3-day Quote Challenge, continued
“To thine own self be true….. ” –Hamlet, Act 1 Scene 3: William Shakespeare
I don’t think there is much of anything more basic than this. I know my growing-up years were complete turbulence. I was the first-born of 3, the screw-up, not a mistake so much as mistake-maker. I learned everything the hard way. Sometimes those lessons took more than one pass. Eventually I learned in order to not keep everybody mad I could do and say funny stuff. Make them laugh, usually at me. This worked as long as I didn’t look too hard on the inside. Because people pleasers sometimes make others happy, or avert the argument or throw the barbs off. But even if we do, our lives, while doing all this performing are so hollow inside.
So this was my truth for years. My valley of darkness. It became such a conditioned activity I had no idea that it was within my power to stop. But just like Dorothy I had the power all along.
Just stop. I didn’t even need those ruby slippers to get back “home”.
It made a lot of people angry. I was called all sorts of horrid things– cold, selfish, thoughtless. And those words hurt. But then I remembered they were as much talking about themselves as they were about me.
It took practice. My valley of darkness became a valley of decision…. up until then I did my best at second-guessing, perceiving feelings, fortune-telling outcomes. I doubted, restructured, doubted again.
Basically unanchored, so other-focused I had no perspective of my own.
“But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind.” (James 1:6 NKJV)
And here I began to find my real truth. For someone who’d become so strong-willed, independent, self-reliant it took a long time and many losses. A marriage ended, parents passed away, yet one Constant helped me, each day, each moment become stronger, more discerning, more faithful. He has never disappointed me. He always hears my prayers. He has proven Himself true over and over. And I know without doubt that He is the only way, truth, life. (John 14:6)
I am nowhere close to finished. But without losing compassion, empathy or kindness my perspective has strengthened and become more realistic, more self-controlled. I take more time to listen. Life is less frenetic. Yes, I am much older now but wisdom is far more valuable.And thankfully more available. Or at least wisdom’s voice is clearer.