“We’re not held back
by the love we didn’t receive in the past,
but by the love,
we’re not extending in the present.”
— Marianne Williamson
[Classic post from 2-20-17]
I read this quote. Then put it down. Then picked it up again and again. In a short time, I became mesmerized by it. There was a wash of thoughts that came through as if this quote opened a floodgate of sorts.
Yesterday I received an email where a reader expressed some thoughts about yesterday’s post about enlightenment and found it hard to let go because there is still a strong urge to seek approval from others. I love it when people write to me, and I gave a response that came to me that I thought might be helpful.
I shared something I learned early in my study of sales that I learned from someone else about having an air of indifference. Not indifference, but just an air of it. It’s sort of a self-protection device to take a ‘no’ as a choice and not as a personal attack. Having an air of indifference as if I won’t die if they say ‘no’ allows me to keep my wits about me and my personal feelings from running amok.
Then this quote came to me this morning and opened that approval idea wide. All that love we didn’t receive in the past that we live over and over again, even as the past is long gone. It is something we hold onto though it is not necessary to continue to do so. But to paraphrase Marianne’s quote, “we’re not held back by what was, but only what is.” In other words, it is the present moment that is all there really is. We can live in the memory or the moment.
Thich Nhat Hanh said, “to be beautiful means to be yourself. You don’t need to be accepted by others. You need to accept yourself.” I delight in this statement. At the same time, I can so relate to the reader because the majority of my life I craved approval, sought it all day every day, and I would be unhappy if my attempts to manipulate the approval of others failed, which they did all the time. Yet I persisted in my quest.
Then, I found a book that put me on a path toward change from this quest. It is a short book that is so profound. I have read it so many times over the years and have given away hundreds of copies, especially to young people. The title is, Love Is Letting Go of Fear, by Gerald Jampolsky. This book gave me permission to accept myself, to approve of myself, and not have such a need to have others approving or loving me. It was the first book I ever read about loving myself enough to awaken me to the choices I always have had available to me and yet previously ignored.
No, we’re not held back by the love or the approval or anything else we think we were lacking in the past. . . unless we keep living it over and over again in the present. What really matters right now is what we are thinking and doing right now. That letting-go book encouraged me to make different choices and to let the past be–to let go of it, release it, accept it for what it was–a part of the journey to here and now. For it is in the here and now that all my power resides. Here is where I decide to let go or reach out.
It is not the ________ we didn’t receive in the past, but the ________ we’re not extending in the present. We choose every moment of every part of our lives. If we begin by accepting ourselves, our past, our family, our entire history, and our inherent power to choose, we can let go as we choose, and extend all that we are today in as much joy as we will allow.
We Are All Enough. Exactly As We Are.
Spread Some Joy Today–by laying down the rope of the need to have others approve of us. We are the deciders and we cannot make others do anything. By letting go, we release ourselves to our own freedom.