I read this quote by Elizabeth Gilbert the other day. Pretty benign quote actually, but something strange happened. Right after I read it, I could sense a stirring of emotion…just quietly beneath the surface, a little inkling of unrest. Well… I’ve been walking the path of self-discovery and personal development long enough to know that wherever there is negative emotion, there’s something that needs to be uncovered. I thought to myself…what’s there? Let’s dig a little deeper.
I read the quote again and my mind carried me back to my childhood. Skinny little thing, all legs with big knees and I remembered how I used to play alone. I loved being by myself and then it hit me. Once upon a time you recognized yourself as a friend. I could play alone for hours with myself, exploring new things or inventing new worlds. I can recall lying on the grass looking at the white clouds against the bright blue sky, feeing the softness of the grass beneath me. No other place I’d rather be. Just me and my friend, Self. I liked her. I accepted her for who she was, never demanded anything from her. She was okay to just be and I really enjoyed her company.
So…what happened? The voice inside my head happened. The voice that began reminding me that I was ‘Not.’ Not this or not that. I realized that I no longer regarded my Self as a friend and welcomed her and allowed her to just be. Now, I regard her as someone to place demands on, to heap expectation on. “Strive to be better,” “You’re not successful enough,” “You need to finish that book by the end of the month,” “Definitely… you need to clean this house!”
Upon reading the quote, the stirring was there because I realized I’m not as accepting of myself as I could be. At times, I’m my own drill sergeant. I thought of how I treat my own friends…always loving, kind and encouraging, never demanding, eager to spend time with them and enjoy their company. I’m never a drill sergeant to them, they’d never tolerate it, but with myself, I can be.
So what’s a girl to do? Let go. Trust that it will all be taken care of. Enjoy life more, play more. Isn’t that what friends do? Yes, still keep moving toward my highest and best self, but I’m going to relax a little more. Lay on the grass and look at the clouds in the sky. Take my time, enjoy the ride. And I’m going to always make sure I give my friend, Self, the very best treatment, the treatment she deserves. She really is doing the best she can.
Thank you Ms. Gilbert for reminding me that I still have more work to do. That I still need to embrace more parts of myself, still need to let go of expectation. And thanks for reminding me to embrace my friend and welcome her back. She’s been gone for far too long.
To Your Journey,
Tonya Lampley is a fiction author writing on life, love and the journey. Her debut novel was titled A Taste of Love and was a 2012 NIEA finalist. Her second book is titled Indiscretion. Both books are available on Amazon. For more information about Tonya and her works please visit www.TonyaLampley.com.