Terrorists and Self-Acceptance

je-suis-charlieTerrorists and Self-Acceptance
Look at What I Created

What happened in France last week shocked the world. The cold-blooded murders were bad enough, but what really pushed everyone’s buttons was that it was the direct challenge and affront to our values, especially freedom of expression.

(Note: The U.S. limits this more than most. Any American proclaiming “Je suis Charlie,” should realize the U.S. would never have allowed that paper to exist in the first place. That’s probably why they didn’t send someone in high office to participate in the parade of other world leaders.)

But in terms of the pure violence displayed on that day, it was nothing compared to the sickening, ongoing violence, especially against women, that is happening daily in Nigeria, Syria, Iraq, North Korea, and many other parts of the world, almost all of it in the name of some religion or another.  

But consider this. According to the law of cause and effect, it is a spiritual principle that whatever is occurring ‘out there’ is a reflection of what is ‘in here.’ Whatever is showing up in the world is a projection of our own consciousness (beliefs, ideas, attitudes, and prejudices.)

Wow! Look what we created!

Not very pretty, to say the least. But that’s how it is, right now. Accept it.

Feel the pain – OK, but stop judging it. Everything happens for a reason, remember?

Do we know what the reason is? No. Of course, not.

But this much we do know:

The terrorists [our healing angels?] have got our attention. They are showing each one of us what we need to heal in ourselves: e.g. intolerance, violence, control and manipulation, lust for power, manic religiosity, mysogyny, cruelty, hatred, etc., before we can have peace within ourselves and in the world.

So, is action NOT called for? Yes, it is. Absolutely.

Here’s what you need to do if you want to make a difference in whatever is happening that you find upsetting. And it doesn’t matter if it’s a world event or something very local and personal. It’s all the same process – taking back the projection and healing our minds.

Taking back the projection is the easy part. This is done simply by realizing that what you see out there is what you need to love and accept in yourself. You then forgive the ‘mirror’ on that account, using the Radical Forgiveness worksheet.

The real challenge, though is coming to love and accept those aspects of your ‘shadow-stuff’ being mirrored back to you from ‘out there.’

And yes, I did say, loving and accepting. Not rejecting, releasing or any words that typify too many approaches to healing one’s shadow. They don’t work.

Every one of the qualities I listed earlier (intolerance, violence, control and manipulation, lust for power, manic religiosity, misogyny, cruelty, hatred, etc., that the terrorists are mirroring for us, are sustained by a belief, or set of beliefs, of some kind.

For example:   “I will be a victim unless I strike first.” “Other people are responsible for my happiness.” “My religion gives me permission to be immoral and relieves me of responsibility if I believe it is God’s will.” “The world is an unsafe place.” “I have to kill or be killed.” “I have to be violent to get attention.” “Women are less than men,” “Women should be kept in their place;” “Women are dangerous.” “I have to be in control.” “I need to have power over others to feel good about myself.” “It’s not OK to speak the truth.” “My religion is the only religion.” “If I die after killing a lot of people, I will be rewarded in heaven.”

So a good place, to start, is to look at what the ‘mirror’ is showing you – and you can tell what it is by how much judgment (energy) you have around it – and then look inside to see if you have a belief in you that might promote you acting this way yourself.

Even if you cannot be specific, just focus on the ‘mirror’ (terrorists) and all that it represents. Then pray, meditate or do a Self-Acceptance worksheet for help in coming to love yourself for having these beliefs, as well as loving and accepting the beliefs that underly the behavior.

You have to love them as part of who you have been up to now, and be open to the possibility that they have served you in some way. Love them for what they have done for you, even if you can’t see it.

I know. It’s totally counterintuitive, isn’t it? Love my violent streak? My mysogynistic ideas? The part of me that can be cruel? Love them? You must be kidding!

I’m not kidding. It is the only way, I promise. I’m sure you have heard “what you resist, persists, right?”  If you resist the energy by trying to release it from a place of judgment, it will only become stronger.  You have to love them. Only then will they lose their power.

So, I hope you can now see that to ask “How do I get rid of these beliefs?” is to ask the wrong question.  The real question is, “How can I get to a point where I can lovingly accept my belief, and love myself completely for having it, so I can let it dissolve naturally?” 

Beliefs are not just benign things that exist as connections in the brain which can be turned off just like that.  They exist as an integral part of your Self. 

That means, if you make the beliefs wrong and try to get rid of them, you are actually attacking and undermining your own Self.  You will fight that tooth and nail, of course. You might even start a war over it!

This is why we need Radical Self-Empowerment as a resource to help us get there. It’s actually a fusion of Radical Self-Forgiveness and Radical Self-Acceptance; in essence, self-love. Along with other worksheets, you can download one for free from this website in the Free Stuff section of Colin’s Cafe.

On the free combination Self-Forgiveness/Self-Acceptance worksheet, it suggests you use all those ‘mirrors’ in your life to identify all your subconscious beliefs that you hate to own.

Then, to go through them to see how you might have been shamed by someone into thinking you were that.

If that is the grounds on which you formed that idea about yourself, it will fall away upon that realization. (You might also need to do a Radical Forgiveness worksheet on the person who shamed you.)

Second, see which of those qualities you are willing to own and love, even if they are true and reflective of who you are today. No judgment is allowed.

Self-acceptance is all about loving you just the way you are. The goal is to come to the full realization that your perfection lies in your imperfection.

I’m not OK;

You’re not OK.

But that’s perfectly OK. That’s how it’s meant to be.

28 thoughts on “Terrorists and Self-Acceptance

  1. Clare O'Brien Doyle

    I love your work and have been using it quite extensively. It has really helped me find what is in my shadow and accept that I can have whatever it is I have put away and still love myself, particularly the child aspects of myself when these were first formed.

    I do question why you included the judgment you have made in your note. That really put me off in the beginning and fortunately I could move past it and continue reading. I imagine we could find fingers to point at all the countries that were there for their hypocrisies. Several of the world leaders marching are among the worst offenders of censorship, not mention colonialism, sexism, etc. You are in a position of leadership and what you say matters.

  2. Nick Jameson

    I can’t imagine where you’re getting your information about American free speech laws.
    Charlie Hebdo would absolutely be able to be published in America. There are vast numbers of publications, websites, blogs, websites etc. that are far more ‘offensive’ than Charie Hebdo, and no-one even considers trying to ban them. The first amendment of the constitution protects publications such as Charlie, and, in actual practice, ‘offensiveness’ has not been a valid criterion for whether a publication is legal or not since the late sixties. The same goes for publications and speech that criticize the government or other ‘powers that be’.
    I hold no brief for the United States. I believe the country is suffering from a severe collective personality disorder, and the actions of its government around the globe are criminal. After living there all my life, I have recently relocated to Iceland.
    However, one must give credit where credit is due. America was one of the pioneers of the concept of freedom of the press. Challenges to protected speech are continually shot down by the courts. Outside of child pornography, which is a crime, pretty much anything goes. Please get your facts straight. Claiming that Charlie Hebdo could not be published in the US undermines your otherwise high level of credibility.
    Nick Jameson

  3. Nick Jameson

    PS I see that my comment is ‘awaiting moderation.’ There is no moderation queue for free speech in America 😉

  4. Donna

    I feel real resistance on this one. This week I observed a leader’s continual
    need to fashion things to his own need to control things according to his view
    and to unwittingly demand that others conform to his programs without his
    unconditionally loving and serving them. I have been bothered by this person
    for several years now. Seems that I realized that he really isn’t going to change.
    My acceptance of this gave me a sense of peace (after years of fighting it….);
    and another realization that so many things are not going my way nor fit my
    view of what should happen or could happen. Hmmmmm….and I felt that it
    really was a constricting belief system to resist going forward or engaging in
    things if it was not my “view” of how others need to change. It feels like the
    shell of a covert crab is molting; acceptance feels more freeing; that I can
    move forward without requiring that the view is fitting in with mine. I hope
    that I don’t retreat back into the shell…as a hermit crab tends to do….always
    looking for a shell to climb into!

  5. Bridgette


    Thank you for your interesting post. I am saddened for the victims of the Paris shootings and their families, who are grieving their losses. I am less concerned about which leaders showed up to stand in the unity rally. I agree that this can be a major opportunity for growth in inner peace for all, if we look at the “mirror” and see what we are collectively and individually projecting “out there”. Despite our outward horror, we all have our dark side, that only we can address.

    Thanks for providing meaningful suggestions on how to effectively address them on an individual basis, which might actually change the world, one person at a time.

  6. Margaret

    Dear Colin:
    Of course I admire your work & I know your comments are often meant to stir the pot as it were. Anyway I am a bit perplexed about your saying Charlie Hebdo could not be published here but you may be referring to “hate speech” laws we have in this country which I support. I’m sure much of Charlie H. could be published here, but not items that fall into that category perhaps. However, “hate speech” is all over the Internet if one is really into it, as one commenter already pointed out. As to where it applies in the U.S. with publications, that would be up to the courts & others. I have no expertise in this.

    I may be in left field, but I had the curious thought that American leaders did not participate in the march because they are concerned about reaction against a minority group we have in this country they are trying to shield from violence, & they really don’t have the structure or resources to protect this group indefinitely because of the size of this country. If that is the case, American leaders are taking heat for it but they are not going to mention this particular reason. I would admire that motive if it were true. The public will never know what really went on behind the scenes. I do admire the gigantic march & how these world leaders FINALLY united over something! This is what it took, sadly.
    Best Wishes.

  7. Ann

    Thank you for this post. Just earlier this morning I said a short prayer for help with two dreams I recently had. Each dream had two “terrorist” torturer type of men in them. Then a couple of hours later, your post on this subject appeared.

  8. Zero-Wise

    On the front page of Charlie Hebdo publication following the attack was the translation “All Is Forgiven”. The team at Charlie could have posted any number of contentious statements but instead choose “All Is Forgiven”. Simply brilliant and profound
    and somehow this nuance seemed to be overlooked by mainstream media in their reporting.

    “All is Forgiven” is a deep spiritual and loving moment to moment spiritual practice that could heal the world within us and therefore “outside” of us. I am grateful for this teaching arising out of the Charlie team.

  9. Margaret

    Dear Colin: I have thought about it, but I am still clueless about the statement in today’s blog about Charlie Hebdo:

    “The U.S. limits this more than most (freedom of expression). Any American proclaiming ‘Je suis Charlie,’ should realize the U.S. would never have allowed that paper to exist in the first place.”

    So, how would this paper not be allowed to exist in the United States in the first place? This seems important to know. Thank-you for any information. Regards, Margaret

  10. Sabine

    Thank you, Colin, for this very valuable reminder. So often I forget in the course of an event that upsets me to be aware that there is a mirror at work. I deeply appreciate you being around to help us become more aware. I send you my gratitue.

  11. Nely Fernando

    Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice… and now the Charlie Hebdo fiasco. The list goes on and on. The sense of injustice is palpable. Turmoil is spilling forth from every corner of the world. Racism, fascism, corruption, police brutality, and surveillance of the citizenry, are all reflecting a state of mistrust. We are tired of our political, religious, and economic institutions. They are now thwarting the very progress we fought for. The hierarchies we depended on to keep us in line seem to have turned on us. For many, those institutions played mommy and daddy in our lives and now they are being rendered ineffective. We are being dragged into the next evolutionary phase of humanity kicking and screaming.

    The feeling that everything is coming apart at the seams is very real. It is a time where all of our denied and suppressed aspects are confronting us head on. Our felt perception has been numbed out by our gadgetry, drugs, overeating, and an over reliance on the intellect. The only way we can now perceive these fragmented parts of ourselves is through the mirror of the world. Those parts look more and more like corruption, greed, and everything else we despise about ourselves. Now we are being tyrannized by these ungrounded aspects of our own being. Their existence is a direct consequence of living in duality and trying to segregate the good from the bad. Darkness takes over our lives and our world each time we unconsciously blame, complain, shut down, and project our discomfort out on the world. These aspects are what we’ve been running from and white washing since the beginning of civilization. Here we are at the cross roads of our collective crucifixion.

    I used to think that evolution would look more like a John Lennon song and not the current state of affairs in the world. That was a fantasy of my ego of course. Now I understand that this would be the only way we can perceive the denied, sedated, and suppressed aspects of ourselves. Collectively we are being nailed to the cross. Our incessant doings are being rendered ineffective, which is symbolic of having our hands nailed. No wonder the movements and protests that once fueled social change seem so impotent. We won’t be able to run away from the parts we’ve disconnected from; climate change is everywhere. There won’t be bunkers deep enough to keep us safe from our own hearts. This is indeed symbolic of having our feet nailed to the cross. The only choice left would be to turn towards the powerlessness that’s been chasing us. It’s time to allow powerlessness and helplessness to inhabit us, for they are essential ingredients for ascension. The only requirement from us would be our unconditional attention to all aspects that’s human. More than ever it’s good to learn to be still now. To perceive and face what we’ve been running from is the most courageous thing we’ll be asked to do, but it’s not a “doing.” It’s simply a way of being so we can know that we are indeed ONE. There was no OTHER. That was our only perceptual error.

    1. Colin

      Nely, this is so right on. Thank you so much for expressing where we are now in terms of our consciousness and what we must do, or rather be, if we are save humanity from experiencing it’s own implosion. We must start waking up now and return to the truth of who we are.

  12. Patti

    They didn’t send someone because he had a football game to watch and because he never says anything negative about Muslims because he was raised Muslim. He funds the Muslim Brotherhood’s overthrow of Egypt, kills Khadafi, never says one word about the murder of Christians worldwide by Muslims and says at the UN that the future does not belong to those who criticize Islam. He funds Hamas in the billions and talks about the horror of Palestinian children being killed, but not a word about Jewish children killed. If people haven’t caught on by now since he’s appointed Muslims to head offices and on the security council that his agenda is skewed, they never will. We do not have freedom of the press, we have a press that does what it is told by the White House – makes one long for the days of Woodward/Bernstein who cared about the truth. And our other freedoms are evaporating with every executive order not challenged by Congress and the Supreme Court. America is so shallow they think he looks cool and acts cool – they don’t give a damn about what he is doing. For one, not standing with world leaders. I pray daily for America and the original God-based principles on which it was based. I still believe the individual spirit linked with God is the true power and the political nature of life is short-lived.
    If the west doesn’t wake up and stop the political correctness, the Islamic jihad will not stop until a world war arises over it – as it did the first 3 times Islam tried to take over and rule the world through murder and slavery.

  13. Pavla

    Dear Colin,
    thank you very much for these words. I was thinking what to do last week when those sad things happened in Paris. I was scared and sad at the first moment but then I realized it won´t help. I prayed for dead people and suffering people. And finally I was thinking what would you say about it and what would you say how to stop hate and fear – and I found this text today, thank you so much from the bottom of my heart. Pavla from Prague

  14. Marie

    Thanks everyone for sharing.
    Remember that beliefs are man- made, many handed down generation after generation which along with those learned beliefs are projected outside of our self creating a man-made world or what looks like a mad-mans world. Through awareness, acknowledgement, acceptance and allowance we can s we go above and beyond those fearful and terrorising beliefs to tune into a shared world both inner and outer; one of peace and love.

  15. Martha A. Ramsey

    I too, believe free speech in the U.S. would allow Charlie Hebdo to be published here unless it is hate speech. I heard the Pope make a statement today that when one attacks a religious prophet, one should expect that there would be a reaction…hmmm
    That brings up my ideas about the movie the Interview. Why the need to offend with 6th grade bathroom humor, then whine when there is a reaction? Nevertheless, I may be the only optimist about the evolution of humanity that I know. I think the outburst of all this “old energy” is a “burning out” of it as well. Sometimes the symptoms increase in a disease, before they burn themselves out. I do not believe that the Universe, nor evolution of the species will sustain terrorism nor the fear that it thrives on. I agree that it is important to realize that in the same circumstances, any one of us could behave in the same manner as the terrorists. How can we help? Sometimes it is to look within, and sometimes, there are outward actions we are all capable of achieving.
    In faith, Martha

  16. Yvonne

    Colin, I am in agreement with what you say here. We do need to look inside and see the mirror. We do need to love our inner terrorists. This isn’t easy and we also need to love ourselves for how hard it can feel to love those we see as so destructive.

    I hope you don’t mind me posting this here, but I have sent you an email about a wonderful event occurring next month that I hope you will take part in and the automated reply I got said it could take some time for you to respond. I would really like you to be part of this, so am posting here too. The movement is called 1000 Voices Speak For Compassion, and I hope you will feel inspired to be one of those voices. This is almost entirely made up of ordinary bloggers so far, and on 20th February those 1000 voices will blog for compassion. It would be wonderful if spiritual leaders like yourself would also blog for Compassion on that day. (I know you do this anyway, which is why I am inviting you to join us.)
    If you are interested, look out for my email!

  17. Beverly

    Your work is revealing and helpful. As a minister, I constantly refer people I counsel to your website. Great appreciation for your helpfulness to those who are willing to work on their spiritual growth.

  18. Pingback: The Now, raising your standards, animal rescues, vision writing, terrorists, Feast for the Soul, and Abraham | Evolution Made Easier

  19. Nick Jameson

    I see that you have not modified your statement that Charlie Hebdo woud not be able to be published in the US, nor have you addressed any of the messages pointing out that this is an untrue statement. You are basically lying about this issue by leaving said statement up. I can’t imagine why you want to act as some kind of New Age Fox News. If this is an oversight, I hope you will correct it. If you don’t something about this, I am going to cancel my subscription to your newsletter and ‘unfollow’ you.
    Nick Jameson

  20. Nely Fernando

    Dear Collin,

    I don’t think most of them can hear you. They don’t seem to have the ears to hear what you are saying. They seem so transfixed and mesmerized by the external drama that’s going on. Most of them seem to not get that, the details and the specific circumstances don’t really matter, it’s the underlying feeling those circumstances trigger that has the nutrition required for evolution.

  21. Mark Thomson

    Hi Colin I found your blog really helpful on this issue. I’ve printed it off, plus some of the worksheets and are going to go through some of the issues that have bothered me for some time – such as the Muslim terrorism which is also alive and well in Nigeria, the Israel and Palestine standoff, North Korea, the last Iraq war etc.

    It has made me think about my own tendency to be dogmatic, my desire to be right, my misogyny and some other less attractive aspects of my shadow I would like to accept so I can deal with them.

    My partner also found it interesting and a completely different take on the situation – it made her think and she mad the connection with how she was judging one of her friends.

    One of these of course is the desire of the people working on the magazine to put two fingers to the Muslim world by publishing their cartoon on the cover. I guess they felt they had to do this or the extremists might have felt they had own the argument by intimidating them. We had a very interesting discussion about this at my church.

    So yes I will also look at my desire to satirise others – sometimes useful, sometimes just hurtful.

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