The key, the lesson, and a give-away!

Ben with the socks (they are a cotton blend)
Ben with the socks*

My mother has always been a giving person, especially with her children. lf one of us said to her, “I like the sweater you’re wearing mom”, she’d inevitably respond, “Do you want it?” or she’d just go change and come out wearing another top, while handing the one we’d admired to us. We’ve gotten into the habit of complimenting her by saying, “I like that ….., but I don’t want it!”

One day I was telling a friend about this, and she reacted like it was a remarkable thing. She then said, “My mother has rarely given me anything, even when I was in desperate need.” I believed her, but found it hard to comprehend, since I had taken this aspect of my own mother completely for granted. I had little appreciation of my mother, and often found myself starting sentences with, “Yes, she’s generous but……”, completely sweeping this gift under the rug of what I perceived to be her faults.

I treated myself the same way. I found it nearly impossible to appreciate any aspect of my being, seeing myself to be fundamentally flawed, and even when I did something that others might have admired, I would think, “If they really knew me…” I even suspected that my own good actions were prompted by less than pure motives. Everything that I did was tainted with the belief that I wasn’t a fundamentally loveable person.

My mother is still generous, but because I have changed, I now find her giving-nature to be a delight, not only when I am the recipient of her generosity, but in what she gives to others. Several days ago, she came back home (after a month in rehab) and within hours she was pulling out bags of things that she wanted to give away. One was a bag from Bon Ton full of Calvin Klein socks. A few days before her accident, she was shopping and there was a huge sale on socks, so she bought every pair figuring that she knew plenty of people who would appreciate them.

So in honor of my mother coming home (and the Red Sox winning the world series last night….I’m joking here, I don’t follow baseball, but it just fit so perfectly) I am giving away a package of the socks, these are shades of pink and white, not red.

To enter this give-away, just comment with one quality that you love about your yourself. I know this will be hard for some people. At times in my life, it would have been very difficult for me, and even if I’d come up with something, it would’ve felt like a lie. But we all have aspects of ourselves that are magnificent. If I cannot see these qualities in myself, it is impossible to recognize them in others.

I find that when I truly look for the good in myself, I cannot help seeing it others as well.

I don’t recall ever being encouraged to cherish myself, in fact, it would never even have occurred to me to do so. It’s commonly thought of as being selfish. But my NDE (Near-death Experience) allowed me to realize that this was the key to my healing.

In the tapestry of life, we’re all connected. Each one of us is a gift to those around us, helping each other be who we are, weaving a perfect picture together. When I was in the NDE state, it all became so clear to me because I understood that to be me is to be love. This is the lesson that saved my life.”   pp 138-139, Dying To Be Me: My Journey From Cancer , To Near Death, To True Healing, by Anita Moorjani.

*This is a 3-pack of Calvin Klein cotton blend socks  (between ankle and knee-length) in shades of pink and white. One size fits all. I will pick a random winner on Wed. November 6th (my son Tom’s 36th birthday!) and again, to enter, just comment with one thing that you love about yourself…and even if you don’t believe it, I do.

65 thoughts on “The key, the lesson, and a give-away!”

  1. I like my eyes. They are the same shape and color of my father and grandmother. I have always thought they were my best feature and I hope that others think so too. I think when I am up to mischief (which apparently is often) they twinkle. Or at least I hope so, because my grandmother’s and dad’s do!

  2. Patience and compassion. It has taken me a long time to treat myself as I treat people I care about…and it has been a great gift. It still is a work in progress,but I learn a bit every day…and your posts help me appreciate myself and the other people in my life. Thank you.

  3. I am a good friend – I love my friends and they are such an important part of my life that I would do anything at all for them. As long as it’s legal…well, as long as it wouldn’t harm anyone/thing… 🙂

  4. I like that i am a kind, generous, funny person and will do anything to help that i can. Whew that wasn’t so hard….I was brought up to talk yourself up was bragging and a sin of some sort….today I know it’s a foundation of a person’s spirit…blessings J

  5. I love that I have a ridiculous sense of humor that allows me to see the absurdity in life and laugh often at myself). I love that I love socks!

  6. So interesting, your post for today. I am like your mom. I would give anyone the shirt off my back. Sometimes I have (a knitted hat my friend liked – I took it off and said would you like it? and gave it to her). Unfortunately I still have been unable to put myself first and like myself. I struggle with that every day. I try hard to be a positive force for my two adult daughters and have succeeded there. They are beautiful people. Changing how we were brought up is very difficult. Your blog inspires me and I keep working on being positive every day. Thank you. Also love the photos of your kitties. I always forward them to one of my daughters – I have 2 kitties and love them with my whole being. (The Duchess and Scooter!!!)

  7. So happy to hear your Mom’s coming home! Her generous spirit is also yours! Hmmm? something I like about myself – I’m funny, quick to laugh/smile! But I think the one thing I truly love about myself is “my” sobriety – it will be 12 years in February. It took me approximately 1/2 of those years to find “me” and I must say I like sober “me”! Bless you and your Mom and if I win the socks I think I will give them to my Mom.

  8. I so love this post – for many reasons. One was your comment – “if they really knew me.” How many many times have I thought that!? I would sometimes also add to that thought “There must be something wrong with them if they like me.”

    So, now I will tell you something that I love about myself – it is the fact that I want to keep evolving and recognizing the truly LOVE person that I AM.

  9. I have always had a lot of empathy with others, knowing that I don’t know what they have gone through [no one’s life is all ‘sunshine & roses”. I don’t think that I am particularly judgemental… of my parents, who were not perfect, I always knew that they did the best that they could. I am an introverted person, & I heard a tedTalk just yesterday in which the speaker indicated that empathy & truthfulness are more prevalent in them as opposed to extroverts…

  10. I love that happiness has become so much a part of my personality (after a lot of years of faking it, or at least believing I was faking it) that my friends regularly describe me as “sunny” or “always ready to laugh.” I used to think my laugh was a little weird, now I relish that it peals out inviting others to laugh with me. 🙂

  11. I really pay attention to the person who is talking to me. And I store their shared ideas/thoughts away as important.

  12. I love a number of things about myself, but this is the one I’ll pick: I love that I’ve learned to just listen and to notgive advice unless I’m asked to. Sometimes if I’m unsure, I’ll ask the friend or relative, “Do you just want me to listen, or are you looking for some feedback?”

  13. I have 16 cats. I worry about neighbors and friends finding out. I have been working on myself to love me, the more I do this the better care ( better quality food and my time) they , the cats,receive. I now feel a weight has moved off of me. I know I am doing something good for them. I had to change and love me to give more. I also notice this change in other areas of my life.

  14. Great post, Mary. It’s so nice to “witness” your transformative sense of your mother. I would say that is our best quality as humans, that we have the ability — with time and space — to revisit our past assumptions and modify them. My mom has a host of wonderful qualities, too, but I didn’t recognize or credit these for many years. Like you, I’ve changed and now I can truly “see” and “feel” my mom’s beauty. That’s what I love most about myself right now, the ability to step back, review, and change my beliefs.

  15. wow. . .this really resonated with me. . .when you said. . . . “If they really knew me…” and . . . “my own good actions were prompted by less than pure motives”.. . .I thought you were in my head! How reassuring that someone as good as you can have the same thoughts as I!

    For some reason, I can make people very comfortable and able to share very intimate details about their lives. . .and I like that I’m willing to look at myself (sometimes too harshly!) and continue to evolve into a better version of myself. . .thanks for all you do and give, Veronica

  16. Mary – What a great post and a very healthy exercise to boot! It’s going to be wonderful to read everyone’s comments. This is tough, though, for anyone who was brought up to think it was rude to “blow their own horn”. So I’m going to say that I love that I am open to new ideas and other ways of thinking – at least I think I am! 🙂

  17. You struck a cord with me as I am most own worst critic which has hampered me all m life. I do love that I am kind hearted.

  18. Oh I love reading everyone’s comments – this is such a good and positive thing to do for ourselves and others. I appreciate that I am a good listener and love to be of support in any way I can to my family and friends. Love is what it’s all about 🙂

  19. I liked this writing. Let’s see… I like my eternal optimism even in the face of difficulties. I always end up seeing the positive even if it takes me awhile!

  20. Thank you Mary for giving us the opportunity to look inside. I have to go along with Helen’s post and say that I am very passionate about all living things. Also, I love socks and my sisters are great at knitting and sending me socks since I wear them with sandals in the winter – is that a trifle bit weird.

  21. My sense of humor. I like to see the humor in situations but I love to make people laugh. p.s. Ben looks like he just loves being a sock model.

  22. One thing I really love about myself is the strength I have learned to gain. I can say I’ve been through some pretty tough times, and those tough times have helped me to gain so much strength and wisdom. They have helped me to see the strength in my family and the support I have from them. My family is a core part of my strength and without them I would be no where near as strong. I love and cherish this everyday of my life, and will for all the years to come.

  23. I love that I dropped my old life and moved to Phoenix. I don’t understand why I am here but I am going to stick it out for a year if it kills me. Not quitting. Another thing I love that I am doing right now.

  24. Enjoyed reading about your mom. My mom was like that, she was always giving and generous. I know that I have some of her traits but I what I love most about me is my compassion for anyone or anything that is hurting.

  25. I suppose it is that I am still trying to overcome prejudice and being judgmental.
    Thanks for always thinking of your readers.

  26. One thing I love about myself is how I listen to and read about other peoples’ experiences and use those lessons to try to become a better person.

  27. Wow. I loved reading all those and it seems we have a lot in common, this little flock. If forced to pick something I love about myself….I love my intuitiveness. (That came as a surprise to me…it popped into my head and I immediately knew it was the right answer.)

  28. I always forget why I’m supposed to be annoyed with someone… I love that about myself.
    I want Mary Jane’s sox!

  29. I am an active and compassionate listener, and I remember and followup on things friends tell me about themselves.

  30. I love that I have the ability to get people to open up about themselves even about things they never discuss with anyone.

  31. The quality I like best about myself is my determination. in overcoming obstacles I will hit my head against a brick wall of obstacle a million times, because I know that the million and first time I hit I will get the breakthrough I want.

  32. I love that my natural inclination is to lead from my heart. And I love that I have the most awesome niece!

  33. I am a dancer of wild abandon, I am a graceful and beautiful mover through life. I am creative, impulsive, quiet, and curious.

  34. I like to help people and feel good about, even though sometimes it is not reciprocated. I believe that no matter what I should be true to my beliefs of doing good and try to feel confident about that decision.

  35. I love your blog, Mary, as I seem to identify with at least some parts of every one. I admit it was difficult for me to look inside and find something that I love about myself, because at times I am my worst critic. At one time, in another life years ago, I was a columnist for Maine newspapers…laced with humor. I made people laugh and after 40 years when i go home to visit, people still come up to me on the street and tell me how much they loved my columns. So I think I have the ability to make people laugh . I sang at an open mic with my son a few weeks ago so my love of music makes people happy…and I am 75! Boy was he ever brave to call me up on stage!!!! Have a wonderful day, Mary!

  36. The first thing that popped into my head was persistence – keeping going when I’m not sure I see where I’m going. Then the phrase willingness to change showed up. I really like your blog and frequently copy the quote that you put at the end and paste it into face book. Hope you don’t mind.

  37. I have perseverance ..

    “Even in the mud and scum of things, something always, always sings.”
    ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

  38. I love that I can make people smile and laugh. I especially love making my husband laugh. And I love warm socks!

  39. I’ve just gone back and read all the comments of others. Such a positive, affirming group! Love to all and happy nov. 1!

  40. I love that, at 72 (Nov. 6) I’m still learning to accept who I am, foibles and all–without judgment—really hard to do sometime.

  41. One quality that I love about myself is my love for my animal companions, it’s something that always heals, soothes and gives me joy.

  42. Wow, this is hard. But here goes: I love that I am empathetic to all humans. I love it that I can still cry when I read about victims of cruelty and hardship. I love it that as cynical as I feel sometimes, I still believe we can make progress as a species and I hope I will be able to play a part in making that happen.
    Thank you Mary for all that you do for us.

  43. I love that I am open and compassionate, especially towards children. Yes, my open and compassionate heart comes from the violence and brutality of my own childhood, where I grew to value what I was never given. Today I am open and compassionate. Today I give from a place of deep love.

  44. One quality I love about myself is that I’m a digger. I investigate new or “unusual” information thoroughly so that I’m sure of what I’m doing. Some might call that being a skeptic, but I really love taking in new knowledge and stretching my brain, I guess.

  45. My 82 year mother has always been generous and giving also. She has always recycled and reused everything. I like that I am a compulsive recycler and pick up litter to clean up the environment.Thank you Mary for helping me to express gratitude and I strive to be a good “encourager”. All is well, all is well has worked for me so many times!

  46. I would say my sense of humor and ability to see the lighter side. I attribute this characteristic to my wonderful parents who both always made life enjoyable.

  47. What I find so wonderful when Mary offers something ‘to win’ and so many respond. There is a large community of kindred spirits here. For years I would have felt embarassed by such a question yet, I think of one thing that feels good to me about me and that is to have a passion for something. Sometimes it can get me into hotwater when I get on my soapbox, though.
    Sandy P, in Canada

  48. I love that I have a good sense of humor….my goal everyday, one way or another is to make someone laugh….and I especially love it when I can laugh with a stranger!

  49. You are right, for me it is difficult. If I were to ask friends they might say my humor, but for me it is just a way to fit in and be liked and not really me. I think what I like best about me is that I do not judge others. I let them be themselves and I respect them enough to live their lives according to their divine plan.

  50. This is difficult. Some days I am good with my own company, a trait that I like – I do well with solitude, and other times I want away to be away from myself. For everything that I could think of that I like about myself a “yes but” thought came. I like that I am compassionate and am deeply affected by the suffering of others, be they people or animals.

    Did anyone see the comic strip Between Friends the other day? The woman was told by someone in her office that she looked very nice. She basked in the compliment until she got to her desk and suddenly thought, “I wonder what he meant by that.” Could so relate! I, hopefully, will remember Mary’s posting about overanalyzing and second guessing the next time someone’s complimentary and will simply say thanks and bask for a while.

  51. i waited intentionally till after the 6th to reply – i didn’t want to be in the contest but i just wanted to share how much i appreciate this post.
    it resonates with me in a number of ways
    and i’ll add, i appreciate my generosity.
    thank you for writing
    wishing you all good things

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