We rarely engage with gratitude, failing to see how much worse things could get. Henry Ward Beecher, G.K. Chesterton and Charles Dickens. Art by M. Raimondi
Jane Austen in 1814 said; “We have all a better guide in ourselves, if we would attend to it, than any other person can be”. Instead of believing that feelings of low self-esteem must be cast away immediately, first hear what they have to say.
Meister Eckhart (1260-1328) is quoted as saying “A human being has so many skins inside, covering the depths of the heart. We know so many things, but we don’t know ourselves! Why, thirty or forty skins or hides, as thick and hard as an ox’s or bear’s, cover the soul. Go into your own ground and learn to know yourself there.”
When we are mistreated, most of us react, and reactions are emotional. We get angry, upset and we grasp the wrongful treatment with both hands, like a crab might his dinner.
We look up at the ideal we fall so short of, embittered. If only that target wasn’t so high, or better again, if it didn’t exist at all, we wouldn’t appear so dreadful! In doing so, we bring the heavens crashing down to join us in the slums. Now we are level.
It has endless potential for consumption, and if we don’t recognise it and stop it from latching on, its influence will spread.
In this act they redeemed their tragedy. They represented the very best of human nature, shouldering their suffering and showing courage in the face of fear.
The old moral philosophers called it the ‘finis ultimus’ (utmost aim) or ‘summum bonum’ (greatest good). The utmost to aim for in terms of our character, for those around us and our society.
It creates such a level of unease that every endeavour is taken to appease everyone. But of course, it is an impossible task. If we take any meaningful or purposeful action, there will be people who are not going to approve.
Feeling lost is an indicator that there is something we should find that will bring us closer to our potential. Its like a mid-space, between where we were and where we are going.