I came across this quote recently. It caused me to pause and reflect on the layers of meaning in this advice:
“Never allow anyone to rain on your parade and thus cast a pall of gloom and defeat on the entire day. Remember that no talent, no self-denial, no brains, no character, are required to set up in the fault-finding business. Nothing external can have any power over you unless you permit it. Your time is too precious to be sacrificed in wasted days combating the menial forces of hate, jealousy, and envy. Guard your fragile life carefully. Only God can shape a flower, but any foolish child can pull it to pieces.” —Og Mandino
How much time do we actually spend “combating the menial forces of hate, jealousy, and envy”—or any human emotions that are of a lower vibration? As Mr. Mandino stated, no need to fight the menial forces, yet we may all too easily react to others who are expressing these or even find ourselves in our own self-created negativity. So what do we do?
First thing is to recognize that we are in reaction, to own it and do so without self-blame or judgment. From there it’s a matter of shifting our focus to aim for a different attitude and thus a different vibration. Here are three attitudes that will often lift us to a different place in our minds and hearts.
1) COMPASSION—Others can serve as mirrors and teachers for you. Once you look past and through your judgments you can become aware of what is being mirrored back to you. Then you have the opportunity to transform your own negativity to compassion. Not pity, but a genuine sense of heart-felt recognition that what you see in the other does exist in you as well, though may not be so openly expressed by yourself.
2) GRATITUDE—It’s easy to get stuck in either complacency or complaining, so when you spot yourself in these states, look for what you have to be thankful for. Start with the fact that you’re breathing and alive, then move to those things you don’t ordinarily think of to be grateful about. Make a list every night of ten things you’re grateful for that day. Do it for a week and see what happens.
3) FORGIVENESS-It sometimes takes work to get to a place of letting go of any “charge” on memories of past events, whether it’s your damnation of yourself or someone else. It requires you to continue to take the high road and not get bogged down in rigid judgments and to release them as soon as you can. Forgiveness can naturally evolve from compassion and gratitude, but it can’t be forced. You may not be quite ready to let go completely, but ask yourself how it serves you to hang onto these judgments.
Okay, simple but as noted, not always easy. Only God can make a flower, and since you are an exquisite creation and expression of the Creator, you can make flowers too!