Sydney Poitier was recently on Oprah discussing his book, “A Measure of a Man”. I always record Oprah so I just watched the episode. The book was Oprah’s Book Club choice, and therefore the discussion took place over dinner with a few lucky viewers. It was what one viewer, a gentleman, said that registered with me.
He said that he uses the book as a kind of “How To” manual for raising his boys into men. The main point that he took from the book and now stresses to his boys is, “Know who you are”. He goes onto say that if someone accuses you of something or calls you a name – well, you know who you are. That does not mean you. Let it fall away like an autumn leaf because you know who you are. Then, they showed a quote from Sydney Poitier that’s in the book: “Someone asked me, Who are you? I’m the me I choose to be”.
I love that and I love that I heard that message today of all days. I am coming to know who I am. I know what my intentions are so, if someone says something about me, then I can let those comments just slide off. I don’t HAVE to get all pissed off and defensive. I want to, of course, but I’ll choose to talk myself out of that space. No. Instead I will look and listen to what the person said. I’ll consider it. I’ll ask myself some questions. Are they right? Do I have something to learn? Is that me? Then I can safely embrace or disregard the exchange. You see, I think if we get angry then there is some thing/issue we have to look at. Something to learn. Otherwise, we truly wouldn’t care.
I’ve heard the message today, and I’ve written it down because I’m sure I’ll have to remind myself of it in the future. But isn’t that the way of all lessons? It takes a few falls and stumbles to really “get it”.