I am currently driving West, on my move to San Luis Obispo County in California. Along the way I have had the joy to see spectacular sights side by side with, well, the wonderful content of my mind.
At some point early in the trip I decided to do The Work on the thought “I need people to admire me.” I came to see for myself that, despite me believing it at varying degrees of strength throughout my life, it isn’t really true, and what wonderful news this is!
Further, I tried on “I need me to admire me” as a turnaround and to my amazement I discovered that whenever I do something that makes me proud of myself I soon want somebody to praise it but I spend barely any time giving the kind of honest and loving praise to myself that I seem to want from others. And so I decided to catch up with myself: as I drove through the desert I began making a list of all the aspects of me that I really do admire, and I took it in, really spending time reflecting on them, bathing on them, fully.
It is one of the most beautiful things I have done for myself. I would think, for example, how proud I am of how I have handled my divorce this last year, of how dedicated I have become to establishing a genuine connection with my students, of how loving of a father to my children I have become through the years, and the list would not stop. It would go on and on, searching through the distant past, finding the ways in which my life has had meaning and enriched this wonderful, mysterious planet. I did this slowly, really taking in the internal approval for who and what I am, for what I am becoming, for what breathes and thinks me.
I would think about each of these reasons for humble pride, and they would fill my heart, and I would cry, and cry, and cry, in joy. In fact, my heart swells up just to think of those wonderful hours of driving through the Southwest, crying, becoming real with myself about my own worth. At last.
What a wonderful thing, to be aware of one’s greatness, because it is through my greatness, and only through it, that I can be of genuine service.