What if we could play back a recording of the dialogue going through our heads all day?
I think most of us would find that, if anyone else talked to us like we talked to ourselves, we’d probably want to head-sock ‘em a time or two for good measure.
“What progress, you ask, have I made? I have begun to be a friend to myself.”
I read that passage in the airport last night at midnight. I was getting ready to hop on a red-eye with my lovely wife and 2-year old daughter. The thought of making my incredibly lively little girl sit in ONE place for SIX hours was daunting.
To say I was stressed would be an understatement.
Here’s the self-talk that was going through my head at the time:
“Dude, Jonas, Rory’s gonna freaking EXPLODE on the plane. Like, spontaneously combust in a fit of rage. There will be blood. They’ll have to ground the plane in Sacramento. The TSA, FBI, CIA, ATF, and NSA will be involved. A lot of guys will be standing around carrying clipboards. They’ll take you into that room with the low light and cement walls. Everyone on board will hate you guys for even thinking of taking her on this flight. Good luck, man.”
After reading that passage from Seneca, I felt everything… relax.
“It’s all good, Jonas. We’re in this together. Your family is awesome. People on the plane are just people. Rory isn’t the only tot on there. If they get bent, it’s their issue. But most of them are probably parents themselves. They’ll understand. In any case, Rory’s an incredible little girl. She may fuss a bit here and there, but all in all, it’ll be fine.”
Was this ME talking? If so, it was an entirely different ‘me’ than the ‘me’ that I was talking to moments earlier. And it ended up being right. So I’m glad I listened.
I saw right then and there, in front of gate B6, how huge of an undertaking this mental shift was that Seneca wrote about. I like being friends with me.
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- Letters of A Stoic (I’m reading this one right now and am blown away. Be looking forward to some quotes/musings courtesy of Seneca coming up soon.)
- Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends On It. One of my favorite reads (written by a personal friend and mentor of mine) touches on this in depth (but a short, enjoyable read).