Robin Williams is remembered saying,  “Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Be kind. Always.”

No one is perfect. We all fall short of the glory of God. Judge not that ye be not judge. Mind your own business. Kuk di morriik a yaes ra kelem.

We hear these principles of life that are meant to keep us safe within our boundaries all the time.  Still we judge, condemn, criticize, manipulate, preach, gossip, gaslight, tarnish, punish and put them behind your imaginary prison cell in the name of God.  Why?  Because we project on others what we can’t accept in ourselves. This is hard to swallow thus it takes courage to be imperfect.

John Bradshaw writes, “On a collective level, a great deal of ethnic hate, fear, and  condemnation of the “stranger” — those we see as “not like us” — comes from the parts of ourselves that we fear and are estranged from.”

Toxic attach themselves like cinder blocks tied to your ankles, and then invite you for a swim in their poisoned waters. John Mark Green sounds funny but he’s spot on. He’s describing copedendent dancing with a narcissist.

In my opinion the best description of a toxic person (or a narcissist) is they overvalue themselves and undervalues others. I’m sure you have one or two in your tribe. When I learned  that people can be so cruel with their self aggrandization because it was to cover up their deep insecurity, I stopped reacting to their condescending rejections. I became more aware of their shaming me of not measuring up to their expectations.  That was gaslighting. A big Aha!!! It’s not about me. It’s about the one shouting judgment from the rooftop… a dangerous place to be, one could lose balance and fall to their own demise. Once we accept all of ourselves we become whole. I always find integration work fascinating. It’s in accepting our dark and ugly parts that we grow and mature. Why?  When we are conscious of our shadows, they don’t run ahead and trip us.  We become fully present.

Brain experts tell us, “We’re learning that maturation is about the refinement of circuits and larger networks that produce increasingly coordinated behavior and brain activity. And those refinements and improvements in neural coordination are heavily dependent on not only neurobiology, but also practice and experience.”  

I measure my maturation of my own brain by how I react to my environment. Still at it…  Am I quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to anger?

Stephen R. Covey’s first of the 7 habits of highly effective people: Be proactive. It means think before you speak and no need to be defensive. Enlarge the space between a stimuli and response. I ask, “Do I detect fear, shame, or guilt?  Am I afraid of what people will say about me? Am I ashamed because I’m not like so and so? How much do i weigh? and …  Am I accepted in the room? Well maybe not anywhere here.  However, I do know of a place where I’m accepted with all of me, warts and all – at the foot of the cross of Jesus.

The best thing about this belief system is: It’s not about me. It’s all about the one who knows I can’t earn my salvation by doing but by believing in his name – Jesus!  Seek HIM first and the rest follows. We believe, then follow, then with an act of the will, we choose to live up to the truth. Life becomes livable even in the midst of storms.

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