-Ralph Waldo Emerson (Questionably attributed to some)“To laugh often and much;
To win the respect of intelligent people
and the affection of children;
To earn the appreciation of honest critics
and endure the betrayal of false friends;
To appreciate beauty, to find the best in others;
To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child,
a garden patch or a redeemed social condition;
To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived.
This is to have succeeded.”
How is success defined to you? Where are your lines drawn to your own personal acceptance? Is success entirely attributed to the amount of money you make? Degree(s) you have earned? Car you drive? Brand of shoes on your feet? Or can you bring yourself to extend to a higher degree of success: success being love? Success being the people you love?
Do not take the people in your life for granted. Cherish them. As James Taylor would say: Shower the people you love with love. There is no better healing power than the affection and unconditional acceptance of someone you love and hold with high esteem. But, you cannot just have these relationships… you need to work at them. You cannot be consumed by the give and take, you should be refreshed with the mindset of give and give. Give all you can, and you will receive it back, especially if you are not in any way expecting it. This is the real power of success that Emerson refers to.
Find the best in others, especially the ones you love. For most, the beginning of any relationship, not just a romantic one, is all gravy. Everyone puts their best foot forward, and the recipients are enchanted, but as with anything—the snow eventually melts. This is where the true test lies. Try not to scrutinize their faults, but celebrate what makes them unique. Try to look at their subjective shortcomings as what makes them… them! And try to flip your impulsive negative connotations to focusing on their positive qualities—the ones you originally fell in love with! And remember: the more love you give, the more it will be reflected back to you through the people you love. Monkey see, monkey do.
But make sure, before you devote yourself fully to the people in your life, that they are true friends. Know that the people you surround yourself with push you to reach your personal bests in life. Know that there are no twinges of jealousy in reaction to your achievements or, worse, happiness. And if you are not surrounded by these people, you have successfully endured the betrayal of false friends, and make the simple choice to reach out and give more of your time and love to the people you know are true. Listen to your heart, it knows best.
© Seth D. Cohen and Stop.Breathe.Action, 2012.
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