Be a good friend…to yourself…and change your world

Fred decided to take a nap on my hand this morning as I wrote this post.

Fred decided to take a nap on my hand this morning as I wrote this post.

Watching the Steve Jobs documentary, One Last Thing, something that I found very interesting were the comments made by the people he had intimately known. One man, whom he’d been friends with for years, basically said that Steve was an incredible friend: loving, caring, and generous with his time. Another said that Steve Jobs eventually betrayed everyone. These two (polar opposite) perspectives made me think about myself and what others might say about me.

We all know people who, most likely, don’t think very highly of us: those who have seen us at our worst and have remembered that (and only that) about us. But there are also those who have seen us at our worst, at our best, and everything in between, and still choose to think about our wonderful qualities, our kindnesses, our best selves. It is odd to think that this process; the sifting and sorting of memories (and the conclusions that we then accept as “truth” about the character of a person, or ourselves) is a choice, but I have come to see that it is just that.

I also began to think about how I view myself, and it made me ask myself the question, “What images are you choosing to hold onto and believe about yourself Mary?” When there are hundreds of thousands, probably millions of memory images that I could think about, why would I choose to, over and over, re-live an unhappy scene from my past; a scene where I felt I was far-less than my best self?

At one point in my life, I thought that this would help me to not repeat the past, but what I found was the opposite. This re-thinking, mulling over, feeling bad about the past, only made it feel more real, and even though I was now a different person (for instance, I don’t drink anymore, but was still thinking about some of the decisions that I made when I was in my 20’s and drinking) my present was always informed by my less-than-stellar past. …talk about dooming myself to a life full of regret and disappointment.

It has really hit me lately that we need to become our own best friends. We need to be the kind of friend who sees all of us but loves us anyway. We need to be, to ourselves, the kind of friend who sees our good qualities as so much more indicative of who we really are, than our short-comings.

When I see people who are trying so hard to connect with others, and yet finding, time after time, that they are disappointed in those relationships, in those people (who seem to repeatedly fall short of their ideal of what a friend should be) or who feel that friendships are extremely difficult, I always see someone who is not their own friend. When we don’t have a loving, friendly, attitude toward ourselves, we eventually see this unfriendliness mirrored back, by those around us.

After watching that show the other night, I sat down and wrote myself a friendly letter. I told myself in this letter all of the things that I found delightful, wonderful, praise-worthy, and unique…about myself. I enjoyed this so much that I wrote a few more. What took me completely by surprise, and still does, is several days after I did this, I received an email from someone in my family telling me how much they appreciated me, my good points, things that they had observed about me over the years, but had never told me.

Who am I? Who are you?…it depends on what image I pull to memory,…so why not recall only the best (if that is what I would like to see more of)…it sounds so simple when I think about life like this.

If you had a different concept of yourself, everything would be different. You are what you are, so everything is as it is. The events which you observe are determined by the concept you have of yourself. If you would change your life, you must begin at the very source with your own basic concept of self. Outer change, becoming part of organizations, political bodies, religious bodies, is not enough. The cause goes deeper. The essential change must take place in yourself, in your own concept of self. There is no better time to start than now. The present moment is always the most opportune in which to eliminate all unlovely assumptions (about yourself and others) and to concentrate only on the good. …You are a being with powers of intervention, which enable you, by a change of consciousness, to alter the course of observed events, in fact, to change your future.” Neville Goddard, from “The Power of Awareness”

19 thoughts on “Be a good friend…to yourself…and change your world

  1. The picture of Fred just says it all 🙂 … I saw the documentary Mr Rodgers & Me last night on PBS….brought me to tears also…..

  2. I see that as a very important starting point for my week. I had a tough Monday morning and it was all because of my perception of myself…and I didn’t even realize how poorly I had been talking to myself until I felt really bad, on the verge of tears. Then I read this post that appeared in my inbox at just the right time. I am going to write that letter to myself right now! Thank you Mary.

    • Perfectly said Terri….I ususally realize that I am thinking unhappy/negative thoughts by the way that I find myself feeling too. I hope that your letter writing was fun!

  3. Thank you, Mary. I had just read that very paragraph in Neville’s book not ten minutes before! How I love synchronicity. Wonderful way to start the week!

    • I am always so delighted by these synchronicities Gwen. I know (at one level) that we are all connected but am continually surprised when I get “proof” in real-time. Love this!

  4. Oh Mary, I saw myself reflected here in ways I think I will take another look at in a kinder way. Thank you!

  5. Dear Mary, it has been some time since I’ve posted comments on your beautiful blog. I read your entries every day and today’s post touched me deeply. Thank you for this poignant reminder to stay centered in love….especially love towards oneself. How we see ourselves is how we see the world. When we start with embracing ourselves just as we are, everything else takes on a new light! Bless you for your consistent and uplifting words. You have a healing and profound affect….perhaps more than you might know. Much love to you.

  6. Well said and my thoughts also, Debra! Mary.. you mentioned the reason for dwelling on past ” mistakes”. It begins with the belief that it will serve to help us not to repeat them. How many times my parents and teachers would use that technique! ” Now go in your corner ( room, or chair )and think about what ( bad thing) you have done!” We need to redirect ourselves, correct our course perhaps, but not dwell for all perpetuity on how ” bad” we are. We are kinder sometimes to our animal companions-we know they are not inherently or purposefully ” bad” so why not treat ourselves with such understanding, love and forgiveness? I have also had a very rough two days of remembering myself at my weakest , and very much needed your thoughtful words today.
    Thank you for showing us Fred’s sweet countenance and your gentle touch.

    • Bobbie, I was brought up in an era where thinking highly of oneself amounted to something called: self-indulgence, self-centeredness. And then, there was the church and the admitting of sins which never sat well with me for some reason. A young minister fresh out of College said to me, ‘we sin from the moment our feet hit the floor in the morning’ and I said, at that rate, I’d never get out of bed…and in my head, said, phooey, what a load of church-based nonsense and I refused to repeat it in church.
      SandyP

  7. Sometimes I think our view of ourselves comes from the deep well that holds all the things we were taught as children, not the least of which is the concept of Original Sin. We are told, in a very insidious way, and at a very young and vulnerable age, that we were born tainted. A lot of ‘stuff’ can take root from that one planting.

    You are showing us the way to open dialogue with ourselves, Mary. This will give us a gift that keeps on giving.

    P.S. LOVE this picture of Fred! What a guy.

  8. Thank you, thank you, Mary, for these thoughtful words – after a bad night of tossing and turning brought on by a less than pleasant phone call with my mother-in-law I read your blog and thought to myself how much better l could have handled the situation…my father’s funeral is on Thursday and l suspect that l’ve put up a defensive wall around my fragile heart to make it through the week…I guess what l’m trying to say is that sometimes we’re not ourselves and words/actions need to been seen in context. It helps when it comes to forgiveness…
    ps. Love your cat fotos, but miss Luke – he hasn’t been seen on the blogsite since Nov 20! (l checked 🙂

    • My deep condolences, Sabina, on the loss of your dad. No words can help before their time. May you find peace.

    • Dear Sabina, Know that loving thoughts and prayers are surrounding you (and your beautiful heart) today and always. (as for photos of Luke…well, I guess I’ll have to get on that!) Love, Mary

  9. I feel like we are on the same wavelength this week, Mary. I love your idea about writing a letter to yourself. I am going to do that tonight!

  10. It looks like Fred doesn’t worry about negative memories! Thanks for a wonderful post with its reminder to ground our view of ourselves and of the world with love.

  11. Thank you so much for sharing this, Mary. Lately I’ve been wondering what on earth I have done with my 60 years on this planet that was worth anything – thinking about the wasted time and not having done anything wonderful to make great changes in my world. I have to keep reminding myself that I have done things that are like ripples in the pond. I don’t have to be like a cannonball into the pool to have contributed to my world. I think Edgar Cayce reading puts it like this “line upon line, here a little there a little” or something to that effect. I think I’ll sit down and write myself a letter…..

  12. We are much harsher critics of ourselves than any friend or person would be. I don’t know why we waste so much of our lives feeling this way. Sometimes we need to take a good look at why we are feeling this way, what is causing it, try to deal with it, either through therapy or spiritual guidance and then somehow move on and that Is the hard part for some things stick to us like barnacles beneath a boat. Sometimes it means changing our lives and lifestyle, sometimes it means a loss of friends or family, but mostly it means an acceptance of oneself, hopefully, before the journey of life is over.
    SandyP in Canada where the sun is shining so brightly on my computer screen this morning, that I am unable to see what I am typing.

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