So, let’s begin with my personal definition of “own.” For me “own” means it’s mine and it can’t be taken from me. I don’t owe a dime on my house but there are a bunch of ways I could lose it. I have in my possession lots of cool stuff that could be stolen, lost, destroyed or otherwise taken from me. Even if you say l “own” that stuff it’s at best temporary.
No matter how much “stuff” you may claim to own you’re not going to leave this world with very much and there is nothing you can do to change that.
But there are two things in this world I absolutely own and so do you.
The first is my self-respect.
Eleanor Roosevelt, the diplomat and former First Lady said, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”
What an incredibly insightful statement. I first heard that in High School and boy did it come in handy. I went to a Military High School and the military staff worked overtime to try and make us feel inferior. That was back in the day when the concept of “you have to tear them down before you can build them up” was very much in vogue. They had the tearing down part totally mastered.
But very few people really know me well enough for their opinion of me to matter. I’d bet that’s very much the case with you as well. So don’t let people who have not lived your life “help” you to determine your self-worth. They have no idea what you have overcome or are living with right now. Their opinion is just that, an opinion. It’s an opinion formed without many of the facts required to be accurate so put no more value in it than it deserves.
Always put a ton more value on the SELF part of self-respect and then be honest with yourself. Never cut yourself more “slack” than you would someone else. You darn well know the difference between right and wrong and if it’s wrong for someone else it’s highly likely that it’s wrong for you too.
The second thing that I absolutely, positively own, as do you, is the right to choose my own attitude. No one, regardless of their position, title, or importance in my life can take that from me…or you.
There are no circumstances, no problems, and no situations in life that can steal that right from you.
In his amazing book, “Man’s Search for Meaning,” Viktor Frankl describes the ability to choose one’s own attitude as the last of the human freedoms and the only one that can never be taken from us.
By the way, Viktor Frankl survived the Holocaust and in those horrible days he held on to the ability to choose his attitude so be careful when saying that your own circumstances make it impossible. You truly can choose your attitude no matter what!
Living an honest life while trying to make a difference in this world will make it easier to keep your self-respect when some around you would like to destroy it. Maintaining a healthy self-respect will make it far easier to choose a positive attitude. The two go hand-in-hand.
Healthy self-respect and a positive attitude are choices, they are choices you own and always will. Never forget that, not even for a second!
4 thoughts on “What You Actually Own”
Great perspective Steve… and well said! Once again, you have made a compelling case.
I particularly like the line “don’t let people who have not lived your life “help” you to determine your self-worth.” At best, they can only see a fraction of who you really are. Why should I elevate their perspective?
I have found that bringing God into the above equation is enormously life affirming. He DOES see me completely (who I am [now], my potential, my [good and bad] motives, my flaws and self-centeredness, etc.)… and yet he values me, believes in me and laid down his life for me.
It is an amazing feeling to live life free from the unreliable, partial opinions of others. I don’t walk in that freedom all the time, but it is getting stronger with each passing year.
Thanks for your excellent comment Pat. His is truly the only “opinion” that matters and the only one the is totally correct. We even shade our opinion of ourselves with some questionable input. The great thing however is His love for us is all we truly need.
I wish when you put books on to read you could help with the year it was published.
Man’s Search for Meaning,” Viktor Frank many books on Amazon.
Thanks for your input Shari, I used to put more info in the blog on the books I reference but was strongly criticized for “selling” books when my Twitter bio says “not selling a thing, only giving back.” So I provide title and author name only. Then of course I’m criticized for that as well, but at least the folks with a sincere interest in reading the books are only frustrated, they don’t threaten to kill me as two people actually did for “selling” books here.
It’s kind of a no win deal in social media, with nearly a million subscribers some people will be disappointed with every single post.
But I’ll continue anyway. But I’m really glad you’re interested enough to ask… Victor Frankl’s classic was originally published in 1946 and has been reprinted many times. With over 10 million copies sold it is truly a life changing book. At the risk of again being accused 😋 of selling I highly recommend the book.