Oct 03

“Desiderata”: The Middle Part of Max Ehrmann’s Prose Poem

Picking up from yesterday’s post, here’s Desiderata: The Middle Part…

VI. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

Psychology Today“Social comparison theory states that we determine our own social and personal worth based on how we stack up against others. As a result, we are constantly making self and other evaluations across a variety of domains (for example, attractiveness, wealth, intelligence, and success). Most of us have the social skills and impulse control to keep our envy and social comparisons quiet but our true feelings may come out in subtle ways.”

Steve Furtick“The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the-scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel.”

Anne Lamott: “Never compare your insides to everyone else’s outsides.”

VII. Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

 VIII. Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals; and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Seeking everyday heroes? Not hard. Here are just a few websites of note:

IX. Be yourself.

A common enough sentiment among writings in addition to Desiderata: The Middle Part.

Oscar Wilde: “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.”

Bernard Baruch: “Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.”

Leo Buscaglia: “The easiest thing to be in the world is you. The most difficult thing to be is what other people want you to be. Don’t let them put you in that position.”

Harvey Fierstein: “Accept no one’s definition of your life, but define yourself.”

Jo Coudert: “For you cannot live in someone else. You cannot find yourself in someone else. You cannot be given a life by someone else. Of all the people you will know in a lifetime, you are the only one you will never leave or lose.”

X. Especially, do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass.

Erica Jong“Do you want me to tell you something really subversive? Love is everything it’s cracked up to be. That’s why people are so cynical about it…It really is worth fighting for, being brave for, risking everything for. And the trouble is, if you don’t risk anything, you risk even more.”

Douglas Yates“People who are sensible about love are incapable of it.”

The final part of this blog series on Desiderata will be here tomorrow…

Jul 23

Giving and Receiving Advice: Quotes From Well-Known Figures

How do you feel about giving and receiving advice? Do you give it? Under what circumstances? Do you like getting it? Solicited, unsolicited, or both? Do you actually take the advice? Does it usually work out for you? Who do you go to for advice?

Many say that therapists are in the business of giving advice—I think that’s true, to a point. While we tend to refrain from telling people what they “should” do, we certainly may recommend things to consider.

As all clients and therapists are unique, some clients want more advice or direction than they receive from their shrinks, some want less. My unsolicited advice? Tell your therapist what you want in this regard and proceed from there.

Here’s a sampling of quotes from some non-therapists regarding giving and receiving advice:

P.G. Wodehouse: I always advise people never to give advice.

Erica Jong: Advice is what we ask for when we already know the answer but wish we didn’t.

Alexandre Dumas: As a general rule,’ he had once said, ‘people ask for advice only in order not to follow it; or, if they do follow it, in order to have someone to blame for giving it.’ (Athos)

Khalil Gibran: Most people who ask for advice from others have already resolved to act as it pleases them.

Ben Franklin: Wise men don’t need advice. Fools won’t take it. 

Edna St. Vincent MillayI am glad that I paid so little attention to good advice; had I abided by it I might have been saved from some of my most valuable mistakes.

Uncle Dynamite: There’s nothing a failure likes more than giving advice. 

Douglas Adams: The quality of any advice anybody has to offer has to be judged against the quality of life they actually lead.

Erin Whitehead: I’ve never not regretted taking advice that started with ˝You should…˝

Oscar Wilde: The only good thing to do with good advice is pass it on; it is never of any use to oneself.

Anne Tyler: It is very difficult to live among people you love and hold back from offering them advice.

Amy Sedaris: My mother always said ‘Don’t bother other people.’ I think that’s good advice.