Photo: Noel Cianci, 2012
The authors of The Four Agreements and The Fifth Agreement, about the Toltec principles that lead to peace and self-understanding, explain why skepticism can help open your life to a new kind of happiness.
Have you ever asked yourself if something you heard was actually true? Have you ever wondered if someone was lying to you? Or worse yet, have you ever wondered, “Am I lying to myself?” Do you believe those voices in your head that are always giving you opinions? Do you tend to believe other people’s opinions?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, you will understand when being skeptical is a good thing.
Right now, you’re delivering a message to yourself and to everyone around you. You’re always delivering messages and you’re always receiving messages from one mind to another mind. But the most important messages are the ones you deliver to yourself. What are those messages? The word is a force you cannot see, but you can see the manifestation of that force, the expression of the word, which is your own life. The way to measure the impeccability of your word is to ask yourself: Am I happy or am I suffering? If you’re suffering it’s because you’re telling yourself a story that isn’t true, but you believe it.
When you look at yourself in a mirror, do you like what you see, or do you judge your body and use the word to tell yourself lies? If you believe that you are not attractive enough, then you believe a lie, and you are using the word against yourself, against the truth.
Is it really true that you are too heavy or too thin? Is it really true that you are not beautiful? If you’re telling yourself, “I’m fat. I’m ugly. I’m old. I’m not good enough. I’ll never make it,” then be skeptical. Don’t believe yourself because none of these messages come from truth, from life. These messages are distorted; they’re nothing but lies. The truth is, there are no ugly people. There’s no universal book of law where any of these judgments are true. Every judgment is just an opinion — it’s just a point of view — and that point of view wasn’t there when you were born.
Everything you think about yourself, everything you believe about yourself, is because you learned it. You learned the opinions from Mom, Dad, siblings, and society. They sent all those images of how a body should look; they expressed all those opinions about the way you are, the way you are not, the way you should be. They delivered a message, and you agreed with that message. And now you think so many things about what you are, but are they the truth?
Next: How to open your life to love, joy and freedom