During assorted times in my adulthood, I have found particular phrases or mantras comforting. If you have been reading this blog for a while, you have heard me mention “It is better to be kind than to be right” on several occasions. I still believe this is true. Hammering home your point hardly feels satisfying when the other person is left cut off at the knees. One of the courses that I am taking right now teaches how to effectively coach others (in my case, teachers). In an ideal coaching conversation, the majority of the talking is done by the person being coached. This means the coach (me) needs to take a breath, pause, take another breath, pause some more and consider what I am going to say. Why am I talking? Am I keeping the focus on the other person? I wonder how much better lots of relationships would be if we communicated more like this.
More recently the mantra that has been going through my mind is “To thine own self be true”. I am not sure if I am applying it the same same manner as Mr. Shakespeare intended, but it keeps popping into my head. I am not suggesting that I am putting myself and my needs before all others. After all, that would be in deep contrast to my previous mantras. I think it is because at the right old age of 40 something, in my second year of widowhood, I believe more strongly than any other time in my life, that my words and actions are not contingent on what others may say or think. They represent me. The words that I chose to speak and the things that I chose to do ARE me. I don’t think that I have ever known myself so truly or understood myself more fully. It is powerful and empowering. Perhaps it took being alone. Being more of an “I” than a “we”. A sliver of a rainbow after the storm.