Never once did my father read me a story. Never once that I can recall did he hold my hand as we walked along. But my father, as troubled as he was, shared with me a few keen lessons in life. This man who was tormented by depression and frustration said to me, “When you hate someone. You are allowing them ownership of you. Don’t let anyone own you, but you.” My father never recognized his wisdom. But I did.
This June marks two years since he died of a massive stroke. He possessed great wisdom; yet couldn’t apply it to his life. Words of wisdom, knowledge and truth are nothing if not utilized in our daily existence. Due to some magnificent teachers we know the importance of owning one’s self. It does not mean to simply feel good about who you are, however. It means to own your words, your deeds, and your emotions.
And when we blame others for how we feel, we are failing to realize that we are handing over ownership to them of our very being. I remember when my son graduated from high school. Moments before the ceremony began his estranged father strode in, and sat in visual range of not only my son but me. This person was an emotional wild card, and the last person my son wanted to see. And when the ceremony ended he strode off; no congratulatory handshakes or hugs were offered to his son; no cards offering well wishes. His appearances had little to do with good intention. His motive was clear. He wanted to shake us off our happy, emotional plateau. As I sat in the auditorium it was clear to me, either I could allow this man to own me via ownership of my emotions or I could choose to dwell in the happiness of my son’s accomplishments and the family that surrounded me. It was for me to decide how I wanted to feel in the midst of it. I chose happiness.
There will always be people like that in this world. Those that want to steal our happiness. Those that will try to own us by keeping us unsettled, or feeling powerless. But it is always up to us as to how much of ourselves we allow them to control and own. I say, allow them nothing. And the same is true when it comes to romantic love. Love them. Enjoy them. But do not let them own your joy. Although you may miss them when they are not near; as you should if there is genuine love involved, do not let your happiness hinge upon their appearance. That is too much control to give another. Instead if they are not there to share a moment with you, allow yourself the soft pang of discomfort inherent to their absence. But try not to allow their absence to take from you your happiness.
Every decision you make is yours and yours alone. Every word you speak must be approved by the judge and jury of your inner compass. And your emotions should be held steadfast due to your inner beliefs, not someone else’s. Because people come and go. During your lifetime you will encounter just as many good people as you will bad, and just as many misdeeds as you will good. But throughout it all, there remains you. So own you. You are your forever constant in an ever-shifting, ever-unpredictable world. Be happy because you decided to be so. Say kind words because it is the true expression of your inner self. And do what pleases you because you matter. And the only one who should own you – is you.