Sunday, July 13, 2008
Do I Like Me?
Usually our thoughts go something like, "I wonder if others like me." I'm old enough (and wise enough ??) to know that if I don't like myself, others will find it difficult to like me. Usually that's because relating to others with the hope that they will like me makes one "leak" that "I'm needy," and that usually drives others away. I've learned if I like myself, I "leak" that. One of the things I've learned for sure: We all leak who we really are.
In John Powell's book, Happiness Is An Inside Job, the chapters are ten practices, and
Practice 1 is "We must accept ourselves as we are."
And at the beginning of each chapter he writes a summary, a looking forward to, what he will write in detail within the chapter. Here's the summary for the first chapter:
We tend to hold on to things, including ideas.
We are reluctant to give up ideas like who I am.
Yet giving up some old ideas is essential to growing.
I must learn how to let go of the static image of who I think I am.
If I am to grow, I must get unhooked from my past. I must come to realize that I am the one and only me, a person in process--always and forever learning, changing, growing.
The only important reality is who I am right now. I am not who I used to be. I am not yet who I will be. And above all I must know this: I am who I am supposed to be, and I am fully equipped to do whatever it is I am supposed to be doing with my life.
This sounds like some of that ya-da, ya-da stuff; you know yeah, yeah, we've heard this many times before, that self-acceptance stuff. But, for some reason, this really hits me as not the same ole', same ole'. Not sure if it's because I'm so familiar with the whole book or because I'm old enough to see and know the real thing when it crosses my path. I also like Powell's use of everyday language and not religious code talk that so often makes the writer sound spiritual, but too often also turns off many readers.
May I "chase a rabbit here?" But first, surely everyone knows what "chase a rabbit" means, right? Just in case: it means I'm going to go off subject here just a little and write/talk about something else. But, sometimes that rabbit is "juicy" and worth the rabbit-chase.
The rabbit: I read once that all the religious talk and all the religious rules that legalists tend to put on others produces one of two kinds: those who hear and then gladly accept all the rules and become proud that they can do this, or those who hear and know that they can't and don't want to keep all those rules and say, "I'm out of here." Results: Pharisees or rebels. The first time I read that, it gave me pause. Then I thought, that is so true! Too often people who talk or write in the religious-coded language are those who come across as not so real, at least to folks like me. I think I thought of this because the religious-talking crowd are the ones who tend to put the shoulds on others.
Anyway, Powell's short summary of the practice of self-acceptance is one of those summaries that was definitely one of the change-points in my life a few years ago. Worth sharing. May not mean much to others, but when something really grabs you and really means something to you personally, you just want to share and you hope others see it as you do. But obviously that doesn't always happen. Again, just sharing.