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“Our self-respect tracks our choices. Every time we act in harmony with our authentic self and our heart, we earn our respect. It is that simple. Every choice matters.” – Dan Coppersmith

I found a poem folded and put away in the old trunk my mother brought with her to Charlotte. The poem had passed around dad’s office in 1951.

This 1934 poem is now framed and hanging next to my shaving mirror. I won’t say I read it every day, but I read it often. Dale Wimbrow wrote the poem in 1934. It seems old-timey now, and may have even sounded that way then, but its meaning is clear.

glass-typewriterI like the poem and I especially like the look of the print created by the old typewriters of that day – they were marvelous machines. Characters were transferred to paper by the operator striking a key, causing the arm to hit the ribbon with just the right amount of force. Ingenious. Strike-overs and hand corrections provide a warm, personal feeling.

Every self-help expert I read or hear gives me this Wimbrow message. They package it in different ways but the advice stays the same – “only loving yourself allows you to love others,” they all say.

Yet this self-love can be a hard choice. I want to please others, to have them like me, before I like them.

Do you know people like this, or could this be you? Spending so much time worried about how you look to others that you have forgotten how you look to yourself.

Is it possible, as I write this short story, that I am thinking more about your reaction as my reader than I am about the joy I receive in writing these simple words?

What can you share about this idea of finding happiness, do you need to be right for yourself – first? Or is that idea selfish?

As always, the conversation starts here.

“In the ordinary choices of every day we begin to change the direction of our lives.” – Eknath Easwaran

Epilogue

This is the message Sammy Davis, Jr. delivers in the Walter Marks hit, “I’ve Gotta Be Me.”