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Perspective: Change begins within you

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By Ricardo Márquez

The life we lead of rushing around, stress and confusion increases tensions and conflicts between couples, families and friends. Accelerated changes shake the foundation of our traditions, beliefs and values that guaranteed us certain stability and security. Polarization and fanaticism emerge to compensate for the sense of insecurity and uncertainty unleashed by accelerated change.

Emotional reactions of rage or depression spike. We turn to alcohol and drugs to fuel our dreams instead of passion and drive, which are dying within. Life becomes unmanageable and some seek medical, psychological and spiritual help.

In the consultations, we hear the stories, open books packed with anxieties, sorrows, depressions and addictions. In these sacred encounters, the therapist, pastor or spiritual guide experiences the grace and the gift of another human being, just like himself, opening up to explore what is ailing his body, his mind and his soul.

Thanks to the feelings of dissatisfaction and discomfort that bloom in these crises, people seek the health and harmony lost in their lives; that is why we appreciate, encourage and value people who take the first step to seek help and support, to begin the road to healing, to acknowledge that I’m wounded and broken.

In these initial meetings, some people see themselves as victims of others, or of situations that they blame for their ills and dissatisfactions: “I feel overwhelmed by my wife’s demands”; “My kids don’t obey me, they are very rebellious”; “It’s not like before, when there was respect …” The focus is what’s occurring outside. It’s other people who make us feel bad.

The process of healing requires exploration, to learn to look inward to the labyrinths of our family’s origins, experiences, traumas and shadows. We are helped on this road by those who by experience, reflection and learning have already traveled this territory; they are shepherds, therapists and spiritual guides.

Interior exploration can be painful, like the labor pains that deliver life. Sometimes, there is rage or tears, unleashed in a secure space, letting in light and acceptance, which lead to peace and reconciliation.

In this process, we come to understand that change comes from within, and we begin to awaken, we begin to take the power away from others to affect our emotional states, and we begin the road to taking responsibility for our own reactions and responses.

“You” are not the cause of my ills; it’s “me” who interprets your words from the perspective of my own wounds and shadows, and from there I respond to defend myself and to attack you.

When I learn to accept myself and love myself, that’s when I can stand before you, not armed with arguments against you, vulnerable and compassionate … and from there I can recover my power and real self. From my self-acceptance and transformation, I can be the change that I want to see in others.

When life seems unmanageable, we recognize that our will, therapies or discipline are not enough. And it’s in that awareness that we open ourselves to grace, to Jesus, to the Holy Spirit. It’s the gift of faith that allows us to open ourselves to a transcendent dimension, to the source of the infinite love we have experienced, to which we confidently deliver ourselves, to be healed from our depths.

Ricardo Márquez can be reached at marquez_muskus@yahoo.com.

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