After years of helping (and watching) people solve problems (including me), I've come to know this universal truth--that the only emotion or state of being that really heals any problem (or any person) is charitable love.
My favorite quote defining charity comes from Marvin J. Ashton, a deceased teacher, who said:
"Perhaps the greatest charity comes when we are kind to each other, when we don't judge or categorize someone else, when we simply give each other the benefit of the doubt or remain quiet. Charity is accepting someone's differences, weaknesses and shortcomings; having patience with someone who has let us down; or resisting the impulse to become offended when someone doesn't handle something the way we might have hoped. Charity is refusing to take advantage of another's weakness and being willing to forgive someone who has hurt us. Charity is accepting the best of each other."
Over the years in my practice, I've seen many unhappy, overwhelmed, in-debt, and depressed people. When we're down and out we easily become self-absorbed and then we struggle to be charitable- to others and ourselves. Charity, or unconditional love, comes from the inside out.
Harsh judgment, perfectionism, and hate are the destructive counterparts. I have found that eliminating these from inside ourselves and replacing them with charity toward ourselves is the key to healing difficult and painful issues from the past. Often we tend to be hard on ourselves, judging our mistakes and pushing the pain and regret into deep, internal crevasses. When we do this, we feel like life is too much. This begins a cycle of self-absorption that prevents charity from curing the problem. We find we can't be charitable to others because we're in so much pain ourselves.
We've all had frustrating experiences in our relationships with others. During these times, it can be difficult to be charitable, loving, and forgiving. Often we find people judging and criticizing us (or we judge and criticize them), making assumptions about our nature, our desires, our weaknesses, and our strengths. Because we only see the world through our eyes, sometimes we get stuck believing that our perception is the only right way to see a person, a problem, a situation, or a solution. When we falsely judge, feelings get hurt, relationships are damaged, and the simple answer of applying charitable love slips through our fingers.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow said it well when he wrote, "The life of a man consists not in seeing visions and in dreaming dreams, but in active charity and in willing service." And St. Francis of Assisi said, "Where there is charity and wisdom, there is neither fear nor ignorance."
A wise man looks upon himself to change before he looks upon another to take action first. In our relationships with others, we enhance both our view of them and us if we apply charity as a solution--from the inside out!
For this week's personal development, determine how you can apply charitable love as the solution to both your simple and complex problems. If you find that you're judging and criticizing yourself, replace your harshness with a positive reminder of your individual worth, gifts, talents, and purpose. Remember, "Charity is accepting the best of each other" ... and that means acknowledging and accepting the best in YOU!
Essential Oil Tip
Made from the leaves of bitter orange, petitgrain essential oil is an extraordinarily potent mood elevator. It may help stimulate the mind, promote the recall of positive memories, reduce mental fatigue, and ease depression. The scent is vibrant and refreshing. When we use petitgrain, it is like pressing the reset button on a computer screen and opening a new “window” for life to surprise us. As an antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and anti-infectious compound, petitgrain boosts our immunity. As we heal physically, our moods may stabilize and we may experience more joy being alive.
Enjoy your week,
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