I have a new daily practice. This one is about acknowledging the right of others to make the choices they do. Each night as I “lay me down to sleep,” I ask my guides: whose free will have I made conditional? The face of someone I know will float up into my consciousness, and I will take a moment or two to think about the ways in which I have judged them or given their opinion of me too much weight. How have I insisted that what they do or think is all right only insofar as they agree with me?
You have probably all heard this expression: “What you think of me is none of my business.” It is the title of a book written in the early 1980’s by Terry Cole-Whittaker, and I remember when this book came out and became popular. The first time I read the title, I thought, what? It’s not?
Allowing other people to think what they like about me has always been a tough concept, as it is my nature to take criticism and unkindly behavior to heart. (Who doesn't?) So I decided that in order to get a grip on this rather disempowering and—okay, I’ll just say it—annoying tendency of mine, I would adopt a seemingly nutty practice of giving others permission to say or do whatever they chose.
It does seem a bit counterintuitive to say to someone: You are free to think and say and believe whatever you want to about me. In fact, I encourage you to think and say and believe those things, no matter what, and I am deeply sorry for having ever denied you that right. I applaud and defend your right to reject, dislike, misunderstand or underestimate me—wholeheartedly.
I mean, who does that?
But here’s the thing, if it matters to you what others do or think, then you are losing power to them, personal power that could be applied in productive ways to your own life. You are investing in what they are doing and not in what you are doing.
You are better served by focusing fully on your own choices because so much of your future depends on the choices you make now. The choices you are led to make really do depend on where you have already been and what is not cleared or healed within. It is as if our unresolved past clouds and impairs our judgment—all the more reason to not hold folks accountable. They’re just working out their stuff, same as you.
Now, I am not saying you should allow someone to take advantage of you or harm you. But, energetically speaking, the best defense is no defense. If you are not carrying resentment towards others, you are not energetically “sticky” enough for more of the same discord to follow. When you fully and freely let go and hand over another’s right to their own choices, you gain a certain energetic neutrality that takes you out of that story and eliminates the need for it to be replayed.
When I took Sandra Ingerman’s workshop in Soul Retrieval years ago, I remember her talking about how resentment and anger, or even jealousy, for that matter, is a form of soul stealing, and this is precisely why. Expression of these emotions toward another is essentially the theft of their entitlement to free choice, their right to make mistakes, to be human and flawed, to learn, to fail, and sometimes, to triumph.
A guide of mine once told me that the only “sin” recognized by the spirit world is this: denying others their right to free will.
So, call me crazy, but this daily practice has cleared away some cobwebs for me—issues I kept revisiting and mulling over. I feel more in “right standing” with others in my life—past and present–and all the more free to exercise my own free will.