Looking at myself first

Watching something

Eleanor likes to stand on the stairs and look out the window. She seems to prefer this to going outside (even though she can). I used to try to coax her outside…thought she needed to run up trees and do all the things that cats are supposed to do. One day, as I was trying to give her a little push, I had the thought,  “She is very happy playing inside. Why am I trying to change that to make her conform to some idea that I have about how cats should behave?”If she could have spoken at that moment, I think she would have said, “You go outside if you want to Mary. Do what makes you happy. Quit trying to change me.”

When I am happy inside, I find that I can accept others around me much quicker. When I am not so happy with myself or my life at the moment, those seem to be the times when I try to “tweak” others into being different. This never works out well! It almost always creates more issues to be cleaned up later.

Today, I will pay attention to what is happening within me before I interact with anyone else. If I am not feeling great, I will love myself (and others) enough to work gently on me, until I am feeling better….take a deep breath, then keep my mouth shut!


And why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own? How can you think of saying to your friend,‘Let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,’ when you can’t see past the log in your own eye? First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye”. Matthew 7:4

17 thoughts on “Looking at myself first”

  1. I love this Mary – thank you for sharing this. I am lately wondering – when I am actually able to keep my mouth shut (!) – how I may have changed the course of events for the day? Those situations when I intervene in someone else’s business (typically a family member) usually end badly, feelings hurt, etc. When I am quiet and let the chips fall where they may – the day has a different flow.
    Who knows then what might be discovered?
    Thanks for the reminder!

  2. Hi Mary, i loved today’s post. Everyday i get up and my body is racked with pain. I am disabled from this pain and it is hard to even walk from the bedroom to the kitchen, my disabilities are progressive and there is not much hope that will ever change. I live with a woman who is disabled mentally, it is often a very tough day ahead and the way that i deal with myself makes all the difference. I get up very early and come out and feed the animals, (unfortuneately down to just one now) and make the morning coffee. This is my time. I sit and have my coffee, take my morning meds, listen to the news, only because i like to stay informed, and try to slide gently into the day, I say a prayer for the other souls in the house and thank God for one more day above ground. When Judy gets up, i get her her coffee, tell her i love her and that puts a smile on my face. She always asks how i feel today and i try to say i’m ok, even though every part of me is hurting. I cannot project myself onto her, it’s not fair to her and it doesn’t help me. If i get my attitude right, the day goes much better. I have lived a good life even though it has been a struggle and as it winds down, i want my days that are left to be happy ones. That’s up to me, it’s the only thing i have control over.

  3. Such a timely reminder for me that it is almost spooky. Last evening on a telephone chat with a friend, she made a very, very hurtful comment to me. I wanted to respond and hurt her right back, but I managed to cut her off during mid sentence and say I have to go now. I didn’t sleep well last night because it doesn’t seem right that someone I consider a close friend would hurt me with words like she did. While walking into work, I’ve decided that I will move on from it and let it go. It will take work but I will let it go. Just as in your post today, I will get my attitude right and make my day better. Thanks again, Mary.

  4. How perfect! Your story made my heart smile, as I had to come home from camp to see my eye Dr. My eye was very red and very, very painful! (Did I say Very very very painful?) I actually had some foreign particles in what he calls my “bad” eye. (I have renamed it to my Lucky Eye and I was thrilled that the pressure was low!). He also found and removed a cyst under my upper lid. (My log I am sure!)..and so I love the many levels of LIFE!
    Thank you!

  5. I certainly agree with you here Mary. We have no right to try to change others. People have to make the decision that feels best for them. We are individuals and should have that choice in life. Also even with animals. You can’t force the issue, they will work it out. A prime example for me was when we came back after our fire, on May 4th we took in 10 year old Simba who was abandoned by his family and at this time had Dusty, an almost two year old, Shih Tzu and I wasn’t sure how it was going to go and someone told me just love them both and let them sort it out and they did and they are fine, praise God. We have since brought home Toby our lovebird and a little kitten, Little Joe, as we have named him, who was found outside. He is now going into his 3rd month, we got him at about a week and he had to be bottle fed. The others have since adapted to him, as he can be a little rascal but Simba now takes time to play the odd time and disciplines him if he gets a little overbearing but he is good with him now, praise God.

    1. snicker, snicker…
      and so much easier than looking intently at our own issues! i saw myself in this post too, Jill.

  6. Every time I start to judge someone that Bible verse pops into my mind. Thanks Mary for reminding us. Kevin, you sound like a very kind soul. Judy is very fortunate to have you in her life. Bless you and I hope you have a happy day, without much pain. Years ago after surgery I remember being in so much pain and thinking I never appreciated how wonderful it was to wake up each morning painfree! I hope I never forget to appreciate how blessed I am to wake up painfree most mornings.

  7. I have to catch myself on a daily basis to make sure I remember to shut my mouth with the family. I have two granddaughters, 20 and 16 1/2, who are such great and smart girls. They are starting to live busy and independent lives and they show very little fear when jumping into life. I, on the other hand, am worried every moment that they will have some nasty fate befall them because of the way the world can be today.

    And so, I am practicing being ‘non-interfering’…no warnings to them about a possible boogeyman lurking in the bushes….just smiles and encouragment. I am taking care of the “fear log” in my own eye, although I must say, it’s lodged in there pretty tight! Good reminder for me, Mary.

    And to Kevin…I wish you many beautiful days, as you sound like a beautiful soul.
    Blessings to you.

    1. A quote that might be helpful – for me I think of it when worrying about my grown sons – as you do about your grown granddaughters.

      “I love you too much to go into fear.”

  8. In Today’s Daily OM, the theme was having a ‘surrender box’, actually crafting a little box in which you place on slips of paper, things you need to surrender, – worries, concerns, things which you feel you have no control as to the outcome, just let it go. It said this does not mean that you give up, or cease to work on whatever issue this may represent, but somehow, just by writing it down and slipping it into the box, you release part of the burden. A few months back I read a book called The Wishing Tree – and it is a custom in Thailand to tie with a ribbon to a branch of a tree, your wishes on a little slip of paper. . . the Eastern version of the Wailing Wall perhaps? There’s a power in writing it down, releasing it, and then breathing in the beauty of this very day, the only one we really have. Kevin, thank you for the courage it takes to share. We all care very much about you here. Write anytime. Love to all.

  9. Thanks Mary, your writings hit home today. I had a difficult day at work and had my feelings hurt. On my drive home, I thought how I would handle it when I returned tomorrow. Now after reading your words, I’ve decided to let it go. I liked Susan’s idea of the “surrender box” and think I will make my own. Tomorrow brings a new slate…

  10. Something I heard at a Course in Miracles talk. Seems to apply about seeing ourselves and others as we truly are not who we want to be or who we want others to be.

    “I am the perfect child of God.
    I am love.
    When I forget who I am, I am calling for love.

    You are the perfect child of God.
    You are love.
    When you forget who you are, you are calling for love.

    All is a call for Love.”

  11. The other night at a small concert, the opening performer was a self-described “Good ‘ol Texas Boy” named Ray Wylie Hubbard. An unknown to me but a favorite of my husband’s for years. Apparently he is known for his folk lyrics, which can only be described as very real, clever life observations (sometimes crude, but not this night). I was prepared not to like him…but I did. In fact, I loved him! He drew many of his comments from things he remembers his grandmother telling him. And one quote in particular stayed with me as soon as he said it. He said “When I keep my gratitude higher than my expectations, it is a good day”. He got me as a fan with this thought. Messages can come from so many places…even the unexpected…in this case my gratitude was certainly higher than my expectations…and it was a good day!

  12. I am so glad I checked in here before turning off the computer for the night, -thank you so much Mary Solomon for the wisdom from the Course of Miracles, which could be anyone’s nighttime prayer, and from Kathye, who gave us a quote from Ray Wylie Hubbard’s, grandmother, bless her soul, wow!, what a raising of the bar, “to keep our gratitude higher than our expectations”.

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