Three little words – Don’t give permission…

November 15, 2015

 “Nobody can hurt me without my permission.”  –  Mahatma Gandhi

I was searching for quotes about peace and contentment when I came across this one from Gandhi. It resonated with other little pieces of self-help advice that I have written about in the past. I think we all seek peace and contentment in our lives, although most of us spend time looking in the wrong places. Then, just whining childas we may have achieved some measure of both in our lives, we give someone else permission to hurt us. We take offense and something that they’ve said or done or we react to some slight or slur (real or imagined) and fall back out of our state of contentment.  Gandhi’s advice rings true in those moments. We have invited this external influence into our sanctuary and allowed it to tarnish our contentment or destroy our peace. Don’t give permission.

Ralph Waldo Emerson was on the same page as Gandhi when he said – “Nothing external to you has any power over you.”  Emerson was referring to the fact that you control how you react to all things external to you. If someone says something hateful to you, or about you; how do you react? Do you let it hurt you or is your reaction to feel sorry that they are in such a state of mind that they feel the need to lash out at you. Do you shrink back in offense or offer your help and prayers to them? After all they haven’t really done anything to you, if you didn’t let them do it; but, they have exposed an ugly side of themselves for others to see. They can’t hurt you if you don’t  give permission.

Finally, being at peace means being comfortable with yourself, liking yourself and being confident in yourself. Sanaya Roman put it this way – “Having inner peace means committing to letting go of self-criticism and self-doubt.”  So, in addition to the things and people outside that might be trying to upset your contentment; one must believe in yourself.  I  wrote about that in a post –  https://normsmilfordblog.com/2014/07/31/first-believe-in-yourself/ and I also advised against beating yourself up. What good does it do you to spend time on self-criticism and slef-doubt. Rather you shouls spend that time on self-improvement. Learn from any mistakes and move on, don’t wallow in self-recrimination and guilt. Even for your own thoughts, don’t give permission.

prayingSo, resolve today that you will withhold permission for the actions and words of others to hurt you. Focus instead on how you can offer them help that they may need to get to the place of peace and contentment that you enjoy. I’ve noted here in past posts that the local Methodist pastor Doug McMunn often uses a wonderful little retort when he encounters someone who needs help regaining control. He will just say, “be at peace.” Doug always seems to be at peace and to ready to help other, I suspect because he makes a daily effort to stay ther and when he encounters situations that might otherwise be inflammatory he doesn’t give permission for those things or comments to invade and destroy his inner peace.

Be at peace this coming week; and when things try to get to you; remember that they cannot hurt you if you don’t give permission.


Find your inner strength…

May 28, 2014

I haven’t posted for a few days, not because I had nothing to say, but because I wanted to let my post about Memorial Day stand for a while.

That said, it’s time to move on and find inspiration for our daily lives and what better source that the ultimate cool dude of our modern times – the Dalai Lama.

“When we meet real tragedy in life, we can react in two ways—either by losing hope and falling into destructive habits, or by using the challenge to find inner strength.”  (Dalai Lama)

We certainly all meet tragedies in our lives. Some we just remembered as we honored the fallen who served our country. In other cases it might be the death of a beloved parent or sibling or spouse. Sometimes it doesn’t involve death, but just really bad news or events (think fires and tornadoes). Whatever the tragedy, we must not let it pull us down into hopelessness and despair.

In searching for that inner strength many turn to their religious beliefs. There is probably no more positive and uplifting message for any occasion than that which can be found in the Bible. Religion, after all, is man’s answer to the things befalls us in this life that we cannot understand or control.

lady under cloudI’ve written several times about dealing with things that happen in life both big and small, so wander back through a few of those posts. A common theme is that the big scary things, sad or hurtful as they may be, don’t kill you and you must find a way to go on and that way is already within you – it is your inner strength. It is that thing that pulls you through when you think that you can’t go on. The Dali Lama calls it your inner strength. A pastor might call it the peace that passes all understanding. Some might call it guts. Whatever you call it, you must call upon it to get you through those tough times.  You’re still here. You’re still standing. You will go on. Don’t hang your head and look at your shoes; how it up and see the future.

There are many stories that come out every Memorial Day about those left behind in the wake of the tragedies of wars – the widows and children. There are also always stories of the great things that many of those widows and single moms accomplish after those tragedies. These are the women who found their inner strength and who not only met the challenge but went on to excel often establishing service organizations to help others going through tragedies of their own. They did not fall into despair, but, rather rallied into action.

So, how will you react to tragedies in your life? Will you fall into a mournful, “Woe is me” despair or find your inner strength and find some good to make of the situation? Finding your inner strength doesn’t make the hurt go away, but is does give you a better pain reliever that you’ll find in a bottle (of any sort). So, let’s end on another snippet from the Dalai Lama, taken out of the context of a longer quote…

…pain is inevitable; suffering is optional.

To avoid suffering,find your inner strength.