They begin their book with, "In our first few years, we all live with the faces we were born with. Beyond that, we start wearing the faces and living the lives we have created for ourselves . . .
To move toward being a whole person and toward feeling good on a moment-by-moment and day-by-day basis, each of us needs self-acceptance." We, at a very early stage in life, beign to accept ideas and beliefs about who we are from the outside world. We accept guilt; guilt for not being what the world expects us to be. We buy into negative views of ourselves. We develop beliefs about who we and others SHOULD be - based on no evidence but the views of those around us. The ideas of those around us are judgments and opinions of the "status quo." But we must come, as each individual, to self-acceptance. Daniels and Horowitz say, "At this point in your life, at this moment in time, however you are, it's all right for you to be that way." They refer to this as one of the most important statements in their book.
Daniels and Horowitz also quote Jesus from Luke 6:37-38: "Pass no judgment, and you will not be judged; do not condemn, and you will not be condemned; acquit, and you will be acquitted; give, and gifts will be given you . . . for whatever measure you deal out to others will be dealt to you in return."
So, we should pass no judgemet upon others, but importantly no judgement upon ourselves. Daniels and Horowitz continue, "A person who is habitually harshly critical makes a hard life for themselves. Few things steal more vitality from, or cast a darker shadow on one's life , than the habit of judging, condemning, and criticizing." This includes judging, condeming or criticizing others AND one's self. If we are to fully explore living positively, we must examine both our individual lives and our relationships with others.
Daniels and Horowitz, in talking about a group discussion of a book the group was reading, say "the surest way to deaden such a group is to exchange opinions rather than share experiences, to analyze and theorize rather than listen to and appreciate one another." A year of living positively is about learning to appreciate one another - and one's self!
A last idea from the chapter Judging and letting be: "'When I judge, I condemn, I criticize, I put down. Out loud or in my mind, I call you bad, not okay. what I say often comes down to "My way is right, and you're not only wrong, but are also some kind of fool."' So I suggest that a way to be positve is to let go of some words of put down that seem to pervade our societal discussions these days. The first one that I hear so often is jerk. Take this out of your vocabulary altogether. No one is a jerk. Everyone is God's creation. If you see someone as a jerk - you are commenting on the infinite, all-loving creator and sustainer of the Universe! And how about "you idiot?" Again, upon whom are you commenting? And possibly the most offensive is the synecdoche that calls one by a body part meant to represent their whole person. I will not stoop to say it, but how often do you hear - he or she is such an "a--------. " We have so much to overcome in our disrespect of one another. Many do not, and will never, agree with us - so let's just get over it. Those who do not agree with us are a part of God just as we are. Let us be very careful about the words we choose as we attempt to be always positive. THERE IS A PLACE WHERE AGREEMENT IS ALWAYS POSSIBLE. Negativity will never get us there.
(I behold you as the Divine Presence)
Gene Ford Runnels