Advent notes: Other people’s images of you

On this Advent journey, however you travel, stay free of images imposed on you by others, whether they are complimentary or harsh.

They are simply the passing mood of another and they distract you from being you.

You are not what people make you.

If they say you’re brilliant, beautiful, hilarious or wise you are not brilliant, beautiful, hilarious or wise.

You are simply pleasing them and their present mood.

And if they say you are disappointing, deficient, ugly or stupid, you are not disappointing, deficient, ugly or stupid.

You are simply dissatisfying them and their present mood.

Enjoy praise, like the passing scent of honeysuckle, but do not hold on to the image anyone has of you, nice or nasty.

If you hold on to it, they will have power over you and you will be afraid to be yourself, to live truthfully, lest you offend them.

You will contort yourself to fit or deny their image; you will begin to pretend and say goodbye to your source.

So this Advent, as the journey unfolds, stay free of images imposed on you by others; laugh at these fickle jokers.

They are smoke in the wind, another’s passing mood…and may distract you from the waking mystery and strength of yourself.

(Inspired by Tony de Mello)

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