Connie Shaw


Virginia Virgil of Rumney, N.H., is a Marian messenger, speaker, spiritual teacher and intuitive counselor. She teaches a class in the lifelong learning program that is affiliated with Dartmouth College and gives Life Purpose telephone readings utilizing Mother Mary’s wisdom and guidance specific to each client caller.

A Holiday Message From Mother Mary - 2008

Mother Mary’s message for the New Year emphasizes the need to focus on creating a more loving relationship with ourselves.  We can do so by developing a greater sense of self-awareness regarding how we choose to view ourselves and how we allow ourselves to be defined by others’ perceptions of us. This understanding can help us to reprogram how we see ourselves in a more positive light.

She suggests that we go back to a time in our life when we felt most at home and comfortable in our own skin – a time when our self-esteem was intact, when we did not feel a need to have to do anything to please or impress anyone to feel good about ourselves.

Next, Mother Mary encourages us to remember when we first became aware of others’ perception of us – both positive and negative. At what point did the approval or disapproval rating by others regarding our personality traits, behavior, appearance and beliefs start to matter to us? Did we value and give as much weight to their compliments as we did to their criticisms? Did we feel as though we had to assume and enact a variety of personas that were not really us, in order to be accepted by, and fit in with others, including parents, siblings, peers, teachers, friends, clergy, neighbors, community members, a spouse, or employer?

Even though we may not have given these questions a lot of thought or assigned much importance to them, others’ evaluations of us, coupled with our own, play a major role in shaping our view of self and its treatment. We have imprinted these perceptions in tapes that play endlessly over and over again in our head.

The positive tape is imprinted with the treatment by those who accepted us “as is,” without trying to control, modify or change our behavior, personality traits, beliefs or appearance. Our accomplishments and successes are also recorded by our ego in this tape – the pleasant and enduring relationships we established with others; conditions in which we thrived and difficulties we were able to resolve and overcome; places we enjoyed and felt at home in; things we did well and loved to do; fond memories of time spent in nature and an appreciation for its beauty.

The negative tape is imprinted with the treatment of those who criticized, condemned and judged our behavior, appearance, beliefs and personality traits. These voices strove to change, modify and control us in these areas by pointing out our mistakes, what we lacked, our failures and our weaknesses. Our ego’s voice joined this negative litany by reminding us of our inability to accomplish or succeed the way we would have liked or the way others think we should have; failed relationships; conditions in which we did not fare well or were unable to overcome; memories of places in which we were unhappy and that heightened our sense of not fitting in, of not belonging; dislike and fear of, as well as unpleasant encounters with, animals or nature.

Mother Mary notes that since these positive and negative tapes are of our own making, we alone are responsible for their contents and the only ones who can edit and reprogram them. Therefore, as long as we look to others to validate or affirm us, we will define ourselves in a negative or positive way depending on whether or not they respond to us the way we want, need or expect them to. 

Our positive tape might need little, if any, alteration, as long as we don’t feel a need to compromise or change our personality traits, appearance, behavior and beliefs to suit the needs or expectations of others. We recognize that our self-esteem does not rise and fall based on their approval or disapproval in these areas.  Regardless of the way others view or treat us, we feel secure enough to remain in our own skin.

It is the negative tape and its imprints that we need to address and reprogram.  This tape contains the disapproval ratings of others regarding our personality traits, behavior, appearance and beliefs. It also is imprinted with our ego’s negative take on us, which all too often tends to focus on, and back up, the negative perception of others in these areas.

The question is: how do we get in touch with and turn around the less than complimentary views we have of ourselves and those we have visited on us by others? 

First, we need to remember that all negativity directed by others towards us belongs solely to them. They alone own it!  However, if we choose to allow ourselves to be defined by their unloving comments and treatment, that is our responsibility. Mother Mary reminds us that “sticks and stones can break our bones,” but others’ negative perceptions cannot hurt or define us – unless we let them.

Secondly, instead of repressing or ignoring negative thoughts, feelings and memories when they pop up seemingly out of nowhere, we need to acknowledge and address them. When did we first allow a specific person, place, condition, thing to define us in a negative way? What role has our ego played in underscoring and fortifying it?  Under what similar circumstances have these negative perceptions resurfaced over the ensuing years, gaining in momentum, strength and intensity?

By tracing the origins of shame, blame, guilt, anxiety, doubt and fear that plague us, and all too often control and define us, we can acquire the insight needed to view them in a more positive light. Remembering and replaying the situations that aroused these feelings in us can play a pivotal role in helping us to see whoever or whatever we allowed to define us in a negative way. This can include snubs, insults, slurs,  barbs, snide remarks, disgusted and angry looks, verbal attacks and put-downs; run-ins; negative comparisons; taunts, teasing;  being called lazy, a “patsy”, stupid, clumsy, spoiler, a bad sport; drag, misfit, a liar, cheat, thief, fat, ugly;  not doing our best or trying hard enough. 

Other examples could include experiences we might have undergone in childhood or in adulthood in which we defined ourselves in an unkind light. As youngsters, we might have viewed ourselves as “less than” and experienced a sense of anxiety and fear because we felt displaced or replaced by a younger sibling, or by one we saw as receiving special treatment. Rebelling against parental control and engaging in activities and behavior we knew they would not approve of could have aroused feelings of guilt and shame in us.

Public put downs by teachers or coaches could have led to our accepting that we were stupid or clumsy, arousing feelings of humiliation, shame and deficiency.

Peer taunting and teasing about our personality traits, the way we looked, behaved and believed could have resulted in accepting that we lacked what it took to fit in and belong. 

We might have allowed the loss of a job, being overlooked for a promotion, not receiving a raise, or the recognition we thought we deserved to lower our self-esteem.

Betrayal by a friend, a failed romance or marriage, or not being there to help or fix a child in trouble could have resulted in feelings of failure, blame and guilt.

How we interpreted and responded to any of these situations as they arose was up to us. 

Looking at these events or situations from a spiritual perception, we can see them as opportunities we chose to undergo for spiritual growth – chances to learn to remain centered and at ease in our own skin regardless of the negativity being directed against us by others. Instead of choosing to keep on playing the blame game, and accusing others of our poor take on ourselves, we can choose to refuse to allow their unloving use of energy to continue to adversely impact us.

As long as we allow people, places, conditions and things to determine the appropriateness of our behavior, beliefs, appearance and personality traits, we will continue to allow their negative takes in these areas to define us. Only by staying centered and comfortable in our own skin will we be able to feel good about our appearance, behavior, personality traits, and secure in our beliefs.

It’s time to spiritually update the tapes that play in our head – to scrutinize and assume responsibility for the negative contents of thoughts, feelings and memories that prompt us to see ourselves in a poor light.
We need to become “our new best friend,” using the way we treat those we love as a role model. We need to learn to display the same courtesy, respect, kindness, encouragement, appreciation and admiration toward ourselves that we so easily and willingly express toward others.

Lastly, Mother Mary encourages us to remember that there will always be those who dislike or disapprove of our personality traits and the way we believe, look and behave. Since we can’t please everyone all of the time in these areas, we might as well please ourselves by assuming and expressing our self in a persona in which we feel at home and comfortable! She hopes that the information she has shared with us will help us to understand how to increase our self-awareness and understanding to help bring about a more loving relationship with ourselves.

In closing, Mother Mary hopes that we enjoy a holiday season of caring and sharing filled with love, laughter and light, and that our New Year will mark the beginning of a new insightful and spiritual way of looking at and accepting ourselves. 

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