LIVING THE LIFE I LOVE Dear Lucy: I am trying so hard to get my life together. But I am sick and tired of people criticizing me. Every time I think things will get better, someone close to me will lie to me or let me down. I am a good person and I try to help the people I love but nobody is helping me. Everybody says they want me to do better but nobody is willing to stick with me.
– It's not my fault
Dear Blameless One: There was more in your letter that we don't have room to print. Life is a journey with lots of core lessons to be learned. Some of us take longer than others to learn certain things. Two core lessons are Self-Respect and Self-Responsibility.
Here is a story I like written by Portia Nelson called "Autobiography in Five Short Chapters":
"I walk down the street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I fall in. I am lost, I am hopeless. It isn't my fault. It takes forever to find my way out.
"I walk down the street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I pretend I don't see it. I can't believe I am in the same place. But it isn't my fault. It takes forever to find my way out.
"I walk down the same street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I see it is there. I still fall in...it is a habit. It is my fault. I get out immediately.
"I walk down the same street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I walk around it.
"I walk down a different street."
Self-respect begins when we are able to look at ourselves as strong and capable of finding our way. We find our way best when we can take responsibility for the trip. Even when what we see is unpleasant or unfavorable, we still have the power to stand still and open ourselves to the possibility of taking another path.
Sometimes this is made difficult because there can be a period where we have to choose another street. That means we have to leave all of the people and familiar cracks on the old street. But it also means that we get to see that we have what it takes to do something new and enriching to our souls.
Often, changing our lives means temporarily leaving behind old, familiar relationships that slow us down. It doesn't mean we don't love the people or what they stand for. It just means that we have to learn to walk on a different street. And I also bet that there is someone just waiting on that other street to encourage you in a new walk.
(For help with the feelings that get in the way of prayer and peace of mind, get Lucy's new book, "BE NOT ANXIOUS." Order it directly from her at 901-907-0260 or go to her web site www.heartworks4u.com.)