“Surrender to what is. Let go of what was. Have faith in what will be.” – Sonia Ricotti
Once upon a time we were the apple of someone’s eye. Whether it was our parents, spouse, another family member or perhaps a school teacher or mentor, we could seemingly do no wrong. There is nothing like that feeling and I believe it is essential for us all to have high esteem and see ourselves as individuals that can achieve anything that we put our minds to.
In order to maintain a healthy outlook on life, along with the many pursuits that come with it, and to not allow our desire to live a life full of pride and honor to become mistaken for arrogance, self-righteousness or self-appointed entitlement, it is equally important that we practice living with compassion, humility, mindfulness and gratitude.
The interesting thing about these attributes along with similar ones, is they are not instinctive. We never have to teach our children how to be selfish, mean-spirited or to lie. Quite the contrary right? It is the human condition and has always existed. So if we are born this way and as adults continue to see ourselves as invincible, invulnerable, supreme or even bulletproof, it is no wonder that we find ourselves struggling when it comes to living life by the golden rule – “Treat others as you want to be treated.”
At its core, this idea violates everything we stand for from birth, so it is not easily shaken, overcome or altered, as much as we want to believe it is. Even with our faith in God, it is still a lifetime of trials, growth and learning new things about our fragility and capabilities to be perfectly human. And sometimes the being human part is what we tend to forget or neglect.
I get it that we want to teach our children to be the best, (and we should) and to aim high in life, but let us also not forget to share with them that living meaningful and full lives is not only about accomplishments, goals and having new things. Let us share with them that richness in life can be found in failure, and although our struggles may cause us to become ultimately stronger, they first may cause us to feel vulnerable, weak and fragile. Attributes most of us are seldom comfortable with and would rather just pass to the next guy, (present company included) but I realize that if my struggles have done nothing else, they have done this one thing very well. That is to help me get over myself.
The characteristics I would rather not recall, yet are essential parts of who I am, and without the experiences I would be less of a man. I say this because I recognize the value in what I learned through the process. It was painful, disturbing, disappointing, and at times hurtful, however it was equally life changing. I can honestly sit here today and say I know who I am. I am far from perfect, but I am better. Not better than any other human out there in the world striving to grow, but better than who I use to be. That is enough for me.
So I know that I am still the apple of a couple of people’s eye, (like my mother’s and youngest child) but I no longer live for that or even try to uphold the image, because at some point people will be let down. At the end of the day I am human, pressing to grow in character, which for me equates to courage, not simply seeking to be stronger for strength’s sake, but courage that equates to admitting my own faults, failures and ability to live in truth even when it hurts me the most.