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Step Up and Away from Punishing Feelings

By Guy Finley

No one really wants to talk about it, but the truth is there is a kind of evil spell hanging over each of us, and our world as well. In fact, part of this global spell is our denial of its existence. It is called suffering. Everyone does it -- believing that their suffering somehow benefits them. That's how the spell works. Why else would anyone punish himself with unhappy feelings unless he had been tricked into somehow perceiving self-hurt as self-help?

Let's examine one of these instances. First of all, to be angry is to suffer. It doesn't help anyone to get angry. Anger hurts whoever is angry. It burns. Anger ruins relationships, causes heartache and regret, and devastates health. And yet, in spite of all of these facts, when we are angry it feels right. Somehow, in some unseen way, anger proves to whoever is experiencing its heated feelings that he or she is right even though, in the eyes of reality, nothing could be further from the truth. The same scenario holds true of worry, anxiety, resentment, doubt, guilt or any dark feeling. How can something so wrong seem so right? Here is the answer. All of these negative emotions feel like they are in your best interest because, at the time of their intrusion into your life, they temporarily fill you with a powerful false sense of self. However, this sense of self born out of fierce but lying feelings can only exist without your conscious consent or awareness of its being there. Why? Because this negative self's interests are not in your best interest. This conjured-up temporary identity is nothing but a self-of-suffering. No one chooses to lose.

This lesson may seem difficult at first, but with your persistent wish to understand it, you will one day wonder how you were ever tricked into feeling bad about anything. The Truth wants you to know that it is never in your best interest to suffer, no matter how inwardly convincing it may feel to you that you will be betraying yourself or someone else if you don't. The only way that any suffering feeling can prove to you that you need it is to hypnotize you with a flood of itself. Step back from yourself. Learn instead to listen to the quiet stream of higher insight that runs softly through your true nature. It sees through sorrow. Let it show you that suffering proves nothing. If you want to receive some special help for helping yourself escape yourself, always remember to ask yourself this key question: "If I am doing what I want to do, then how come it hurts me to do it?" The Truth guarantees you will stop doing what you don't want to do once you know what you have been doing against yourself.

Here are five powerful ways to snap the spell of suffering. As you read over each one, think about how you can use its insight the next time you are about to be washed by any flood of painful thoughts or feelings. Welcome their higher influence into your life...

  • Suffering doesn't prove that you are responsible. What it does prove is that you have abandoned true self-responsibility, or you wouldn't treat yourself so badly.
  • Suffering doesn't prove that you are important. What it does prove is that you would rather feel like a "someone" who is miserable than be a "no one" who is free and quietly happy.
  • Suffering doesn't prove that you are all alone in life. What it does prove is that you prefer the company of unfriendly thoughts and feelings whose very nature is to isolate you from everything good.
  • Suffering doesn't prove that someone else is wrong. What it does prove is that you will go to any lengths, including self-destruction, to prove that you are right.
  • Suffering over your suffering doesn't prove that you want to stop suffering. What it does prove is you are afraid of the end of suffering because you think the end of it means the end of you. It does not.

You do not have to accept any inner-condition that compromises your happiness. It is never right to feel wrong no matter how right you may think you are to be feeling that way. Feeling one way and thinking another is what it means to live in conflict. Self-conflict is really the only suffering there is; therefore, self-unity is the only real solution that can snap the spell of self-suffering.

Here is an exercise to help you take the first step up and away from self-punishing feelings...

Is This What I Really Want?
The next time you catch yourself starting to feel bad about anything, immediately stop everything you are doing for a moment and, as simply and as honestly as you can, ask yourself: Is this what I really want? Try to see the whole self-picture as it is unfolding. You will discover that your thoughts are convinced that you must proceed in their direction of guilt, worry, revenge, or fear but you are the one who is feeling bad. These self-betraying thoughts are like a friend who invites you out to a pleasant evening at the fights and then you find yourself in the ring as the main event! I repeat, you do not have to accept any condition that compromises your happiness.

You can and must inwardly say to any conflicting thoughts or feelings that, "You are not what I want!" The clearer this whole picture becomes to you -- that suffering is stupid and must never be justified -- the stronger your right self-assertion for self-unity will become. A whole life is a happy one. Choose to have a happy life by choosing what you really want.

Excerpted from The Secret of Letting Go by Guy Finley.

Guy Finley is the best-selling author of more than 40 books and audio albums on self-realization. He is the founder and director of Life of Learning Foundation, a nonprofit center for self-study located in southern Oregon where he gives talks four times each week. For more information get your free Guy Finley Starter Kit. You will receive several free downloadable gifts including a special newsletter filled with helpful insights and encouragement emailed to you once each week.

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