Sunday, March 1, 2015

Your Move

If the quest for positive regard may be likened to a game, then I submit that its closest analog is Global Thermonuclear War; the only way to win is not to play.

The positive regard of others is a gift, not a wage. It cannot be earned; it is given only in accordance with the whims of the giver. You may do whatever someone expects of you - still, if they seek to withhold the positive regard you believed you had bargained for, you have no recourse. And if they shower it upon you without regard to your own action or inaction, that too, is their choice and theirs alone. You may appeal to their sense of consistency, fairness or obligation as much as you wish - but their sincere regard will be given when and if they wish you to have it, and not before.

You own positive regard is likewise a gift, or, if you prefer, a birthright. Bargaining with your Inner Critic for it is fruitless - the list of faults it can marshal against you is endless, and it knows just how to convince you of their accuracy. The "secret," such as it is, is to understand that your Inner Critic does not hold the positive regard that you seek - you do. And that all you need do to claim it is freely gift it to yourself. Just as regard for others may be given at a whim, so may regard for you.

To the extent that love is the absence of fear, then the love of you must be paired with the absence of the fear of you. And that comes with accepting one's own positive regard without condition or restriction. Choice may be simplest when options are limited, but choice is at its best when it understands that it is free to choose. The things we do that convince us of our own unworthiness do not come about because we are too free of the requirements of others, but because we are too constrained by the requirements of the self that we have constructed for ourselves.

No comments: