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August 11, 2011 / Jenny Ann Fraser

Full of Words:

I don’t see how there could be a happy alternative to fully being oneself. Anything less would deny you your destiny as far as I can tell.

I think the key to being our true selves lies in trust. We need to trust in a benevolent universe that creates nothing in nature without purpose, and therefore did not create us without purpose and meaning. So-called flaws included.
We need to trust that we are good enough as we are, and dismiss the judgements of others who may say differently.
Our so-called flaws exist because they serve some purpose but too often, we allow the limited thinking of others to define us and we decide to put our faith in that.

I did not speak a word until I was almost 3 years old.

Well, I did speak one word; “boo-boo”. Apparently it worked sufficiently until it didn’t.

It is typical of me, that I would wait until I was sure I could do something right before I would bother doing it at all. So just when my mother was becoming seriously concerned about why I hadn’t learned to speak I woke up one morning talking in fully formed sentences.

And, I haven’t stopped since.

I can’t imagine that it was very long before I began to be told that I talk too much. It was probably one of the first things that I learned about myself and it has in some ways plagued me all of my life.

Knowing that I talk too much, and being unable to control it, lead to a fair amount of shame and low self-esteem.

Even as an adult when I became conscious of the fact that I cannot slow my brain down enough to be able to catch my thoughts without talking or writing, I still felt somewhat guilty and ashamed of myself when criticized by others for being talkative.

When I got to my new job, I was seriously worried, knowing that my new boss is a very quiet man who doesn’t seem to like those who talk too much… but I was wrong.

My talking serves me well in my new position, but more than that, it serves the company well.

I am excellent at dealing with customers. I get them laughing, chatting, I brighten their day whenever I can and that is good for business, good for the customers, and good for me.

I have also saved my boss a few dollars by being the voice recordings for all of the voice-mail systems and the messages you would hear while on hold. He used to pay a pro for that service.

And then there is this writing thing. Finally, I understand why I was born full of words that are bursting to get out. And I also understand that anyone who would criticize me for being born this way is the one that has the problem. My words serve many a purpose and I wish I had realized it sooner.

The thing is, that I recognize that I myself have been guilty of criticizing others for the way that they are. Being critical is something I still catch myself doing, though less and less as I become more aware.

I am becoming more aware not only of myself and my space in the world, but that there is a plan for each of us, whether we figure it out or not. None of us chooses our intelligence, our personalities, our aptitudes nor many other things that make us who we are and yet we constantly critique and criticize each other for these aspects of ourselves that we do not choose.

I am also beginning to realize on a deep level that I am not the designer of the plan. Not for anyone. I can strive to control myself, but the extent of my influence ends there.

One of the things that has made my new position doing customer service a joy, is realizing that it is not up to me how others behave. My job is to accept, and work with that customer, or co-workers, the way they are. Not the way I think they should be.

What I have discovered over the past few years as I work to become aware of and curb my judgements towards others is that there is no other way to feel better about myself than to be accepting of what and who I am experiencing in the moment. Even when the situation is unpleasant as people often can be, where the path to non-judgement is a long one.

I’m not sure that I will ever be completely free, but the work is rewarding enough to spend a life-time trying.

Of course, there are always judgements to be made in every moment to keep us safe, make good decisions and create communities and relationships that serve us.

I don’t bring homeless people home for dinner, but I do give them the same smile, kind words, and dignity that I give to my customers and my co-workers.

I recently asked a young man who invited himself into my backyard while I was visiting with a friend to leave, because I was potentially concerned about safety. I was respectful when I did it, and I did not feel any animosity towards this clearly lost young person. In fact, each time I think of him, I wish him the best.

Living with compassion does not mean living as a doormat. Besides, I make a lousy doormat. I talk too much.

For a long time I have suspected that the only real reason we ever have for being critical of others is to make ourselves feel better. If we have any reason to look down on another human being, it can only be to prove our superiority. I don’t think we would have any need to do this if we really loved ourselves in the first place.

Understanding on a deeper level that we are all human souls first, and not the labels we place on ourselves or each other helps me to remain mindful that I am no more worthy than any other person alive. This means that I am no less worthy than any other, no matter how flawed I might be.

Learning to embrace myself as I am, in this moment, knowing that there is plenty of room to grow means that I can only boost my self-concept by working on myself. Looking down on others only provides the illusion of superiority. It will do nothing to make me believe in me.

If I want to truly be myself, then I have to allow others to do the same. I don’t see how there could be any other happy alternative.

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8 Comments

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  1. brittany220 / Aug 11 2011 4:30 pm

    Holy smokes Jenny that was genius! That was extremely well written and so enlightening to read. We may have been labeled oppositely(instead of “you talk too much” I got “you should talk more”), but our feelings on the labels are the same. It’s really interesting how that label plagued you too and you felt like you were looked down upon for it.

    “For a long time I have suspected that the only real reason we ever have for being critical of others is to make ourselves feel better. If we have any reason to look down on another human being, it can only be to prove our superiority. I don’t think we would have any need to do this if we really loved ourselves in the first place.”
    Very good insights Jenny, this is true and important to keep in mind when others put us down. Your words help make this clear and accessible for understanding.

    Really, really good post. I’m “starring” it on my gmail, and want to print it even so I can look back at it later. 🙂

    • Jenny Ann Fraser / Aug 11 2011 6:55 pm

      Hello Brittany,
      Thank you so much for your inspiring comments! Genius? I am blushing…:)
      I have been thinking along these lines for a long time and I’m glad that I am becoming brave enough to put them into writing. I am also grateful for all of the comments I receive. They really do keep me inspired.
      Thank you so much!

  2. Suzanne / Aug 11 2011 8:47 pm

    Well said, Jenny. You have given me a lot to think about. Your attitude towards customers and co-workers is something I need to strive toward.

    • Jenny Ann Fraser / Aug 12 2011 7:30 am

      Thanks Suzanne,
      I have to say that it is easier to do with strangers than those you are close to, but it does make life easier when you accept people as they are and work with that. Best of luck to you!

  3. patriciaswisdom / Aug 11 2011 10:01 pm

    What a marvelous post you have created here – to like oneself is the full circle of compassion and oh how often one is expected to be a door mat in this world….too often

    In Nonviolent Communications/ Compassionate Communications Dr. Marshall Rosenberg adds a piece about the “protective use of force” – such as catching a toddler before he/she runs into the street, but it is even bigger than that and still a long way from war.

    I think writing helps me curb my thinking and clarify – I mostly do not talk, but occasionally “speed rap” or “motor mouth” when things get pent up…

    thank you for sharing this lovely piece of writing and clear thinking I appreciate your words

    • Jenny Ann Fraser / Aug 12 2011 7:33 am

      Thank you Patricia!
      That sounds like an interesting book that I should add t the list.
      I do imagine that writing would help most of us to think more clearly, but for me it is like a release of pent-up thoughts.
      I am so glad that you enjoyed the post.

  4. Greg / Aug 11 2011 11:32 pm

    God Himself, sir, does not propose to judge a man until his life is over (Why should you and I?)
    Dr. Samuel Johnson

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