Did I ever tell you the story about when I used to go and pick my daughter up from the YMCA? I would walk through the parking lot, and running through my mind would be how I thought all the other mothers and fathers thought of me.
“They think I should get a real job and stop playing music and doing my spiritual stuff.” “They teach their kids that boys are supposed to have short hair.” “Speaking of hair, my long hair is wet because I just got up and showered. I am so not like them.” “I bet they think I’m no good, not a good father, and not responsible.” These are just a few of the many negative thoughts that would go on inside my head while walking in the door, where Lily would rush to me, yelling “Da da!” and jumping into my arms.
I was beginning to not like any of them either! Why should I like them when they felt so poorly about me?
It was during this time period when I was reading and studying “The Four Agreements” by Don Miguel Ruiz, and also “A Course In Miracles“. I was working overtime with my Spiritual Advisor during this time too, because I was having difficulty, and I was not happy. During one of our conversations I began to share with him how all the other mothers and fathers, and society in general felt about me, and this is when he delivered a blow that knocked me out. He began by asking me “Has anyone done anything bad to you or treated you badly?” “Has anyone said anything to you about your job or your hair?” All of the Spiritual lessons that I had been studying began to come alive as he explained to me that I had decided to have long hair, and then decided to feel guilty about it. I had decided to be a musician, and now I felt guilty about it. I had decided everything, and now I felt guilty about everything. It wasn’t the other mothers and fathers that hated me, it was me.
We often hear things like “All of our problems stem from how we feel about ourselves”, or “Happiness is an inside job”, and “We always meet ourselves”, and here I was for the first time, truly seeing these sayings and understanding what they meant. I did not feel good about myself, so I figured that nobody else liked me either.
It was time for me to re-examine my life and all the decisions I had made. It turns out that I stayed with them all. What changed was that I was able to reaffirm why I made the decisions I made, and begin to feel good about myself, even proud of myself. It turns out that all the other mothers and fathers had no problem with me and didn’t really think about me that much. However, as I changed how I felt about myself, my relationships with all of them got much better and much more meaningful. It’s funny… now that I loved myself, they loved me too! It turns out that I am the judge!