What is it about me that makes me want to look up to other people? I think it’s common to the human condition to look for people to make models (idols?) for ourselves. We want to believe that other people have it more together. And, if that person has some celebrity, we put them up even higher. Of course, they have earned that success. People like them. They must have things figured out.
I met such a person a few months ago. This person is someone who is further along on their grief journey than I am. I am going to change some details of this account because this isn’t about this particular person. It’s about me. I don’t want to identify them. So, I’m going to use the third person plural pronoun as the singular pronoun (yuck, but the dictionary says I can do it now. Forgive me, Brenda).
I heard this person speak and I said “Wow. I want to be like them when I grow up.” This person has lost not one child but a child and a spouse. But, they spoke with such confidence about the goodness of life, about soul planning, about living our lives after tragedy that I was in awe. They are an author, probably best-selling. Everyone has read their books and raves about them. They have turned the tragedy in their life into what seemed to be not only personal growth, but into helping heal others, and a career to boot. This would be an excellent person to follow, I thought. So, up on the pedestal I push them. I started watching how they do things, seeing what I could emulate. Maybe I could follow in their footsteps.
Then it began. The cracks started to appear. I heard how this person conducted themselves concerning a business deal with Helping Parents Heal, a volunteer organization for grieving parents. “Well,” I said, “everyone has to earn a living. It’s not what I would do, but I can understand it.” I’m good at seeing things from the other person’s perspective. Sometimes I’m too good because I excuse bad behavior and this was bad behavior. Then, this person betrayed a confidence, something given to them with the promise it wouldn’t be shared. It was not only shared. This person shared it publicly. OK, maybe this is a misunderstanding. I extended the benefit of the doubt again. When asked to remove it, the response was we were given platitudes taken from this person’s teachings. There was no apology, no acceptance of responsibility. Wow, I thought. Maybe they are not as spiritually advanced as I first thought. Their teachings are phenomenal. I had another opportunity to hear this person speak and the presentation was just as exceptional as the first one. But the things I was seeing in the behavior were not in line with the teachings. Then, the third strike came. This person came at another provider in the industry, in a big group setting. When asked to discuss it privately, again no responsibility was taken and the response was in more platitudes. None of the particulars of this are essential. And, as I said, some of the details have been changed to keep the anonymity of the person because this is not about them. I wanted to give you a flavor of the depth of what my experience has been. This is about my reaction.
It’s the day after this all blows up, and I’ve got a two-hour drive, one way to pick up my nephew. I really should be working. I’ve got three major projects going on for Treasured Locks right now, but he needs a ride. So, how do I make this time productive? I’ll listen to a podcast. I’ve just discovered Hay House Live podcasts, and I’m halfway through a three-lecture series by Joe Dispenza on becoming supernatural. The whole lecture is over four hours long, but one of the points was about becoming conscious of our thoughts, feelings, and emotions. So, at first, we can consciously make different choices, and eventually, learn that so profoundly that we subconsciously, spontaneously make better decisions. So, for example, when someone offends or slights you, the natural response is to become angry, to strike back, to “get even”.
As I’m listening, I’m thinking about where I am on this spectrum from unconscious retaliation and anger, moving to try to choose love consciously, then finally to unconsciously choosing love. If we do this enough, it becomes a habit, and we don’t even have to think about it. At the risk of sounding egotistical, I think I do pretty well. Whenever I hear sermons about forgiveness, etc. I reflect personally on how I’m doing and try to come up with people I need to forgive. The list is non-existent for me. I don’t hold a grudge because it only hurts me. And, I think I’ve been doing this so long it’s something I don’t have to think much about.
This person I’m referring to disappointed several of us. But, it’s not about that person. This is about how I react to circumstances like this. As the events came back into my mind, I asked myself “What is the lesson in this for me?” This situation came into my life for a reason. What is the reason? There are a couple. One of the Four Agreements is never to take anything personally. I’m pretty good with that. People do things because of who they are, not who you are. I haven’t taken any of this personally. There’s no reason to. Beyond this, I’ve moved to take everything personally. This seems like a contradiction. Hear me out. It’s all here for me. It’s all to teach me a lesson or as a test of how well I’ve learned my lessons. A while ago I would have (wrongly) taken some of this personally. I would have had to work on forgiveness. There’s nothing for me to forgive because I didn’t take any of it personally. As I was listening to Joe Dispenza, I realized that I’ve moved to that level, at least in some circumstances, not 100% of the time, where I don’t need to forgive because I never took the “offense” personally. I also am learning that none of us is perfect. They say we teach what we need to learn most. So, when you follow a teacher, don’t expect perfection out of that teacher. When I reminded this person that they are a celebrity, asking them to consider the weight of their words versus others’, they told me they are just an ordinary person. And they were right. We all are. I need to keep remembering that. No more putting anyone on a pedestal for me.