Thank Yourself

A Very Personal Act Of Thanksgiving

To achieve a life of success, no matter how you define it, gratitude is imperative …we all know this. But, our gratitude must also extend to our self. It’s easy for us to forget that. We shouldn’t.

Like me, you may have heard people express regrets as they approach the winter of their years about their shortcomings and failures. Often they are disappointed that their lives didn’t quite turn out they way they had planned, had expected, or had hoped. Most of us enter adulthood full of ideas, spirit, energy, and grand intentions. It seems at the time that we are eternal, if not immortal.

We eventually discover, however, that while life can be fun and engaging, it also becomes progressively more challenging when dealing with finances, careers, families, responsibilities, losses, and so much more. Most of us do an admirable job navigating the changes and challenges. We work hard and do what we feel is the right thing. We set goals and lay out life plans, but often find it increasingly more difficult to stay on track. We find that the years pass faster than we imagined they could. We learn to grow with our years and deal with our tears. Maybe we feel that we will never be able to make the mark that we had planned.

As I write this, the movie “Mr. Holland’s Opus”comes to mind. As Mr. Holland, portrayed by Richard Dreyfuss, approaches the end of his career, seemingly disappointed with his mundane accomplishments in work and life, he is presented with evidence that his work ethic and compassion over the years have made a mark much more meaningful than he thought. This opus ends with quite a crescendo.  (If per chance you haven’t seen this movie, I highly recommend that you do. It is a very moving and uplifting film.)

No matter what you have achieved in life …or haven’t, Max Ehrman, author of “Desiderata,” penned a poem called “A Prayer” that makes it a bit easier for us to accept ourselves for who we are, and to thank ourselves for our efforts in life.

Enjoy, and please do be thankful to yourself for yourself.

by Max Ehrman

Let me do my work each day;
And if the darkened hours of despair overcome me,
May I not forget the strength that comforted me
In the desolation of other times.

May I still remember the bright hours that found me
Walking over the silent hills of my childhood,
Or dreaming on the margin of the quiet river,
When a light glowed within me,
And I promised my early God to have courage
Amid the tempests of the changing years. 

Spare me from bitterness
And from the sharp passions of unguarded moments.
May I not forget that poverty and riches are of the spirit.

Though the world knows me not,
May my thoughts and actions be such
As shall keep me friendly with myself.

Lift my eyes from the earth,
And let me not forget the uses of the stars.
Forbid that I should judge others,
Lest I condemn myself.
Let me not follow the clamor of the world,
But walk calmly in my path.

Give me a few friends who will love me for what I am;
And keep ever burning before my vagrant steps
The kindly light of hope.

And though age and infirmity overtake me,
And I come not within sight of the castle of my dreams,
Teach me still to be thankful for life,
And for time’s olden memories that are good and sweet;
And may the evening’s twilight find me gentle still.


Happy Thanksgiving to all. (even  if it’s not a holiday for you today)  🙂



Hill of Life



I sat with the stars on the hill of life
And looked at the world below.
I ran with the winds where winds begin
And followed them where they blow.
I lay by the sea on the beaten rock
And rode on the farthest wave,
I watched by a child on its night of birth
And followed it to its grave.
And love in the still of the star flecked night,
When earth was all strewn with gold,
Has lifted my heart like the chords of a song
Oft sung in the worlds of old.
And although I have not understood all this,
Made up of a laugh and a wail,
I think that the God of the world knows all,
And some day will tell the tale.
                                       —Max Ehrmann

photo credit: Royce Bair

Here Comes The Judge!

Judging others is, unfortunately, an easy process. We all have our personal values, beliefs, and expectations; they are etched in our sub-conscious. Therefore, they are always at the forefront of our attitudes and behaviors. These are the standards that we usually wish everyone else in our world also adhered to. Not usually the case though, is it? The more another’s values, beliefs, and behaviors mirror our own, the higher on our approval scale they rate. Of course, the opposite is also true. The further away from our standards others are, the lower they rate. We have now judged!

We typically choose one of two manifestations of judgment:

  • Private – We judge, but the judgment never leaves the confines of our own mind.
  • Public – We either verbalize or act out our judgment. This happens either with others, but behind the victim’s back, or worse, in the victim’s presence. Why is it worse in their presence, because now we have embarrassed, if not downright belittled our target. We may even have risen to the level of bully without realizing it.

Further, lest we forget, as we judge others against our standards, everyone else is likely doing the same to us. Well, that just doesn’t seem right, does it? After all, we’re the ones who are…  Oh well, you get the idea.

Want to get better and feel better… and Give Yourself Away this coming year without cost? It’s easy. Just refuse to criticize or belittle anyone, for any reason, ever again. Replace it with tolerance and validation. Look for the good in everyone, then compliment or validate it, and them. It may not be easy at the start, but it’s doable for everyone. Not only is there no cost, there are huge benefits.

  • First, for the other person, you may well be lifting their spirits and feelings of self-worth, and brightening their day.
  • Second, you will likely become more respected and admired, as well as perceived as a leader. Further, you will eliminate the subtle negative withdrawals that judging others does to your own self-esteem, and replace them with positive deposits to your self-worth.

What a great New Year Resolution this would make.

Here’s what other wise men have to say on the matter:

  1. From Dr. Wayne Dyer, “When you judge another, you do not define them, you define yourself.”
  2. From the bible, “Do not judge, and you will not be judged…” —(Luke 6:37)
  3. From Max Ehrmann (part of the ‘Desiderata’) “If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself…”

Happy New Year everyone!