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Dr Robert Anthony recounts that about 700 years ago, a great teacher ripe with years and hon­ours lay dying. His students and disciples asked if he was afraid to die. “Yes,” he said, “I am afraid to meet my Maker.” “But how can that be?” the students and disciples responded. “You have lived such an exemplary life. You led us out of the wilderness like Moses. You have judged between us wisely like Solomon.” Softly he replied, “When I meet my Maker, He will not ask, ‘Have you been like Moses or Solomon?’ He will ask, ‘Have you been yourself?’ The story shows that throughout time, people have struggled to be themselves. Why are we still struggling?

The struggle comes out of our need to please others. By assuming your own destiny, you are bound to get someone angry – your boss, your spouse, your parents, your children. At first as­suming your own destiny can be a lonely process, and it may seem that everyone is against you. But the only image you must live up to is your own. The opinions of those who approve or disapprove are irrelevant.

The decision to live your life is your own responsibility. The results of your own life are your own responsibility. Your action or inaction becomes your own responsibility. Often other people will have values and beliefs that are in conflict with yours. And when they see you living in opposition to their values and beliefs, it can be very frightening for them because, in a way, it threatens their foundation.

HOW DO YOU TREAT YOURSELF?

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Dr Anthony would ask: Do you like yourself? Do you trust yourself? Do you keep promises that you make to yourself? Do you think that you are a good person? Are you yourself most of the time, or have you devel­oped an act to cover up who you are? If you had a friend who treated you like you treat your­self, or talked to you the way that you talk to yourself, and broke commitments to you the way that you break commitments to yourself, do you think you would keep him as a friend? Let us face it, you probably would not want that type of person around.

It is very important to take a look at the way we treat our­selves. Most of the time we are our own worst enemy. We are afraid to meet our inner selves because we think we may not like what we see.

START THE JOURNEY OF SELF-DISCOVERY

Start your journey of self-dis­covery at once. Nothing but good can come from it. The understanding of fear cures fear. Do not get hung up on the kind of person that you think that you are. Do not concern yourself with whether you are better or worse than other people. Instead, try to know yourself as the kind of person that you are and the kind of person you would like to be.

If you look at a half-finished house that is under construction, you do not condemn it for its unfinished condition. You do not say it is inferior to another house, nor are you concerned with its appearance. All you do is realise its need for additional work. Adopt this way of thinking toward yourself. Whatever your present condition, just realise the need for more construction. Be patient with yourself, but be firm toward the necessary work that needs to be done.

Self-worth comes from self. That is why it is not called “Oth­er-worth”. If your worth comes from others, you will never be able to love yourself. “When you are an expert on yourself, you are an expert on everyone else.” A conscious person knows himself. He knows his own nature, and therefore he knows everything about other people who have the same nature. “Know yourself as you are, and you will know others as they are.”

Never be afraid to expose a weakness in yourself. Exposing a weakness is the beginning of strength. Remember – everything you learn about yourself is good news. No matter how difficult or surprising it may be, it is always good news. Keep this in mind, especially in times when a new truth clashes with a belief that you know you must abandon but are reluctant to do so. “A wise person is willing to give up a piece of coal in exchange for a diamond. Have the courage to do this and self-change begins.”

You do not have to have per­mission from others to change your life. Do not ask, “Is this right for me to go against every­thing that I have been taught to believe?” Instead say, “Let me see how much intensity I can put into my search.” Your own desire for personal freedom is the only search warrant you will ever need.

WHAT YOU ARE DENY­ING YOURSELF?

If you are really going to learn the truth about you and live your life as you are capable of living, a lot of people are not going to like it because they are not committed to the same path as you are. Are you going to deny yourself riches because others are poor? Are you going to deny yourself health be­cause millions of people are sick? Take a good look at what you are denying yourself, and do not ever think of yourself as “wrong” for wanting what you want.

As we move along the path of self-discovery, we are bound to make mistakes. Those so-called mistakes, faults, sins or errors are not you. Make sure you separate who you are from what you have and what you do. You transcend what is happening in your life as you come to the realisation that what is happening in your life is only temporary and will always be changing. It is important to understand that your Higher Self is changeless. “When you identify with your temporary nature, you take on the belief that what you have and what you do is the real you. It is possibly the biggest error that you can make in life.

To experience your own magnificence requires that you separate what you have and what you do from who you are. Learn to separate the performance from the performer, to become involved in what is happening in your life, but not to identify with its temporary nature. As you stand on the seashore and watch the ships sail by there is no problem as long as you simply stand there and watch them go by. It is only when you identify with the ships that you feel pain and suffering.

If you say, “That is my ship,” then you will grieve when it pass­es from your sight. If you say, “I must command that ship,” then you will live in fear that some­one else will become its captain. Likewise, by simply watching and observing our mistakes and unworkable behaviour without judgment, we prevent harmful identification with our temporary mistakes, faults and errors.

THE ONLY AUTHORITY FIGURE IS WITHIN YOUR­SELF

As you start to question and look honestly at your life, you come to the point where you begin to realise that the only authority figure is within yourself. We look to other authorities to tell us what we are supposed to do, but the only person who will ever know what to do is our­selves.

Have you ever wondered why certain people are conned by con artists? A con artist cannot con someone who is conscious. People have trouble understand­ing why others take advantage of them. The reason they get taken advantage of is because they give their power away and they do not want to be responsible for their own lives. They do not want to make their own decisions so they allow others to do it for them. But understand this truth: If you allow others to do it FOR you, they will do it TO you. As long as you let others have responsibility for your life, they will control your destiny.

BY CAPT. SAM ADDAIH (RTD)

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