Looking within can sometimes make me want to look away

Old habits die hard.

While my expectations of myself may at times be unrealistic, and while perfection is of course not my goal, I do strive to be a better me. This week I found myself falling back into a darker shadow of myself. I fell into the characteristics of a person who finds fault in others and gossips.  Although my objective is to see the good in life, to notice and celebrate what is well and good, sometimes I fall. I begin first to notice, then to dwell, and then to share my perceived views of the faults of others. It seems this pattern repeats in work situations. Perhaps I’m seeing qualities in others than I possess and despise in myself. Perhaps it’s out of insecurity, perhaps it’s a flaw of being human but either way I looked within and wanted to look away.

Coincidentally, or perhaps divinely, an associate recommended a book to me.  The book by Miguel Ruiz, called The Four Agreements is opening my eyes and helping me re-focus. I’ve only read through to the beginning of the Second Agreement, but the first is so powerful it’s shifting me back to who I want to be.

“Be Impeccable With Your Word.”

1. Be Impeccable with your Word: Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the Word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your Word in the direction of truth and love.

That is very clearly the opposite of how I behaved this past week and I could sink into self-hatred and punishment but Ruiz advises this would be furthering the destructive power of my words. Instead, I’m going to try to learn from this, absorb the wisdom of this book and practice using the power of my words more positively.

As further reinforcement, we attended a couples Valentine dinner at our Church last evening. The speaker, Teresa Hartnett, Director of Family Ministry at Roman Catholic Diocese of Hamilton, spoke about mercy in marriage. One of the statements she made that stuck with me was the intention of speaking kind words with your spouse and being peaceable.  Teresa spoke about the power of the words we choose and how often we will speak to our loved ones in a way we never would speak to others. She also challenged our belief of reality and how each person’s reality is a different version. When we share our perception of what we think is happening with others, in order to gain their acceptance of our view, is that right? In winning people over to what we believe, are we certain our beliefs are what is factually true? How can we be?

More introspection; more dislike of what I see. Two sources of information; message received.

Quote from The Shadow Effect by Debbie Ford
Quote from The Shadow Effect by Debbie Ford

I’m looking forward to the journey I’ll take in reading and learning about the other three agreements within this book. I’m praying for the grace to absorb its wisdom and rise above my old dark shadow self habits.

May I be impeccable with my word. May I be peaceable.