The Ten Poisons
I have come to believe that we all poison ourselves with our own thoughts. The effects of this kind of poison can be unhappiness, lack of productivity, lack of fulfillment and even physical maladies.
Here is a list of what I consider to be the most common poisonous thoughts, and the most toxic.
Every one of these poisons occur within us naturally. It is human nature to feel these things, and we are not bad or wrong when we do.
But if we don’t acknowledge these feelings, find solutions and release them, they will take hold within us and begin to poison us.
It may be that our ability to identify and rectify these feelings is our first best tool for creating happiness and success in life.
Fear serves a purpose. Fear helps us to avoid dangerous situations. But in our modern world we often fear things simply because they are outside of our comfort zone. Many times fear keeps us from trying new things, meeting new people and stretching our skills. In short, fear keeps us from doing the things that make us happy and successful.
Shame doesn’t serve any purpose at all. As with the next toxin, guilt, shame is often confused with having a conscience or a moral compass. But shame has no reflection on right and wrong. Shame is simply a bad feeling that we have about ourselves.
Guilt, like shame, serves no purpose. It is not a conscience or a sense of morality. While shame is a sense that one is bad, guilt is the sense that one has done bad things. If you have done something wrong, stop feeling guilty, ‘fess up and make amends. If you haven’t done anything wrong guilt is just your way of punishing yourself for nothing.
It is easy to feel resentment, even against those we love. We resent circumstances just as we resent people. It is easy to hang on to resentment long after the situation has ended. Instead of feeling resentful we need to acknowledge our hurt, confront the people responsible (if appropriate) and then find a way to heal and move on.
Anger is sometimes helpful. Anger can be a motivator. Anger can spur us to action. But anger can also leave us in the role of the victim rather than the survivor. Sometimes anger causes us to blame others for our problems rather than take responsiblity to make a change. Turn your anger into action and then let it go!
Jealousy, envy and comparison are all shades of the same deadly poison. When we compare ourselves to others we end up feeling either resentful or superior. We need to pay attention to our own lives rather than spending time and energy worrying about whether someone else got a better deal. The truth is no one gets any more or any less than anyone else. Each person has a different set of circumstances and challenges. It doesn’t make sense to be jealous of anyone.
Basically, if you can’t bend a little you’ll end up breaking. We all have to be able to see possibilities beyond what we might expect. We all have to admit that we don’t know everything. Each of us has our own personal truth. What is true for one may not be true for someone else.
This one should be obvious. Sadly, there are some popular spiritual beliefs that actually try to justify greed. Do not believe that Higher Power cares if you are wealthy or not. If you are going to waste your spiritual energy visualizing new jewelry for yourself you have a serious problem that money can’t solve. Greed comes from insecurity and spiritual poverty. Be secure in yourself and trust your Higher Power. Acknowledge your ability to meet your needs with ease.
Entitlement is a sister to greed. Do not believe that the world owes you anything more than air to breathe – and be grateful for that. In many ways gratitude is the opposite of entitlement. When we feel grateful for every blessing we live in a state of grace. If we work for what we want we are likely to be successful. If we wonder why we don’t have what we think we deserve we dwell in negativity rather than productivity.
The bottom line is this. We are each capable. We are each powerful. We can’t ever let anyone take that away from us. We can’t take that way from ourselves. We are survivors, not victims. We have the knowledge and the power to find solutions and to create opportunities. Know this, and you will always be in a position of power in your life.
There is an expression that my Spanish-speaking friends use. The English translation is this. “Nothing bad ever happens that something better doesn’t happen after.” Yes, terrible, tragic things happen. But good things always happen too. Some situations are indeed hopeless. But life overall is never without hope.
So there you have it. Be on the lookout for these ten poisons in your own life. When you find them, see it as a call to action! Take care of the situation, change your thinking and release that which no longer serves you.