KEY TWO
BE YOURSELF

TRANSFORMATIONAL QUESTION:  Is this in Harmony with Who I Am?

Each of us has a unique blueprint for our embodiment. We have strengths and weaknesses, assets and liabilities. Understanding and accepting who we are is of primary importance on the spiritual path. We are not here to be like someone else. We are here to be who we are.
     The great obstacle to our process of self-understanding is our tendency to accept and internalize the beliefs of other people about us. They do not know who we are, yet they project their own desires and fears on us. They have their own plan for our lives. Parents and other authority figures can have a huge impact on us. We want to please them. We want to make them happy so that they will love us and accept us. And, as a result, we often betray our inner blueprint at a very early age. We learn to be how others want us to be, not to be how we really are.
     If we are fortunate, we see this process of self-betrayal early on. We understand that we must individuate and claim our
own lives. We can’t live the way mommy or daddy wants us to live. So we leave home, not just physically, but mentally and
emotionally too. We cut the umbilical cord and become self-supporting human beings. We thank our parents for the gifts they gave us and move forward into independent lives where we make our own decisions and live with the consequences.
     In the process, we have to separate out the ideas and beliefs that are ours from the ones that belong to mommy, daddy, or
other authority figures. We need to embrace the former and question the latter. We don’t want to live an unconscious, wound-driven life, trying to fulfill the unfulfilled dreams of our parents and reliving their tragic, self defeating patterns.
     We are here to be ourselves, not to be them. In order to be ourselves, we must be free of the energetic patterns of our
family of origin. There is a whole piece of inner child work to do here. If you have the stomach for that work, please investigate our Healing Your Life Workshops and learn to let go of the wounds of the past. If not, at least be aware that there are forces inside of your consciousness that program you for self-betrayal. You need to be aware of these forces so that you can choose to honor yourself and individuate. Otherwise, you will spin your wheels, get bogged down in the mud and muck of conditional love and be unable to fulfill your purpose here.
     The transformational question here is “Is this in harmony with who I am? ” In other words “Is this thought, feeling or action reflective of my unique gifts/talents/temperament or is it a desire to please someone else (parent, teacher, spouse, guru, other authority figure)? Asking this question repeatedly keeps you from betraying yourself. You must consciously understand when you are seeking the approval of others and thereby giving your power away. The attempt to please others never works, because in the end they are not pleased. They do not approve or they use their approval as a carrot to manipulate you into doing the things they want you to do.
     You must learn to say no to any of these attempts to manipulate you. You must learn to value your freedom above all else.
     Of course, to truly be free you must be willing to support yourself. If you take money from your parents or your spouse, you will not be free to make your own choices. You need to remove the hooks that are attached to your side or you will always be a fish out of water, flailing around on some unknown dock. Take the hooks out and swim free. Find your own food and beware the bait on the hook that is dangled before you.
     If you are not willing to support yourself, you will inevitably give the farm away. Don’t do that. Take the farm back and start tilling the soil. You have work to do. You have a crop to plant, weed and water. You must learn to show up for yourself, take care of yourself, and abide by your own ideas and values.
     Individuation is not easy. There are many people who prefer to be children and to be dependent on their parents or on the parental institutions of society. But there is no freedom or dignity in that. You can’t be a spiritual person and live on welfare. You must be in charge of your own welfare. You must care for yourself, if you can. And if you can’t, it’s okay to ask for help. But please be honest. Even if you can’t do certain things, you can do others. Nobody is completely useless. Every person has a gift to give. It does not matter how modest it is. If s/he does not learn to value that gift and offer it to the world, s/he does not have dignity or self-respect.
     No matter how challenged you are by your life, don’t give your power away. Claim it. Nurture your gifts. Take baby steps. Set short term goals and reach them. Build success the way you build a foundation wall, brick by brick. There is dignity in labor when that labor honors you, when it enables you to move forward and achieve your goals. If you are not committed to yourself, who will be committed to you? The answer is no one. Don’t think otherwise or you will be lying to yourself. You will be living in a fantasy world. Come out of denial, please. Your life belongs to you. You are responsible for it. No one else is.
     If you give your power away to others, you will not amount to a hill of beans. You will be a sack of bones walking around.
People will hear you creaking when you walk, because there is no meat on your bones, no substance or passion in your life. That is what it means to be “dead while alive.” Don’t go there. Don’t waste your life.
     If you are lazy and unmotivated, if you perpetually procrastinate, looking for the perfect job, the perfect relationship, the perfect life, realize that you are reinforcing your powerlessness. You need to join the army or the Peace Corps. Chop wood, carry water. Get busy. Work hard. Work with enthusiasm and gusto. And, if you can, whistle while you work. You may just get the attention of the boss. You might find that opportunities arise where they weren’t before, because you were willing to step out. You were willing to contribute. You were willing to believe in yourself.
     Do not use the transformation question as an excuse to vegetate, procrastinate or do nothing. Use it to find direction and to follow it.  Suppose you ask “Is this in harmony with who I am?” and you answer “No,” because you know this is what daddy wants you to do, not what you want to do. That’s a good first step. But you are not done yet. Say no to what dishonors you, but use that “No” to find a “Yes.”
     If you say “No” to daddy’s offer to pay for dental school because he wants you to follow in his footsteps, say “Yes” to art The
school or music school, or computer training, or whatever is in your heart. Ask yourself “What honors me? What talents do I
want to develop or share?” And then begin to move your feet.
     Saying “No” to self-betrayal allows you to say “Yes” to yourself as an authentic being. The “No” without the “Yes” is meaningless. It has no power or purpose. Say “No” to what is not in harmony with who you are and then find the “Yes” that is. Understand that these two go hand in hand. Being authentic means being true to yourself. It is an essential component of becoming a mature, psychologically aware, spiritually fulfilled human being. Reclaiming your power when you have given it away is the first part of being yourself. Once you have done that you can take the next step.

Returning Power and Responsibility to Others

You cannot be yourself if you try to get the approval of others or allow them to influence the decisions that you make. Others
cannot be themselves if they try to gain your approval or allow you to influence the decisions that they make. Co-dependence
is a two-edged sword. It doesn’t matter what side of the sword you are on. You are likely to get hurt either way.
     If you are smart, you will bury the sword, or at least sheathe it. Take your freedom and power back. And give others their
freedom and power back. When others seek to please you or gain your approval, tell them “please do what your heart
wants to do. What I think and want is not important. I support you in making the best choice for you.”
     Every time you grant freedom to another, you reinforce your own and empower yourself to move forward in your life. Staying
out of the affairs of others is one of the most profound decisions you can make on your spiritual path. Getting involved in the
drama of others is like stepping in quicksand. It is not easy to get out, and it holds you back in pursuing your own priorities.
     So when you ask the transformational question “Is this in harmony with who I am?” please do so with the awareness that
any attempt to influence and control others is out of harmony with your true self, their true self and the spiritual laws of the
universe. Say “No” both to Giving power away or taking it away from others. Say “Yes” to your power and “Yes” to theirs.
     It is always seductive to give advice to others when they ask you for your opinion, but beware of the bait. Giving
advice is a slippery slope. Any time you say “If I were you, I would do thus and so,” please also add the caveat, “but I am
not you and you need to do what feels right to you and make your own choice.” That way you stay free of the drama.
     That way if the person makes a bad choice s/he cannot come back to you and say “Why did you tell me to do thus and
so.” You can’t be blamed, because you did not put your foot in your mouth.
     On the other hand, people are always jumping into each other’s business. So sometimes we forget the teaching of mutual empowerment and we trespass on others. When thathappens, apologize as soon as you become aware that you have trespassed. And ask for correction as soon as you are aware that someone has trespassed on you. Most importantly, hold all of this gently. We all make mistakes. We all need to give and receive forgiveness.
     Life can be an empowering experience or it can be a power trip. Power trips don’t uplift or fulfill anyone. That is power away. Be aware when you try to take power away from others. Ask for correction. Make amends. Learn from your mistakes. And move on.
     Forgiveness is a way of life. It makes us stronger and helps us find our focus. By practicing forgiveness moment to moment,
we let go of the past, prevent our dysfunctional patterns from running our lives, and step into power and purpose in this
moment.

Equality and Mutual Respect

When each of us is free to be who we are, equality and mutual respect become firmly established in our lives of human beings.
No one tries to control anyone else. No one is a victim or a victimizer. No one is discriminated against, controlled or abused.
Each person is empowered to make his or her own choices and to take responsibility for the consequences of those choices.
     Where there is no self-betrayal, there can be no abuse. There can be no inequality.
     As each of us learns to claim our power and supports others in claiming theirs, trespass diminishes. When it happens, it is
quickly caught and easily corrected.
     This is the world we are creating together. But, as always, it starts with you and me. It starts with the choices we make
in this moment.

Important Things to Remember

  •  You need to live your own life, support yourself, and make your own choices.
     
  • You need to encourage others to live their own lives, support themselves, and make their own choices.
     
  • You cannot be yourself if you are trying to please others, allowing others to influence your decisions or in any other way giving your power to them.
     
  • You cannot be yourself if you are withholding support from others, trying to influence them, or in any other way trying to take their power away..
     
  • What others think about your life or what you think about theirs is irrelevant at best and intrusive and controlling at worst.
     
  • When you stay out of the lives of others, you can be fully present in your own. The reverse is true for them.
     
  • In all interactions with others, equality and mutual respect are the goals.
     
  • When you use the transformational question to honor yourself and be authentic, you are doing your part to create a more gentle and harmonious world.

Journaling Questions

Can you identify some beliefs that you have internalized that are not in harmony with who you are?  Did those beliefs come from mommy, daddy, siblings, teachers, spouse/significant other? 

By becoming aware of these false beliefs you can stop identifying with them.  Can you think of a time when you were able to do that?   Please elaborate.

When have you tried to please others instead of honoring your own needs?  How did create problems for you?

Can you see that when you have the courage to be yourself positive things follow in your life? What is a good example of this?

Do you have a hard time saying “No” to others?  If so, can you see that pleasing or taking care of others sometimes leads to self-betrayal?

To what and/or to whom do you need to say “No”?  

How does saying “No” to this situation/person empower you to say “Yes” to something that is important to you.

In what ways to you give your powers to others and allow others to make decisions for you? 

In what ways do you dominate others and make decisions for them?

Are there patterns of co-dependency in any of your primary relationships?  If so, please elaborate.

Paul Ferrini Teaching
Key Two: Be Yourself