Heaven Down To Earth - Words of Spiritual Guidance
by Rev. Paul Werner
Chapter 21 - Self-Confidence
Imagine. Imagine a God that welcomes you home. Imagine a world that is filled with individuals who have perfected their love. Imagine yourself as one of them. You will become whatever you imagine. Your mind obeys the thoughts you fantasize, especially the secret ones you cannot easily express to most people. You are what you believe about yourself, and the manifestation of that faith eventually becomes the "you" others see. Expand your horizon. Become more aware of the world, and the spirit flourishing within you. If you feed your spirit complaints, bitterness, and resentment it may become ugly, tangled, and contorted. However, if you constantly feast on positive thoughts about your God, your True Parents, yourself, and the people in your world, your spirit will grow strong and beautiful.
Your self-image is a creation you alone fashion. God has a hand, but His involvement reaches certain limits. Although God has the blueprint for your life, you are the master designer of your self-esteem. You have the advantage of being able to hold up the pattern of True Parents against yourself and judge the fit. As you do, why not make the alterations and adjustments necessary to nurture your self-image. Confidence in yourself is important. Become a champion of love; dwell on positive thoughts, dreams, and images. Have a rich and vivid imagination. Imagine yourself as the child of God you are.
Once the inside of a person shines, the outside will also become luminous. If you have a plain face but your eyes are as radiant as the sunshine, people see nothing else. Your eyes tend to dominate your whole face when there is an inner luster. If there is dullness inside, your eyes cannot radiate. A beautiful girl whose eyes are not bright, does not have a glow about her. Many women may use a great deal of makeup with the intention of looking attractive, but the vibrations that come from them are often repulsive and their eyes have no spiritual light.
Physical imperfections can be balanced by inner beauty; it is a quality important to cultivate. When you do, everything within you will vibrate. When you become spiritual and close to God, all aspects of your life will become more harmonious. Your dress and appearance will naturally reflect these changes. Once all your senses work together and communicate with each other, you will become better able to distinguish true beauty and art. Any negativity you may have harbored will disappear. When the spirit becomes energetic, everything else comes alive. Your confidence will soar and you will begin to live the life God intends for you.
If a person experiences an inner change, an external change will usually ensue. An individual with an enthusiastic spirit is generally quite energetic and active.
The way we dress actually reflects many of our feelings and attitudes about life and especially about ourselves. Often people dress exclusively in a solitary rather dull color. When I see someone dressed in mostly subdued colors, I wonder if this reflects an inner lackluster. If I see the same person wearing more bright and cheerful colors which are well harmonized, my heart is immediately uplifted. Furthermore, I tend to have more faith in that person because I feel he believes in himself.
Wear several colors that blend together nicely. In order to improve your self-confidence, dress in attire that says you are grateful to be alive and are proud to be a son or daughter of God. When you win victory over negativity or depression, make sure your clothes also reflect this improvement. Clothing does not have to cost much money. It may not be necessary to buy many new clothes; be creative and use your imagination to better coordinate the clothes you already own. When harmony starts from within you, your sense for beauty will become more keen. People will watch and want to mirror the way you dress and act, as well as your ideology and the words you speak.
It takes little effort and money to transform your present wardrobe. Use your flair. Sometimes a few accessories can enhance the development of your unique style. This is one good method to help improve your self-confidence. You will feel ten feet tall once you do.
The consciousness of man is unique. Some people are self-destructive; they don't respect or believe in themselves. If you have a low opinion of yourself, think of what you are saying about God. To maintain such a feeling about yourself actually degrades Him because your body is God's body, your mouth God's mouth, and your heart God's heart.
Study and come to know yourself. If you do that, you will have additional power to exercise self-control and master your environment. By studying your own words, gestures, and vibrations you will be able to adjust certain characteristics and even upgrade your image and gain self-confidence.
We are inundated with ideas demonstrating how to become an individual with style and taste. Television and radio saturate the public with commercials which readily assure us that if we use a certain product we will become a desirable person, a person worth knowing, and an individual in the latest vogue.
The advertisers have injected us with confidence in their client's merchandise. The famous stars that endorse certain products may have tried and then come to trust them. Consequently, they become good sales people. In order to sell a product, a person must first believe in it.
Do you believe in yourself? Do you have a strong enough conviction to sell your personality to others? In forming relationships and friendships, it is essential to believe in your own self-worth. In witnessing, fundraising, or any other mission, the actual product you sell is you. A healthy dose of self-esteem is an absolute necessity if you want people to "buy" you. Believe in your product-believe in yourself. Once you do, you can go out and even sell snow to the Eskimos!
The only limitations upon us are the ones we set ourselves. We are the ones who place the restrictions on the amount of work we do, what we achieve, and how much God can work through us. If we team up with God, we can accomplish anything. Developing confidence is partially a mental process. In this sense, our mind can be our ally or foe.
When we develop confidence our spiritual, mental, and physical health will improve. God has cancelled our past and begs us not to dwell on it. We should relate to the present and develop faith in the future. We must come to realize that we are ultimately able to master anything if our desire and motivation is great enough.
Self-confidence involves confronting life. If we shy away, we climb on and ride an inner merry-go-round from which we cannot easily disembark. Confront life as it is. If you go to the back door and see a lot of snow, don't turn around and go through the front door. Cope with it.
When you nurture a positive and optimistic attitude, you will feel your own value. Life is not always easy or beautiful. As you walk this path of faith, it is inevitable that you have to trudge through struggles as well as climb to summits. But there is one thing to remember irregardless of whether you stand on a peak or in a valley-you are a son or daughter of God. That alone can give you incredible self-confidence. Know with assurance that with God, anything and everything is possible. You can have the same kind of faith in True Father.
It is relatively easy to develop that confidence in God and True Parents because we constantly witness the evidence of their numerous victories. However, our individual self-esteem may not be as solid. We reflect on the things we should accomplish as well as our dreams, and then tend to stamp the word "impossible" across the plans and don't complete them. Yet given our position, this attitude is incongruous; we are their sons and daughters and can do anything in the name of our God and True Parents.
Why not erase the word "impossible" from your vocabulary.
You will be a winner in life if you focus on the whole world and in your heart at least try to comprehend the sufferings and joys of all humanity. With such an attitude, you will triumph over selfishness and greed. Perhaps the people in the secular world view our lives as rather inconsequential and may see our contribution to society as something less than significant. But we must be convinced that what we are doing here today is not merely for ourselves, our marriages, our movement, or even a certain nation. We must solidify our faith and believe that our actions are ultimately for the benefit of all people throughout the world.
One of the biggest mistakes we can make is to compare ourselves with others -- both those inside and outside the movement -- using their standard, behavior, or experiences as the gauge. Each of us must walk a different course of individual and family level restoration, but if we constantly assess our progress in terms of other people, we may tend to veer off the track we are meant to walk.
Share your experiences with people. Learn from each other and help one another, yet do not ignore the fact that we are all different personalities. God has endowed to us very unique talents and facets of His nature. However, the way each of us connects to God, True Parents, and spirit world may differ. The principal tool every person must use to relate with others is heart. But no two hearts are the same; no two people are totally alike.
The common denominators Unificationists use to come to God are the truth of the Principle and the Messiah. One person may gain success easy because of his background or ancestry; he may seem to glide into Heaven on the blessings of the past. Another individual may have ancestors, such as pirates or slave traders, who engaged in evil activities. That person is required to purify a number of generations therefore he may labor hard and long with few results or seemingly little progress. Yet once the amount of indemnity needed to atone the sins of those generations has been paid, he may find that he propels forward with ease and suddenly great results are his. Some people may need to make painstaking efforts to have the same kind of experience that another person who has just joined the movement may undergo.
All people are bound to invisible spiritual laws. Comparing yourself to another person only creates instability. As "Desiderata" reminds us, "if you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself." True or healthy self-confidence is never borne by rating yourself against another.
As you develop self-esteem, you will naturally feel more secure. You have to come to accept yourself. Each of us has talents and abilities as well as handicaps. See them as such and work on improving them. If you develop self-confidence on the basis of the power of God, your heart and spirit will be transformed. Previously, your insecurity was based upon ignorance of God and His laws. Yet since meeting the Principle, that unawareness has been replaced by knowledge of the truth. You gain inner stability from it. Enumerate the reasons you have to be self-confident, and step by step fear will vanish as God's presence increases within you.
Courage is the consciousness you receive if you are absolutely united with God. Awareness becomes an attitude. Recognize that the greatest power in the universe is God; know and trust that He is with you. Christians had remarkable courage because of their faith in Jesus. Their fervent desire was to be with him, even at the cost of their lives. A multitude of Christians faced certain death, as they encountered the lions in the Roman Colosseum, yet boldly stood up and confronted their demise. They were brave because they had God.
It is the same for us today; if we connect with God, we will have the guts to stand up to Satan.
It is important not to look at things too abstractly. Living a life of faith in purity and humility brings us closer to perfection. This world is still imperfect, full of danger and injustice. The present situation of the world affords none of us the chance to live life according to the Principle. The Principle is the law of God, but for far too many, God does not exist. We are constantly confronted and bombarded by Satan and his colleagues. We often don't know on which side we stand.
If we were not challenged by the satanic world and could live without being exposed to evil, we could more easily serve God and live with Him. We wouldn't have to force ourselves to pray. Prayer would be natural and creative. We would already live a beautiful life and find ourselves in an environment that is quite spiritually elevated. Problems and trouble arise through our confrontations with the world. That is how our faith in God and True Parents is measured. We have to prove ourselves many times a day. If it was not for these challenges, we would already live in heaven. We would not defy or inflict pain upon one another. Despite some sins of omission, such as depriving others of our love, we would be much more consistent and tolerant; our integrity would be displayed in everything we do.
Unificationists do not necessarily live easy lives; however, in contrast to many people in society, our constant challenges tend to elevate our spiritual level and sensitivity. We go out again and again-witnessing, fundraising, or working in many other missions. Sometimes we may be a bit downhearted, but nevertheless we persevere year after year. Our ability to do so indicates our closeness to God; He continues to inject us with strength and power to endure. We must continue to understand His heart and perceive His suffering, not allowing ourselves to stagnate but go on being His channels. That is why we should never underestimate ourselves.
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