Take everything you like seriously, except yourselves.
- Rudyard Kipling
To take yourself seriously means that you believe you are more important than anyone else in your life.
To take yourself seriously means that you believe everything you do is so ideal as to be unimpeachable.
To take yourself seriously means you don't want to allow for the possibility that a contrary opinion to yours, by someone else, is less worthy than your own, no matter how important that opinion or position is to the other person.
To take yourself seriously means that you refuse to allow that someone who offends or hurts you, intentionally or not, can be forgiven because they are somehow an inferior segment to the human species.
Take what you do seriously, not yourself. What you do is who you are. What you do is inviolable, while what you say may not be dependable or even truthful.
To take yourself seriously means that when the time comes, you may not be prepared to forgive yourself for grievances you have caused to others or to yourself. In order to forgive yourself, you need to give yourself enough slack, which means to not take yourself too seriously.
You aren't perfect. You will make mistakes, even with the best of intentions. The more seriously you take yourself, the harder you will find it to forgive yourself. This may not seem important if you have not reached middle age, but it will become more important as you get older and begin to compare your life to what it might have been under different circumstances.
To take yourself too seriously means to burn your bridges behind you. If you do that enough, you will find yourself living in a very small world when you get older. Your small world will not be big enough to accommodate the changes that happen around you and make you feel isolated.
Kipling said that you should take everything you like seriously. Understood after those words and before "except yourselves" was his advice that you should like yourself. If you can't like yourself, who you have made yourself to be, then you will never be happy. You can find excitement, even buy it, but you won't be happy. You will never find tranquility and contentment in your life if you don't like yourself.
You will also have to like others, despite all their faults, misfortunes, mistakes, weaknesses and disabilities. If you don't like others, you have little hope that they will like or love you. You need to be able to forgive them no matter what they do, or do to you, if you want them to like and love you. They aren't as perfect as you would like them to be.
First you must like yourself, but not so much that you can't forgive yourself for your mistakes, your faults and your follies.
You aren't perfect. Get over it. Everyone else knows it. The more you try to make others believe you are perfect, the more imperfect you will seem to them. You don't really want others to believe that you smile at yourself glowingly when you look in a mirror. Admiringly, maybe.
Taking everything you like seriously (except yourself) means that you will give your best to each task you undertake. That will bring you respect (sometimes grudgingly, sometimes jealously, usually positively) and encourage people to want to associate themselves with you.
In the final analysis, what you do with and for others will count most.
Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today's Epidemic Social Problems, striving to put some of life's tougher questions into a clearer light.
Learn more at http://billallin.com