No, the photo isn’t really me, silly, it’s one of our dogs. His name is Pippin, and he doesn’t like it when my wife packs her suitcase to go somewhere. So he does his own version of Occupy Wall Street. So, if that isn’t me, who am “I”? Or who are “You”? If you were asked to describe who the “real” you is, how would you answer?
I don’t mean a general description of your job, or your favorite color, or even how much you love your significant other. What I ask you to describe is your way-down-deep, ideal, what-you-really-want-to-be description. Your “ideal” self. For instance, let’s say you just read the Ten Commandments (like you do every day, right? You don’t?) and you think to yourself “Oh, good, I’ve never broken a single one of those commandments! I’ve never even coveted my neighbor’s ass!” Your neighbor’s ass aside, most of us aren’t perfect.
Ok, I’ll go first: My “ideal” self is honest; I don’t judge others; I respect and honor all living creatures; I show compassion at all times; I aid those in need, etc. So, immediately my “bullshit radar” just lit up! Those may be parts of my “ideal” self, but I can guarantee I’m not that way all the time! How about you? I’ve still got my radar on, so be honest. Actually, I hadn’t really thought about my “ideal” self until I came across that little exercise in a book some time ago. We all have a somewhat vague sense of the concept, but I hadn’t ever specifically written down or thought about what my ideal self was. And it can change. Mine did, anyway. I’ve done LOTS of stupid things in my life. I’ve criticized others hurtfully, been judgemental, shown disrespect, rationalized my prejudices, etc. The thing is, if we can learn from each mistake, if we can forgive ourselves as well as others, that’s a good thing.
One thing I’ve learned is that I should think before I open my big mouth. Before I speak, I try to remember these things: Is what I’m about to say true and honest? Even if it is, is it worthwhile or helpful to say? And even if it’s true and may be helpful to say, can I say it without hurting someone else’s feelings? That one exercise is one I violate more than I wish to admit. Just ask my wife! I may not even know it at the time, but at other times, as soon as it comes out of my mouth, I think “crap, why did I say that?” It can be something simple, like my opinion of something she just purchased. If I think it’s ugly or whatever, why not just keep my mouth shut? Or maybe a “white lie”. Or think of any redeeming quality, like maybe “that’ll go really good with the other one!” (The other ugly one).
I try to learn from mistakes; so you’d think I’ve learned a LOT!! And you’d be correct. So who is the “ideal” you?