We all struggle with periods of confusion in our lives. Failures and disappointments trigger them, especially the ones that you were certain your efforts would guarantee success. Trying to sort why things failed can be so perplexing that you feel it is as though the forces of darkness and light within you are locked in a fierce battle to control your mind. Sometimes this fight can be so fierce that it can leave you feeling powerless and overwhelmed. The seeming contradiction we all face is that it is during those periods when we are living through oppressive and abusive times, that we must choose the path of light.
One sure way to prevent darkness from taking over your peace of mind is to identify and then avoid the toxic people in your life. Toxic people love creating evil and enjoy living in the darkness. You know you are around them because you sense their negativity. No matter what the issue, they make it a drama. They harm you with their jealousy and their demeaning actions. When you are struggling with challenges in your life, toxic people will add to your burden. Regardless of their relationship with you, be they friends or family, they are not there to help you. Surround yourself as best you can with those who help you become the best you can be.
I realize this is more difficult to do when toxic people hold positions of power over us, like a parent, a mate, a boss, a community or government leader. These are the times you must have faith that, no matter how hard they try, they cannot imprison your soul with their darkness. This is the example Martin Luther King Jr. and Nelson Mandela teach us. By steadfastly shining their light, they eventually toppled oppressive circumstances. There are many others in history who teach us the same.
This battle of darkness and light is relevant in our lives because it teaches us to identify the difference between the two so we can choose the path of light.
The way of Mother Teresa
Mother Teresa summarized the best way to shine a light in the darkness by the words written on the walls of her home for children in Calcutta.
People are often unreasonable, irrational, and self-centered. Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives. Be kind anyway.
If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies. Succeed anyway.
If you are honest and sincere people may deceive you. Be honest and sincere anyway.
What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight. Create anyway.
If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous. Be happy anyway.
The good you do today, will often be forgotten. Do good anyway.
Give the best you have, and it will never be enough. Give your best anyway.
In the final analysis, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.
Have you noticed that you can see the smallest flame from far away in the darkness? This metaphor teaches you why you must keep your own flame lit, so others will be able to notice and follow your flicker from far away. I know this is hard when you are sure you have nothing left, but if you keep your light flickering, the Universe will give you what you need to keep it burning. This is your way out even when all you see is the surrounding darkness.
Previously published here and reprinted with the author’s permission.