“We are made out of oppositions; we live between two poles – you don’t reconcile the poles you just recognize them.” Orson Wells. When I first read this, I had no clue what he was talking about. Then as I reflected on it with a little more seriousness or insight it hit me – (just my interpretation – doesn’t mean it’s what he meant) – the two poles – we all have an emotional nature that we can demonstrate to the world, or we can hide it within us hoping to keep it a secret. And, we have a mental side of us that wants us to follow its guidance and instructions. Many times in life when faced with difficult decisions, choices, or actions we can be confused – do we follow our heart and emotion or our mind and our thoughts? Do we act quickly, or do we act slowly? Do we move casually or thoughtfully? So, we all have multiple patterns of thinking, feeling, behaving, deciding, etc. but in the end, we need to see these not as opposites or two different poles but working together in harmony guiding us to use the best of both to make the best choices and take the best actions. When we only follow our heart and do not listen to the guidance of our minds there can be trouble ahead. When we only honor our thoughts and do not give credibility to our emotions – again there can be trouble ahead.
“The expectations of life depend on diligence; the mechanic that would perfect his work must first sharpen his tools.” Confucius. There’s a common past illustration about the logger that had to keep chopping again and again because his ax was dull, and he never sharpened it. In many ways, we can compare these illustrations to many areas of life whether, career, health, relationships, or finances. How about two quick examples. You earn and you spend but you don’t monitor your spending compared to your earnings. Trust me – do this for too long and sooner or later you will run out of money no matter how much you earn. It’s called diligence, discernment, and common sense. Or how about your health. You just keep eating what you love but may not be best for your “long-term” health or even your longevity. I’m not implying that you should not spend your money and not have fun, or you shouldn’t treat yourself now and then to your favorite desserts or wine. I’m just asking you if any areas of your life are out of sync – it could be for a lack of wisdom, attentiveness, patience, or many other traits that I won’t waste your time mentioning here – you know what I am talking about . . .
“Be gentle with all and stern with yourself.” Teresa of Avila. One of the traits that contribute to low or poor self-esteem or self-image is the constant behavior of beating yourself up emotionally because you are too short, too stupid, too fat, too lazy, and yes, too kind, too compassionate, too loving etc. Over the years I have observed people who treat others with kindness, compassion, understanding, and love and one of the things I have learned or noticed about them was their degree of self-acceptance, self-love, and self-kindness. If you are angry, frustrated, anxious, stressed, etc. on the inside, it will show up on the outside of you. It just depends on how often, on who, and how seriously. The beginning of all love for others whether family, friends, spouses, etc. is your degree of self-love. I’m not talking here about arrogance, ego, pride, or conceit but the wisdom that you are not perfect and never will be but you don’t need perfection to be accepted by others or to accept others.