One of the things I have learned through my studies on Toltec wisdom is that the way we see ourselves is not the way other people perceive us. As don Miguel Ruiz teaches, when we write in our minds the story of our lives, we are the main characters, and others are the supporting actors and actresses. In their stories, we are written in as the supporting roles. How they construct our character in their story may or may not be the way we construct or perceive ourselves. Rarely, are we fully aware of how others perceive us. Even if they share their perceptions with us, they are limited by their ability to communicate their perceptions of us.
When people speak to us, it is a reflection of what they are saying as the character they have created in their minds. How we respond to what others have to say about us is about us. It is this self-awareness of how we respond which can become a tool in our own spiritual healing and growth. What others say to us are just lines from their story. They only have the power to affect us to the extent we allow them to do so.
I have come to see everyone and everything in my life as a tool. Sometimes they are tools, which affirm my growth and healing in my own journey. This happens when I became aware that I am no longer allowing others comments or actions to affect my perception of self because I have developed the ability to not take their thoughts personally. Other times, I become aware that I am responding in a positive way to what others are saying or doing because it is in agreement with what I believe about myself. While being aware of these positive thoughts is awesome, they also become a tool to help me become aware of where I might still need to do some self-affirmation work. For example, as a very full figured woman in a world that values thinness, I continue to affirm myself daily to remind myself I am beautiful just as I am right now. When others, like my wife, tell me I am beautiful or attractive, I find myself soaking it in like a glass of hot cocoa on a cold wintry day or a glass of cold water on a hot day. The compliment is just that, a compliment. However, the Universe is using the person delivering it as a tool to help in my healing as a reminder to love myself unconditionally for who I am right at this moment.
Sometimes, however, others words are used as a tool to unlodge something which needs to be removed from our belief system, or just needs a little attention. Think about a time when somebody said something to you which stirred up intense feelings within you, which made you feel as if you wanted to defend yourself because he or she was getting in your business. Rather then striking back verbally, what if we looked at why we were taking this personally? What were we resisting? What is it about what was said that is hard to hear? I should be clear that the situations I am referring to are those when somebody challenges you to look at something in yourself that you have not wanted examine. In these moments, these people are being used as a tool as well to help us pay attention to what in us is screaming out for attention.
In my own journey, I have learned to give thanks for those who have allowed the Universe to use them as a tool to help me in my journey. Some people are used as tools to helps us heal through affirmations. Others are used as tools, which, like heat sinking missiles, blast something loose, which needs to be explored and healed. In any case, give thanks for the tools sent to your life; use them to help you in your own journey of healing and growth. Remember, the Universe is using you as a tool in someone else’s journey.