So often we get caught up in the idea that it’s what’s outside of us that is causing our suffering, and if we could make changes to those aspects, life would be better. We think that if our father wasn’t so angry – we could get along better with him, or express our love more deeply. We imagine that if we had another job we would look forward to work and express our creativity more fully. We tell our friends that if we had a relationship with someone who was supportive of our goals and aspirations, rather than someone who did not understand us, everything would be different.

Well, the truth is that life is not perfect according to what we might imagine in our minds. It is filled with folks who have their own mind and point of view about all kinds of issues. People have wounds and sore spots that we aren’t always aware of, and they express themselves through the filter of these wounds. It would be nice if our parents were kind and loving, our partners in our personal and business lives were supportive of our creative abilities, and if people honored our desires and wishes in life.

It’s not likely that these people will manifest change tomorrow. Therefore, waiting for tomorrow to be happy is not a very productive life strategy! As spiritually aware people we must take responsibility for how we choose to create our lives despite what others are doing and saying. Yes, it’s possible to express our love to our father even if he is an angry person. If we wait for him to change first – we could be waiting into our next lifetime! No, we must make the effort first because we want to love and because our love is not based upon what someone else is doing – in other words it is unconditional.

The same applies to waiting to express ourselves fully in life, or waiting for the people in our life to change, or support our dreams and desires. We must be the action in life, not the reaction. When we wait for others to take action first, we make ourselves the reaction to their actions. But if we believe that we create our reality and that we hold divine power – then we will take responsibility for being the action and allow the others in our life to be the reaction. Once you change they will do so in kind – although you must be patient and allow them to adjust to your changes. Give them time to digest your change in actions so that they can create new reactions. Then you can evaluate from there whether or not your actions need tweaking.

Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj once said: It is always the false that makes you suffer, the false desires and fears, the false values and ideas, the false relationships between people. Abandon the false and you are free of pain; truth makes happy, truth liberates. Wise words! It’s time we see the falsehood in our thinking and recognize the truth. We create our own suffering from these false ideas and ways of framing our lives. It’s up to us to make those changes right now, and take responsibility for life and the stories we tell ourselves about it.

As always, I wish you the best on your path.

Author's Bio: 

Dr. Sheri Rosenthal is a master Toltec teacher and author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Toltec Wisdom and WITH Forgiveness. Having trained with don Miguel Ruiz, author of The Four Agreements, she currently takes students on spiritual journeys, works with personal apprentices and enjoys being extremely happy. You can reach her at