In this place you are letting go of struggle and moving to a place of flow. Judgments toward yourself or others are not who you are. You are a divine being having a human experience.
Having Peace on Earth starts with you. What if you had control over a small portion of peace that collectively could begin to start the peace process on Earth? What if Peace on Earth started with you letting go of something that doesn't serve you any longer? What if that something was your guilt, or something you don't like about yourself or your body? Releasing the guilt you are feeling might be a longer process than the time I have allowed for today, and I say ‘might' intentionally. You have the opportunity right now to simply let it go. Let it go... right...now!
The key is forgiveness.
“I forgive myself for judging myself as…”
Say it out loud! Who cares if it seems funny! Try something new! I'll start!
“I forgive myself for judging myself as a sneak. I forgive myself for judging myself as trying to find holiday gifts.”
Now you try. “I forgive myself for judging myself as...”
You can go to all the therapy and counseling in the world – but until you let yourself off the hook, and forgive yourself for any judgments you may have made toward yourself (and others) those judgments remain inside of you. Period.
That little piece of Inner Peace that you just created inside yourself is the key to creating Outer Peace in the world. The key is Forgiveness. You can either change the image you think you've violated or you can change your behavior. Sometimes you can't change the behavior. For example, in my case I can't undo the fact that when I pulled the sleeping bag down in the closet, I saw the boxes that looked like presents. It's a fact. So, I am going to modify the image that I have of what a good wife should be. So, a good wife in the course of her day sometimes sees presents on the shelf by accident.
If the behavior is something that's still occurring and you can do something about it, then it becomes about choice. You can continue to choose to go on with the behavior (and in that case I would recommend working with modifying that image you are holding) or you can simply change the behavior.
Good for you for being an active participant in the contribution to Goodwill and Peace Toward Men (and Women). We have the opportunity countless times a day to choose peace inside of us. Objects in the mirror are closer than they appear.
Have a wonderful rest of your holiday season!
Until next time, all the best,
InnerSpect "Weight Release & Body Image" Coaching
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Elaine Robinson, M.A., Founder of InnerSpect, is a pioneer in the way that she has personally approached weight loss & body image, and how she successfully assists others during their journey. Using weight as a metaphor, Elaine facilitates her clients in manifesting more of what works. Her mission is to facilitate lasting weight loss and to create a healthy body image through an inside-out approach. She is an authentic, dynamic, and entertaining speaker with an exceptional ability to enlighten and inspire individuals and audiences toward self acceptance.