To thine own self be true…

I’ve never read Hamlet in its entirety. Shakespeare was a great poet and playwright. He was able to articulate life in a way that people understood and could be entertained and that was cool. Whether we, as writers, realize it, or not, but we are attempting to accomplish the same thing.

Life happens all around us and each of us have a way of capturing these moments. Some have a strongbox memory that they can recall events of the past in great detail. Some capture life in film by taking pictures, or shooting video, of timeless moments. Still, some write. The method of detailing life isn’t important but the fact that we record it is.

One line from Hamlet, Act 1, Scene III has been quoted by both scholar and layman and that is, “to thine own self be true…” The crazy part is that even though it can be quoted, do we really know what we are asking the person to do? My mom always told me that, whenever I read the Bible, always get the full context of what was written. So, read what happened before and what happened after that one scripture that you are determined to quote. The complete phrase that was said is…

This above all: to thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.
Farewell, my blessing season this in thee!

This was a father-son conversation and the father was telling his son not to allow his environment to determine who he was and his decisions. The Bible says in Proverbs 22:7 NIV, “The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is slave to the lender.” No one wants to be a slave but we create a sense of slavery and servitude by the environments that we keep and the decisions we make. There is freedom in truth, especially that truth to yourself!!

Shakespeare also placed a true/false switch in here that just screams at me… being true to you and not false to others. Did you know that each of us has two brains? Our first brain is the one between our ears. And our second brain is… No, the second brain isn’t there… get your mind outta the gutter. Our second brain is actually in our gut. Here’s a quick test…

For the next 10 seconds, stop and turn your attention to what your head is telling you…

What did you hear?

Now, let go of what you hear and trying to figure it out, turn your attention to your body. Take the same 10 seconds and ‘listen’ to your body. Rest your attention on your physical self…

What did you notice?

For most people, the two tend to be extremely different experiences. For example, when I did this exercise my head was listening to the birds outside my window, the gentle hum of the computer, thinking about going to make my breakfast shake, getting back to writing this letter, and more… But when I checked my body, I felt the need to relax and breathe, I felt the tension in my shoulders, and for some reason, I just started itching. ☺

If we stay in our head, we would never stop moving. We would be an uncontrolled freight train with tons of deliveries. But, when I did my physical ‘systems check’, I realized that I needed to slow down. Ingrid Mathieu, Ph.D. says, “In this case, I believe that “honoring myself” means leaning towards the latter. The more we practice checking in, the wiser we become about discerning what is happening and how we can best take care of ourselves.” And I agree…

Being true to yourself isn’t about having multiple personalities based on different scenarios and situations but rather listening to, and acting on, your second brain… your ‘gut’.

When you listen to your gut, you are being most true to yourself because you are listening to how you feel about a thing. Did you realize that ‘the intricate network of millions of neurons lining our guts greatly influences our mood and our thinking”? This is where we get the phrase, “butterflies in my stomach”. Our gut doesn’t do reason, it just does. Our brain will perform an analysis on a subject, taking into consideration all of the known variables and produce a reasonable response based on these variables and the perceived reaction, whereas your gut simply says, “Let’s do (or don’t) that” or “I love (or hate) that”.

Here’s the wrap-up…
Being true to yourself doesn’t have to be a long process of self examination and discovery. It really isn’t some deep theological or philosophical journey into the unknown recesses and chasms of life. It is as simple as breathing…

Listen to your heart…

I love you ALL!!!
Stay Blessed,
Jackie

Reference:
Emotional Sobriety
Recovering from substance addiction—without becoming addicted to spirituality.
by Ingrid Mathieu, Ph.D.
Published January 18, 2012

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12 Relationship Truths… Pt 6-12/12

Today, I’m wrapping this series up!!!

(6) Some people are meant to stay in your heart, but not in your life.

The short version is this… As I explained the other day, everything changes and with it people change. The person that you knew yesterday isn’t the person of today. Some folks need to be left in history and remembered for who they were at that time… Some people haven’t matured like a fine wine but they’ve just gotten older and moldy. The Bible tells us to know people by their fruit. Become a fruit inspector. Check ‘em out and if they are rotten… keep it pushing!!!

(7) Everyone has baggage, just like you.

Your history has created the person you see in the mirror every day. Whether good, bad, or indifferent, we all carry pieces of our past in our every day existence. We may spend a lot of time covering up the parts that we don’t like but, guess what? Like it or not, those things will be exposed. The crazy part is that we have a tendency to act as if our new friend has perfection coursing thru their veins. Well, I’m sorry to be the one to tell you but, NOOOOOOO!!!! Just as jacked up as YOU are, so are THEY!! The key is that you know your triggers and how to avoid them. You don’t know theirs. Don’t be blind. We’re all in the same boat…

(8) Love doesn’t hurt

Love is a great thing. The problem is that the word is soo overused that its true meaning and weight is diminished. The Message Bible describes love this way…

Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.
Love doesn’t strut,
Doesn’t have a swelled head,
Doesn’t force itself on others,
Isn’t always “me first,”
Doesn’t fly off the handle,
Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn’t revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.
Love never dies.
Being human, we do make mistakes here and there but if what you’re experiencing isn’t that… then you’re not experiencing love.

(9) Forgiveness is always the right choice.

One of the hardest things to accomplish is forgiveness. Trust me, I know. I have been known to “be mad” at someone for decades!!! Within the last 6 months, I just truly forgave a person that hurt me almost 30 years ago AND I told them. You see, forgiveness is like a muscle relaxer. Once you take it, you feel the relief. I didn’t realize how much unforgiveness had guided my life until I started forgiving people. The first person that I forgave was ME. I haven’t always made the best choices, right decisions or been the best person. I can’t start dealing out forgiveness to others and I’m still beating myself up… It just doesn’t work well that way.

(10) Love requires three things: acceptance, honesty, and commitment.

This one is powerful to me. Just so you know, I had to step away to compose myself after thinking about this title. How many times have you looked at that special someone and fell in love with their potential, their future, or who they can become? The first true step in love is ACCEPTING them for who they are NOW. Secondly, we need to be transparent with each other. We need to be open and HONEST about who we are. We have to let our guards down and allow them to know the real us. Finally, we have to be in it for the long haul. That whole “thru thick and thin”, “hell or highwater”, “better or worse”… You get what I’m saying. But, check this out… This doesn’t ONLY apply to marital bliss but friendships as well. I love my friends and I am COMMITTED to our relationships!!!

(11) A big part of who you become is who you choose to surround yourself with.

Birds of a feather flock together and they all fly the same way. If you want a life full of love then, surround yourself with loving people. It’s not rocket science but it is hard. It’s hard because many times we allow life to push us in directions that we don’t really want to go and then we stay there as if that’s what was supposed to happen. Don’t stay in that trap!! You weren’t meant to be alone. You weren’t meant to lack love but be full of love. So, start changing your circles of influence!!!!

(12) A soul mate is a person who brings out the best in you

The greatest, most beautiful-est, and most illusive person to find is your soul mate. You see, you only get one. Many people have gone thru their entire lives and never found them whereas some have found them as children. The thing about your soul mate is that they pull out the best in you. They encourage you when you can’t see the light of day. The thought of them brings joy to your heart and a smile to your face. Your soul mate is the picture of perfection in your eyes. Even though they may not actually BE perfect, it doesn’t really matter. Life will bring its ups and downs but they will be there with you thru it all and you don’t mind the storms because of them…

I love you ALL!!!
Stay Blessed,
Jackie