Because judgments are made based on perception, and perception comes from experience, I've learned that I really don't know nor can I do anything about what is going on in my life. All that I can do, which many of you have reminded me, is decide how it will affect me. Or... if it will affect me at all.
A Course in Miracles has a wonderful workbook with 365 lessons for every day of the year. The first few lessons are enough to make me stop and think:
Lesson 1: Nothing I see means anything.
Lesson 2: I have given everything I see all the meaning it has for me.
Lesson 3: I do not understand anything that I see.
The first few lessons do nothing more than help me to understand that my judgments are not reality. Think about it:
Everything I see is really nothing. The meaning of what I see comes purely from my experiential history with it. A cup sitting in front of me is a cup. I call it a cup because somewhere, sometime, someone told me that it was a cup and that I am to drink out of it.
When I look at the cup in front of me, I think tea. I want tea. Others may think coffee. Someone else may think soup. Someone else may see something else entirely. Perhaps the cup reminds them of taking a pottery class as a child. Perhaps the cup reminds them of an angry fight they witnessed where dishes were thrown.
All of us have different perceptions of the same thing.
We put our own stories on everything!!
Therefore, which one is real? What is the reality of that cup? Do I really understand what it is?
So, I'm left asking to see these situations in my life by what they truly are. I am willing to give up my judgments of them. They look like something painful to me but to someone else, they are not painful at all. Or maybe they are. Perhaps they're excruciating.
But somewhere, somehow, the people involved in these situations feel that their very life depends on what they are doing. Otherwise, they wouldn't be doing it.
My judgment doesn't matter. If my judgment of these situations were to become something that my life depended on, then I would be giving much power to something that has nothing to do with me.
A Course in Miracles asks: Would you rather be right or happy?
Would I rather give all of my power to my judgment of this situation, demanding that my judgment and my assessment of their actions be the correct one? Or would I prefer peace, a return to the calm observer in this and every situation?
I would rather be happy and at peace.
Therefore, it is time to take the power back. I must love them - my sister, my friend - through these things. I must trust that they have their own lessons to learn and paths to tread. I must set boundaries of how I will or won't be involved. I must save my judgments and my opinions.
I must remember that my life does not depend on the actions of other people. My life depends on me.
"Our lives are not determined by what happens to us but how we react to what happens; not by what life brings to us, but by the attitudes we bring to life. A positive attitude causes a chain reaction of positive thoughts, events and outcomes. It is a catalyst, a spark, that causes extraordinary results."
~ in a card from PT-Law Mom that stays on my fridge and taken from the book, The Resiliency Advantage by Al Siebert