Sunday, June 11, 2017

To thine own self be true

  This returned to me as a crystal clear memory the other night. I recalled when a friend of mine and I visited London for the first time in 1983. We spoke English between us in an effort to improve our foreign language skills. When we sat at a restaurant I started on a long monologue, more or less successful. My friend cautioned me, made me lower my voice and did so in Norwegian.
  It was not long after that, as we sat there eating I realized that he was embarrassed, and that I wasn’t.
  It was probably one of the first times in my life that it dawned on me that I didn’t care, just didn’t care what others happened to think of me. It was a profound and important insight that has helped me immensely later in life. I had been insecure and second-guessed myself as a child and adolescent, and that had kept me, at least to a point from letting go and enjoy myself. That stopped sometime after I became an adult. I grew up, so to speak.
  I had always seen my friend as pretty confident and secure within himself, but not long after that moment in the restaurant I realized that he in truth wasn’t, and that most other people weren’t either. They were fearful of speaking out, of standing up for themselves and their views, afraid of public condemnation, of losing face in the eyes of others, without realizing that they had already lost it, in their own eyes. I experienced a kind of slow epiphany in the coming years, as it dawned on me that I was, in truth pretty confident and secure within myself, and that I had a lot to offer both myself and the world.
  It wasn’t like I saw myself as a world champion or anything, but more like I realized that I didn’t need to be, and thereby freed myself to pursue whatever I wanted, independently of others’ opinion and expectation of it or me.
  It worked, in spite of the occasional setback beyond all expectations.
  Do your true will, not the one imposed on you by an insane community and society.
  Polonius: This above all: to thine own self be true, And it must follow, as the night the day, Thou canst not then be false to any man. Hamlet - William Shakespeare

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