Who are we – really?
Within the time-frame of a half-hour, how difficult would it be for you to sit down and write five things you like about yourself? How about 10 things? Let’s make it harder – could you name 15? or 20? What about 25? or more?
If you are able to write without hesitation a goodly number of ways you see yourself in a kindly manner, good on ya, mate! However, the chances are pretty good that most people would not be able to do that. Since we all start out at birth as human beings on a pretty well equal playing field, then – Why? Why don’t we see ourselves as excellent representatives of what is best in the human race?
A few years ago, a group of 20 women were gathered at my home, willing to do a little experiment for me – and for themselves, as well. We had come together as strangers in a business venture I had started, and had worked fairly closely with each other for several weeks, and in some cases, several months.
I asked the group to list the names of everyone in the room on a piece of paper, writing what they liked about each one, excluding themselves. On a second piece of paper, I asked them to write down what they thought about themselves. The results were very surprising. Although the group found it very easy to write complimentary assets about all their fellow members, every single person there wrote negatives about themselves, with very few positives, if there were any at all.
Some comments I remember were – “I’m overweight” – “I’m not very outgoing” – “I’m plain looking” – “I don’t smile enough” – “People don’t like me” – “I’ve always been clumsy” – “I’m not a good parent” – “I’m very disorganized” – etc.
I took the negative lists and read aloud to the group what each one thought about herself, followed by what 19 others thought about her in a positive way. Incredibly, every time I read a negative comment someone had written of herself, it was disputed by others in the room, who saw her in an entirely different way.
A few examples I remember: – “I’m too shy. I’m scared of people.” And the room thought: – “Outgoing… Friendly… Personable… Warm.” Another: ” I’m not very friendly.” The room: “A witty conversationalist… Delightful person… Has become a wonderful friend… Good to everyone… Charming and helpful…” And: “ I feel clumsy and ugly.” The room’s response: “Attractive… Good-looking… Beautiful… Walks like a model…” And: “I don’t know how to talk to people.” The room: “Great speaker… Handles meeting so well… Very friendly with newcomers… Explains things really well…”
That’s not all… Some of the other positive attributes others gave about them, surprised them – almost shocked them – because they had never realized others saw them in such an uplifting and favorable way. I then gave them back the page with their own perceptions of self, again read aloud what the rest of the room thought about them, asking them to write down those positives below their own negative perceptions of themselves. It’s not every day that we can have such an uplifting testimony to read whenever were feeling a little down on ourselves. It’s also a wonderful way to cement friendships, when we know we are seen in such a favorable light by others – a truly win-win situation.
The profit in that little exercise was that people who had come to know each other, were able to influence the way other people perceive themselves. Instead of continuing to be down on themselves, they began to see themselves through different eyes. It gave them confidence to change their self perception, and absolutely made it much easier to be a team player in our endeavor.
Another immense benefit was that they subsequently found it easier to see positive things in others as well as themselves.
What causes us to think so badly of ourselves that we feel insecure and doubtful and shy, or even self-hating? I suppose in this stage of our lives, it doesn’t matter how it was started, or what person or persons or circumstances nurtured our negative conceptions of ourselves. The sad thing is that when we think badly about ourselves, we can sometimes do to the people we love the most, the same things that were done to us, and the cycle continues. Trying to find the causes may be helpful, but it doesn’t matter much in the here-and-now of this day and tomorrow and the day after that.
What does matter is that we recognize that everyone has a need to be cherished for who they are and what they can become, no matter their age or background. In this life, we can choose to ignore others and what they think, or seek out their opinions, and weigh what they say in a positive manner. If someone drops out of sight, we can say “ah, well” and forget them, or we can take the time to send them an email and ask “Are you okay? I’ve missed you.” Or pick up the phone… Or send a “Thinking of you” card in the mail.
I love people and I particularly love the good vibes I get from them. It is a wonderful thing to see folks cautiously come out from under their shyness, their feelings of inadequacy, or unworthiness, to realize that we all have value, and each one of us has our own place of worth. If, as a friend or acquaintance, we can maintain a nurturing and friendly atmosphere toward others, with good fun and caring at the top of the list, I believe the dividends can be enormous, especially to ourselves. It certainly doesn’t hurt to send a little message to those in your circle of family, friends and acquaintances, now and then, to let them know you care..
I believe that loving and caring becomes so imprinted on your own psyche that it is even picked up by strangers, making their day a little better place to be as well. I also believe that our loving and caring needs to start with ourselves.
A baby is born with a need to be loved and never outgrows it. (Frank A Clark)
A man should look for what he is, and not for what he thinks should be. (Albert Einstein)
A man who lives, not by what he loves but what he hates, is a sick man. (Archibald MacLeish)
Act the way you’d like to be and soon you’ll be the way you act. (Leonard Cohen) (Geo. W. Crane)
All I need is my brains, my eyes and my personality, for better or for worse. (Wm A Allard)
All of us love applause, and so we should – it means that the listener likes us! (Emanuel Ax
Begin to see yourself as a soul with a body rather than a body with a soul. (Wayne Dyer)
Do good to your friends to keep them, to your enemies to win them. (Benjamin Franklin)
Every action of our lives touches on some chord that will vibrate in eternity. (Sean O’Casey)
First say to yourself what you would be; and then do what you have to do. (Epictetus)
For us she is not the iron lady. She is the kind, dear Mrs. Thatcher. (Alexander Dubcek)
Happiness is a hard thing because it is achieved only by making others happy. (S Cloete)
I am an optimist. It does not seem too much use being anything else. (Churchill)
I like not only to be loved, but also to be told I am loved. (George Eliot)
I want you to be everything that’s you, deep at the center of your being. (Confucius)
I want you to start a crusade in your life – to dare to be your best. (William Danforth)
If I respect myself and believe in what I’m doing, no one can touch me. (Fiona Apple)
If I told you about a land of love, friend, would you follow me and come? (Yunus Emre)
If you would have a faithful servant, and one that you like, serve yourself. (Benjamin Franklin)
Kindness makes a fellow feel good whether it’s being done to him or by him. (Frank A Clark)
Let us live so that when we come to die even the undertaker will be sorry. (Mark Twain)
My best friend is the man who in wishing me well wishes it for my sake. (Aristotle)
O would some power the giftie gie us to see ourselves as others see us. (Robert Burns)
Resolve to be thyself: and know that he who finds himself, loses his misery. (Matt Arnold)
Speak ill of no man, but speak all the good you know of everybody. (Benjamin Franklin)
Today I see beauty everywhere I do, in every face I see, in every single soul. (Kevyn Aucoin)
Unless we love and are loved, each of us is alone, each of us is deeply lonely. (M. Adler)
You get the best out of others when you get the best out of yourself. (Harvey S Firestone)
Here in the quiet of my room
Here in the morning’s light
Cobwebs swept by my mental broom
Along with the fears of the night.
Here I can see light shafting through
Curtains almost full-drawn
Arise from your bed: there are things to do
And the time to start is at dawn.
© E Joyce Finn/Collie
I capture this moment
and hold it.
I clasp it tightly,
Even if only for a moment.
© E Joyce Finn/Collie
Did I Tell You?
And did I ever tell you
how you make me feel alive?
How you make me want to conquer?
how you make me want to strive?
I want to be perfection
when you look upon my face,
I want to be your beauty,
full of gentleness and grace.
I want your eyes upon me
saying “Love you” all the time,
I am so hungry for you,
that I feel it like a crime.
Every day I’m with you
opens up another door —
Every day I love you —
more and more and more and more.
© E Joyce Finn/Collie
Leonard Cohen – Who Is He?
Leonard Norman Cohen, Canadian singer-songwriter, musician, poet, novelist, was born September 21, 1934 in Westmount, Quebec. Honours have been heaped upon him including his induction into the American Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the Canadian Music Hall of Fame, the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame.He has been awarded the Companion Of The Order of Canada (the nation’s highest civilian honour), the Chester MacNaughton Prize for Creative Writing, the Canadian Authors Association Literary Award for Poetry, the Prince of Asurias Award for literature. (For the complete list, check Wikepedia.) His music has been covered by many singers, and used in many films. He has been in films, and has had documentaries created about his work.
I love this man’s music and poetry. Leonard Cohen instills into his words, a warm, breathing picture of who he is, what he’s experienced, what he’s seen and felt, to create masterpieces of insight and compassion, perhaps depression and despair, but ultimately reflections of life. He makes me feel what he is feeling. He makes me see what he is seeing.
Here are seven (yes, I like him that much) selections I listen to over and over again, but truthfully, I can listen to anything he sings with great pleasure. And do –
Album 1967 “Songs Of Leonard Cohen”
The Stranger Song (1967 live on the Julie Felix Show) (upl. absentreferent YouTube)
Album 1969 “Songs From A Room”
Bird On The Wire (Live London 2008) (upl. RElapso1 YouTube)
Album 1984 “Various Positions”
Dance Me To The End Of Love (upl. 1984 LeonardCohenVEVO YouTube)
Hallelujah (2009) (upl. WolfenSteed YouTube)
Album 1988 “I’m Your Man”
Ain’t No Cure For Love (Live London 2009, with spoken preamble, prepared video upl. sabhti)
…to hear more wonderful music from Leonard Cohen click the links below…
Everybody Knows (2008 live in London) (upl. ilnee YouTube)
I’m Your Man (live in London 2009) (upl. alcyoneeffect YouTube) (also recites “A Thousand Kisses Deep” as a poem).
I’m Your Man/A Thousand Kisses Deep
PAWS FOR AWHILE…
Why Some Men Have A Dog, But Not A Wife:
The later you are, the more excited your dog is to see you.
Dogs don’t notice if you call them by another dog’s name.
Dogs like it if you leave a lot of things on the floor.
Dogs agree that you have to raise your voice to get your point across.
Dogs find you amusing when you’re drunk.
If a dog leaves, it won’t take half of your stuff.
Signing off ….. ej