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”