I’ve been on this planet for a number of years at this point, and I’ve heard a lot of words of wisdom from folks. Most of those words came from patients during my active nursing career; a lot of them came from the dying. None, however, were as deep and meaningful as those shared by my dear friend, Jenesse Aurandt.

leana-jenesse_edited-4During the course of her battle with terminal breast cancer, Jenesse attended her own version of an accelerated spiritual learning program. I was blessed to sit in as a class proctor of sorts, benefiting from her thirst for answers and willingness to share. Periodically, I will be passing some of her teachings along to you through this blog. Tonight I’ll share one I was reminded of only recently.

Several years ago, while commiserating over some inane self-concept issue, Jenesse listened to me intently before shaking her head in disagreeance and saying:

“See yourself through the eyes of the people who love you.”

The woman had an acute ability to sift through bullshit and speak her insightful mind. This comment gave me definite pause for thought.

“In fact, see yourself the way I see you, and you can never go wrong,” she added.

Standing on the doorstep of inevitable death gives a person unsurpassed perspective. I can say this, because I’ve seen it firsthand – particularly during my four years of working on an oncology unit. Dare I say that the large majority of patients that I cared for said that getting cancer was the greatest gift they’d ever been given – even when terminal. Jenesse said the same thing. Her cancer brought clarity, and clarity brought her freedom from misconceptions and the trappings of the mundane.

For the longest time I remembered to put myself behind her eyes, and those of other friends and family, and see myself from a different perspective. It helped – a lot – but somewhere along the line I forgot and dropped the practice. Life, I suppose. It tends to distract from healthy approaches to most things.

Who reminded me to try it again? My good friend and podcast cohost, Mike C. Matthews. He didn’t say exactly what Jenesse said, but he made it clear that doubting myself was unwarranted. He simply reminded me that self-doubt is generated, quite literally, from the “self,” and that sometimes the best judgements of who we are come from those closest to us.

Be careful about where your opinions about you are coming from. Be careful about seeking them out in ineffective and potentially damaging ways. Instead, vow to show yourself the love and respect of those who objectively see your soul and purpose. Do this, and I promise, “you can never go wrong.”