Common words of wisdom get to be known as adages, axioms, platitudes, cliches, pearls of wisdom and truisms because they are repeated often and they are repeated often because they are true! If this is so and knowing that I heard them often, then why didn’t many of them sink in? It’s because I wasn’t listening with an open and authentic heart.
I found an article written by Lydia Sweatt titled 19 Wise Quotes for a Better Life and I loved it because of it’s simplicity, because I read it now, with an open and authentic heart and because I like the way she describes herself: “a freelance writer, bookworm, and bass guitar enthusiast. When she goes outside, a bicycle goes with her.” I encourage you to click on her name and read her article.
Some of the quotes she listed resonated with me not only because I’d heard them many times before but also because I used to feel they didn’t apply to me. For example, this quote by Eleanor Roosevelt, “Nobody can make you feel inferior without your permission.” What??? I felt inferior all the time and truly believed that I wasn’t responsible for this state of mind, preferring to blame someone else and proudly assume the role of victim.
I struggled to understand this quote, by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, “He that respects himself is safe from others.” I thought I respected myself but the truth was that I had no clue what this meant. I was a true co-dependent – gauging my self-worth by what I believed others thought of me. I wanted everyone to like me so I said “yes” when I should have said “no”, disrespecting my deepest core values. I had no boundaries.
The quote, “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why” by Mark Twain is very well-known but I never related to it because there were times in my life when I wished I hadn’t been born. I never felt like I fit in, struggled in social settings and suffered from clinical depression. Sometimes I felt as if I was enduring my life. Thankfully, this changed with the help of therapy, medication, 12-step programs and learning the importance of spiritual connection. As I engaged in this work, I realized that I was beginning to feel purposeful. I felt filled with a renewed sense of value and even though I’m not sure of the exact day that I found out why I was born, I know that this has occurred.
It took a lot of time for these words of wisdom and more to germinate and take hold, like sequoias needing fire to release their seeds. I had to suffer for years before I was able to create the right conditions to truly hear the wisdom in these words and then to apply them to myself, honestly and with an open heart. It was only then that I could understand the fact that I was giving others permission to make me feel inferior and only then that I could understand the importance of personal boundaries and that respecting myself was more important than what others thought of me and only then that I could finally be grateful for and honor my birth and my life.
What conditions exist for you?