What progress, you ask, have I made? I have begun to be a friend to myself.Hecato of Rhodes, Greek philosopher ____________________________________________________
Not much is known of Hecato’s life, and little remains of his writings. But this quote lives on and speaks volumes to me. It has stuck with me over the years because I think it is some of the most useful and practical advice to come out of two thousands years of philosophy. It somehow gives me solace to know that people were discussing this depressing but important concept thousands of years ago. I hope they still are. Well I am, right? And I hope you’ll join me.
I think this quote gives power to the small steps we often have to take. When looking back on the darkest times of my life, it is only me that could have pulled me out. The times when I’ve most needed help are also the times when I am at my depressing worst. I become devoid of personality and the only thing sparkly about me is the glint off the daggers I’m throwing. There are times I do not like myself—my bad habits or my opinions or my limitations. Sometimes people can reach an arm into the abyss and try to grab my hand but I drive them away with a slap of surliness. Sometimes others have caused me pain, sometimes I have caused the pain to myself. But in the end it comes down to how soon I am willing to release it, grow from it, and give myself some credit for taking a baby step in being a friend to myself, because if we can’t be friends with ourselves, then who will?
Knowing that I am a work in progress at all times helps sustain me and keeps me moving forward. Or least moving. Sometimes it’s all one can do.