The concept of heaven and hell is such a big part of our world religions. Growing up we are taught that we have to do certain things and it will allow us to go to heaven. If we don't follow the directions given to us by our religion (or our religious leaders) we will go to hell.
Heaven is supposed to be for the people who follow rules, listen to what they are being told and don't question their religion. Hell is for people who rebel against the norms that society has set for us, the people who question religion and just don't do the right thing. This is what was said around me growing up.
Of course I was the rebellious one. The one who never thought like others and the one that never liked things normal girls liked so I was positive I was going to hell. I questioned religion and the existence of God and my religious teachings, and I knew for sure I was never getting into heaven.
I was always an observer, someone who spoke less and watched more. As I grew older I noticed some people (that were older than me) were peaceful and calm. When they spoke, their words that were full of wisdom would just exude a lightness and beauty. Their persona and body language was relaxed and confident.
On the other hand there were people who were full of negativity and abruptness. Their energy was that of defensiveness and underlying sadness or anger.
And finally it hit me in my late 20s -- the heaven and hell of the afterlife was a joke that God was playing on us. We don't know what will happen when we die; we go off of what we are told. So it's easy to not question and just believe in the heaven or hell of the afterlife.
But what I believe now is that we all have our very own heaven and hell in our minds. If we give joy and love to the world around us; we live in eternal peace in our minds. We sleep peacefully at night because we haven't hurt anyone or because we are at peace with our inner feelings. On the other hand if we want to we can create our own hell inside our heads. We torture ourselves and others, as our souls are not at peace. Hence as humans we eventually live in our own hell or heaven that is created because of our thoughts and actions.
As a human being I have the choice as to which way I want to go. I am not pointing fingers at anyone. I understand people have difficult lives and it's hard for them to overcome the misfortunes of the past, but I do feel that we are a lot more powerful then we think. We do have the power to change our thoughts and change the hell within into a paradise where love and happiness resides.