I received an email a few days ago that caused my ego to stir. It was from someone I hardly know. She claimed she was worried and concerned about me. While that may sound all well and good... someone being concerned about you isn't necessarily a bad thing... the underlying tone of her email was one of criticism and judgment. She said she was writing out of love, but that is not the feeling I got.
This made me wonder two things. Was my ego just flaring up and causing me not to see something within myself that was sincerely worrisome and concerning? Also, have I said things to people, given advice, offered suggestions, that I thought were coming from love within me, but were really more of a judgment on them?
I honestly feel that the answer to both questions is 'no.' Then again, I'd have to ask all the people I've given advice to, how my words rang within them. So I can't be sure on that one, but I do know I'll be more mindful when offering comments and suggestions to others.
In response to the first question I posed to myself... I sat with this person's email, and my feelings, for quite some time. I felt self-righteous and offended by her words. That's how I know it was my ego rising up. But I reminded myself to relax, and try to look objectively at the situation that seemingly caused her concern.
Here's what I came up with:
She doesn't know the whole story. Far from it. She knows a tiny tidbit, a slice out of my life, and from there, extrapolated all these judgments. Yes, they were judgments... really, any time any of us assesses someone else, we are judging them. We are reading their situation and applying our own thoughts and feelings to it. Our thoughts and feelings come from our own experiences, so therefore, we are seeing everyone else's life through a lens colored by our own.
Another thing is this: We all have "off" days and moments where we are less than our best selves. We all slip into self-judgment from time to time, and have moments of doubting ourselves. As long as we learn from our slips, and pick ourselves back up... that's all any of us can do.
None of us are perfectly "spiritual" all the time. None of us are ego-free. None of us are free from fears 100% of the time.
So let's do our best to have patience and kindness towards each other. And when we see a tiny slice out of someone's life, let's try to refrain from passing judgments and making assumptions. Let's support one another more, and give each other the benefit of the doubt more. I know this is something I can work on within myself as well, and I plan to.
Another reminder I was given from this experience is to trust your own feelings.
Someone else may try to convince you to do such-and-such. If you have a bad, or even slightly off feelings about it... trust yourself.
If someone approaches you, and no matter what they "put out there" on the exterior, if you have a gut feeling that is contradictory to what they're trying to show you... trust yourself.
I think we (and I know this is true about myself) tend to trust others sometimes above ourselves. If someone else says something to us or about us... it must be true. This is why others' words can send our own self-confidence spiraling down. This is why so many of us struggle with self-worth issues... because we have believed others' assessments, words, and behaviors towards us or even around us, more than we have tuned in to and believed our own Divine Worth, Value, and Importance.
This is what happened with me and this other person who emailed me. I took her words as truth, and doubted myself. I looked at my actions, and my life, and wondered if something was, in fact, "wrong" with me.
I was surprised, in fact, at how much I took the words of a practical stranger to heart. This was a great lesson for me. Drop my ego and Open my Spirit. Follow that. Trust that.
I reminded myself to "Stay Open" and let the feelings pass through me. I re-centered myself. And I am ok. I am better than ok. I am pretty darn amazing most of the time! Sure, I may stumble from time to time. Yeah, I may have self-doubt and self-consciousness creep back in occasionally. Who doesn't? But I work it out.
It's all for our learning. It's all for our growth. As long as we stay open, and keep learning and growing... that's what we're here to do.
In Peace and Love to you all...