Iíve been having a lot of stress and anxiety dreams, lately. Iíve also noticed that Iíve been carrying a lot of tension in my neck and shoulders.

Because of the dramatic changes in my weekly routine, I suppose itís expected. Iím doing a little better today than I was earlier this week.

With this extra stress, Iím learning a lot of new things about myself. For one, Iím better at handling stress than I ever have been in the past.

I think now I just realized something, too. If you want people to have faith in you, you have to have faith in yourself, first.

I think that deep down, we all feel that each individual is the best measure of her own worth, and if a person doesnít value herself, no one else is going to value her, either.

I believe (philosophically, and in my spiritual practice) that weíre all equally valuable and equally deserving.

We waste an infinite amount of time constantly looking for ways to see how we measure up. Somehow, we get it in our minds that if we can somehow prove that weíre smarter or more skilled, or if weíve suffered more, that other people will suddenly find us more deserving.

That does happen, too. People do believe suffering is a measure for what a person deserves (Although, for some reason, that doesnít prompt us to drop everything and fly to Africa, even if means saving one person, who, by that measure, should be an exceptionally deserving individual).

If a person is smarter or more skilled than another, then it just means sheís equipped to give more back. If someone has suffered more, then she has been given the opportunity to learn compassion for others who are suffering.

Iíve known quite a few people who are exceptionally smart and talented and have suffered immensely (many still are). Sometimes they never leave that cycle. Faith in oneself seems to the one virtue that is absolutely necessary to change a negative pattern.

In some cases, the pattern even deepens as more suffering piles up, and they convince themselves that someday, the universe is going to recognize it and make things fair.

Unfortunately, it doesnít work that way. Entire races have almost been completely wiped out because it doesnít work that way.

I think faith in myself is the most valuable lesson Iíve learned within the past few years.

Anyway, Iím looking forward to tomorrow. Iím helping serve thanksgiving dinner in a nursing home. I often forget that Iím a member of a huge volunteer organization (which is surprising, considering they email me twice a week), and I must admit that it wasnít my idea, at first. Adam brought it up, which prompted me to contact them.

I think the last time I volunteered may have been over a year ago.

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Wednesday, Nov. 21, 2007 at 11:48 AM