Opening up to Joy


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To begin to live in joy you must love and accept yourself. And although I am not excluding our higher existence, I am deliberately focusing on the smaller self—the regular, human, everyday you that needs to be loved and accepted exactly as it is, for how it has been, and for however it will be.

Acceptance is a function of self-love. Succumbing is its opposite and is a function of apathy. Apathy keeps us from experiencing the joy within us. Apathy is a preoccupation with the unaccepted and judged past. Succumbing to the onslaught of critical thinking overwhelms us and we ruminate on negative assessments of the circumstances, others, and ourselves.

“I can’t control the wind, but I can control the sails. "

Notice I said succumbing overwhelms us, not the thoughts. When we become apathetic we begin to spiral downward and we convince ourselves that our situation is hopeless and that the future will be the same if not worse than the past. We feel fragmented and powerless. Succumbing to this negativity is the antithesis of self-love and joyful living. The adventure of enlightenment becomes a nightmare and something to get out of, instead of a dream to be lived in.

“Love yourself first and everything else falls into line. You really have to love yourself to get anything done in this world. " ­Lucille Ball

Acceptance is distinct from apathy. Where succumbing renders us powerless and keeps us stuck in the past, acceptance liberates us from the past and allows us to take positive action in the present moment. Succumbing breeds fear. Acceptance is an opening to joy.

Our thoughts and belief systems affect us physiologically. The thoughts we think release chemicals into our system. Negative thoughts deplete us, and positive life affirming thoughts align us with our joy.

You cannot change the past. You can change your attitude towards it. Acceptance allows that change to take place. By challenging ourselves to love and accept the parts of ourselves that we may eventually want to change, we override the critic that drains us, and we disallow the thought and belief systems that deplete our energy. Love and acceptance move us to take positive action.

What you have already done and thought is complete. Accept what you have already done or not done, and move yourself from the past to the present. How you are with the present moment is what matters. It is an act of wisdom to love and accept your ego, your body, your thoughts, your feelings and your past. Begin by loving and accepting whatever the condition you may find yourself in at any given moment.

“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. "

Self-love is the most influential healing energy. Self-love is the highest teaching and the one most regularly overlooked. The absence of it keeps us stupid. We become stuck in a downward spiral of figuring it all out. Attempting to appear intelligent in our findings we become puppets of the altered ego and slaves to dissatisfaction.

I suggest that each morning, throughout the day, and again before going to sleep, that you repeat to yourself, “Regardless of (what is or is not happening, or has or has not happened, or will or will not happen) I deeply and completely love and accept myself. "

And if you really want to disentangle yourself from the chains of the past, then you can extend the statement to include “others. " “Regardless of (what so and so said about me) or (my anger, or fear, or suspicion about_ ), I deeply and completely love and accept myself and others. "

If you are not ready to include “others" yet then say, “Even though I am not ready to include others, I deeply and completely love and accept myself. " Try it—it works.

Self-love is the most effective remedy for internal chaos. Wishing and hoping that things were different along with complaining about what went wrong is energy depleting to the point of shame, self-sabotage and physical sickness.

Positive feelings cannot co-exist with negative thoughts. Change your mind; change your mood.

Our bodies and our minds respond in an open and positive manner to life-enhancing input . Admiration, gratitude, cheerfulness, and amusement enhance our reception of more expanded vibrations of our LifeForce. The LifeForce is exactly that, a force of life. It is life giving, and aligns us with the joy of ongoing eternal life. Each of us is responsible for fostering the LifeForce within us and aligning our minds to receive the highest levels of input. This is cooperation and therefore co-creating with Life.

(If you are not in those experiences right now then say, “Even though I am not feeling admiration, gratitude, cheerfulness or amusement, I deeply and completely love and accept myself. ")

On the other hand, our bodies and our minds respond negatively to input that has the intention of making us wrong. Usually we do this to keep ourselves from moving forward. Self-sabotage is about hating ourselves to the point of not wanting to be seen. Hiding does not allow us to continue to be alive and prosperous. We hide because there are parts of our experience that we assess as unworthy of acceptance and love.

(If you play here a lot then say, “Even though I am hiding and feel unworthy of acceptance and love, I deeply and completely love and accept myself. ")

It is important to remember that we are here to grow and learn. We easily forget this when we become uncomfortable with people and conditions in our lives. We forget that the Universe in its infinite wisdom has engineered these impeccable circumstances for our schooling. This includes the people with whom we interact. This also includes the responses that we experience in ourselves and the responses we give and receive from others.

It is important to acknowledge these responses and the conditions that seemingly caused them.

“Even though I am upset with _, I deeply and completely love and accept myself. "

“Even though I (did or did not do such and such), I deeply and completely love and accept myself. "

“Even though I screwed this up, I deeply and completely love and accept myself. "

“Even with these feelings of self hatred, I deeply and completely love and accept myself. "

“Even though I am confused and lost regarding _, I deeply and completely love and accept myself. "

“Even though I thought I had this managed, I deeply and completely love and accept myself. "

“Even though I have a hard time accepting _ about myself (or another), I deeply and completely love and accept myself. "

“Regardless of everything that has occurred, I deeply and completely love and accept myself. "

“Even when I don’t understand what is happening or why, I deeply and completely love and accept myself and others. "

Since we are all learning, every one of us is important and needed. We touch each other’s lives in ways that may seem unnecessary and unwanted at times and therefore we judge these interactions as bad or wrong. But in a greater understanding, everything is exactly as it should be for the lesson and opportunity to expand and grow. This is why it is necessary to remind ourselves of the essential principles of acceptance and self-love.

Happiness is a function of accepting what is. Self-love and happiness go hand in hand. Before change can be accomplished, acceptance of “what is" must occur. You cannot change what you pretend does not exist.

It is difficult to accept the parts of ourselves that we want to dismiss and disown. It is also embarrassing and sometimes humiliating to see what needs to change within us if we want to grow. Nevertheless, we will grow. And with the growth comes change.

Lasting change always follows an inner change.

“To attempt to change circumstances before you change your imaginal (inner) activity is to struggle against the very nature of things. There is no outer change until there is an inner imagined change. "

A positive inner change coincides with the development of inner strength. Inner strength is a function of self-love. This inner strength (self-love) allows us to become aware of what is actually happening inside of us, and outside in the external world of circumstances. By acknowledging and accepting what is happening inside and out we align ourselves with the action of the omniscient, omnipotent and omnipresent flow of love. This is joy. Unity with this force is life giving. Perceived separation from it, through non-acceptance and intolerance, is deadening.

Begin to accept yourself exactly as you are right now. It is a powerful tool that opens us up to self-love.

Love transforms. Love embraces. Love gives of itself. And most importantly, Love never fails.

This is your life. Don’t miss it.

Matt Garrigan is a motivational speaker, the founder of LifeForce Educational Corporation and the creator of The Liberty Experience Training , The Mastery Course and the Awakened Potential Course. Matt has been a pioneer in the human potential movement since 1980. His exceptional goal oriented coaching techniques, expanded consciousness training, awareness counseling, integrity coaching and spiritual guidance have assisted thousands of individuals in transforming the quality of their lives. As a motivational speaker Matt’s ability to uniquely integrate many different philosophies and practices, combined with his steadfast commitment to empower people, makes his work a potent, life enhancing experience that sheds light on new possibilities in communication, relationship, prosperity and enlightenment.

You may reprint this article in your newsletter as long as appears exactly as printed above including the links.

© Matt Garrigan –


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