“Know Thyself”

Dear Reader:

How many times in educational classes in college did we hear a professor quote Socrates with one of his most familiar mantras…”Know Thyself.” It was like it was the end-all response to just about any question in life…like vocation or goals and dreams. I reckon “Know Thyself” wasn’t in the Socratic rule book for nothing. Today we would probably go with a more modern synonym like “Be Self-Aware.”

Aren’t all of our lives a series of natural ebbs and flows? It has taken me most of my life to become self-aware of the boundaries that lie between the ups and downs of life. When we take time to reflect back on each of the repeated patterns we have experienced over and over again…we suddenly realize that it is our reactions to the ebbs and flows in our lives that make the difference between living a fulfilled life or a continuously stressed one.

Did we get ahead and gain from a “flow” time…saving money or paying off bills…or did we just dig ourselves deeper in debt by throwing it away doing things that didn’t help us take the next step to security?  ( So by the time the next “ebb” came through…we were in a worse position that the precious “ebb.”)

Do we like to think of ourselves as “victims” rather than face the truth that poor decisions and/or lack of strong decisions made over extended periods of time, repeated in patterns that we never broke …is actually the real culprit. Until we change and break the pattern in our lives…we find ourselves living that popular saying?- “If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always gotten.” 

A “perfect storm” doesn’t just come out of nowhere…it took a long time to build up due to on-going circumstances (today mostly man-made based on poor stewardship decisions in maintaining our planet)

Overall I think I handle most “ebbs” pretty well while taking time to count my blessings with the “flows.” Still…I have to remind myself every time a potentially financial or medical crisis arises to calm down and remember from similar experiences…that what I am facing is only an obstacle in the road…it is not a dead end.

If we actually died every time we made comments like “This one is going to kill me” we would have died more than the proverbial cat with the nine lives! 🙂 Instead we always move on but sadly too soon forget what lead us to the last crisis…until another one hits…and we are no more prepared than the last crisis because we haven’t changed anything in our pattern of life.

For example so many serious, potentially life-altering crises, like cancer, need only be considered a temporary detour and not a final destination. To date…these “detours” have put me on the back roads of my life journey where I get to find those corn fields in town and beautiful wild flowers along the less traveled country roads. Getting off the main highways (the main stream of life) the bumper to bumper traffic, the speed demons, horn beepers, road “rage’rs; and texting drivers can be an amazing catalyst to starting over with a better, calmer life.

So let’s all take time to look in the mirror and get to know ourselves a little better. My conversation would probably go something like this…”Now Becky…how many times have you blown up a temporary drawback in your mind only to discover that the problem was quite do-able…You just have to get over your own fear of incompetence and give people an opportunity to not only help you but teach you. Stop making the same mistakes by changing financial patterns. Make a list of your strengths and weaknesses….start taking “baby steps” to turn your weaknesses into strengths.

“Don’t be afraid to ask for help…nobody knows everything…and start breaking old habits with new guidelines to follow from people you trust. As soon as a new pattern is created…watch your life change forever. Through it all ask for God’s help…to lead you …He will never steer you wrong…in His own time. Count your blessings, not your problems. It is true…no matter what anyone’s circumstances are…there are plenty of people who would love to have your worst day. Never forget that….

So until tomorrow…May peace and tranquility flow through you into the mirror. Take a long look, then step back and start loving the person you see in front of you…flowers don’t compare their blooms with other flowers…and neither should we compare our strengths and weaknesses to other people. God is crazy in love with each of us just the way we are…now take that love with you wherever you go…to face each obstacle in life…knowing you are never ever alone.

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

Flowers are my mirrors…I just have to stop and take a long look at each bloom to see God’s benevolence  to me in His everlasting gifts of beauty and peace.




About Becky Dingle

I was born a Tarheel but ended up a Sandlapper. My grandparents were cotton farmers in Laurens, South Carolina and it was in my grandmother’s house that my love of storytelling began beside an old Franklin stove. When I graduated from Laurens High School, I attended Erskine College (Due West of what?) and would later get my Masters Degree in Education/Social Studies from Charleston Southern. I am presently an adjunct professor/clinical supervisor at CSU and have also taught at the College of Charleston. For 28 years I taught Social Studies through storytelling. My philosophy matched Rudyard Kipling’s quote: “If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.” Today I still spread this message through workshops and presentations throughout the state. The secret of success in teaching social studies is always in the story. I want to keep learning and being surprised by life…it is the greatest teacher. Like Kermit said, “When you’re green you grow, when you’re ripe you rot.”
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4 Responses to “Know Thyself”

  1. susan cadwell says:

    exactly what I needed today….Thank you.


    • Becky Dingle says:

      All this has made me reflect myself on the positive directives I have taken that have brought me the best results


  2. bcparkison says:

    True wordsspoken with love.
    Now…what is the red flower on the bottom row right.Is it a rose?all are beautful.


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