A well-known Roman Philosopher had divorced his wife, and the talk around town was divided.
One day, he was standing in the market when he overheard a conversation going on behind him. “Wasn’t she beautiful? Wasn’t she chaste?”
He turned around, took of his shoe and said, “Look at my sandal. Isn’t it beautiful? Isn’t it well made? But who amongst you can tell me where it pinches me?”
I often think of that reply and how easy it is for all of us to quickly make judgements based on what we see and think we know.
Many of us would know of at least one couple who have split up for what appeared to be reasons that we didn’t quite understand. Even in the counselling room, the first impressions can be deceptive.
It’s only when we hear the stories behind the actions, that we can begin to understand how we can come to wrong conclusions. Sometimes it’s easy to see, looking on, how painful situations might have been avoided if a little time had been spent working on either personal issues or better ways of relating.
For some, the idea of doing something different, especially if it means having to change our long-established ways of thinking, is unappealing, believing it all sounds too hard.
Humans being what we are, we frequently refuse to believe that anything we do will make a difference. After all, “our situation is different”. So most people seem to think.
Oddly enough, over the years, I have noticed that certain things keep standing out. Simple things that many would not expect could make such a difference and aren’t that hard to achieve.
If you continue to dip into the writings in the future, you will notice some common themes. And there are only a few.
Problem areas common to many of us
A majority of misunderstandings, arguments, tension and difficulties we face, are directly related to how we see ourselves. For when we have a clear understanding of what and who we really are, it brings a freedom in the life. Freedom from endless striving to prove to others and ourselves, that we are o.k. and a likeable person.
That endless striving however, has been based on entirely false ideas about who we are.
When I have this clear picture of what and who I really am, real relationships based on truth become possible.
The reasons that this makes a difference is that when I know and learn to love who I really am, I no longer need to try to impress you with my false sense of worthiness, exhibit power and control over you, or present a continuing fake self in order that you may like me.
When I have a genuine love for myself, not love based on a fake self, then I am able to love you without any strings attached.
You see, it’s not possible to love another person, God included, any more that the degree to which I love myself. I can’t give what I don’t have!
Anyone who has a relationship with God based on religion, will find this idea heresy. That’s o.k. It just means they haven’t really discovered what and who they really are.
Having done it myself, I can assure you, it’s a discovery worth pursuing.
Other aspects that can make a difference, I will write about in time.