Notes To Myself: My Struggle To Become A Person, by Hugh Prather

Notes to Myself, by Hugh Prather

Notes to Myself, by Hugh Prather

“My trouble is I analyze life instead of live it.”

In today’s world, introspection is underrated. We spend our time reacting to external stimuli: business meetings, social commitments, or family duties. Our hectic daily routines leave us with little time for deep reflection and introspection.

Notes To Myself: My Struggle To Become A Person is a collection of insights from American author and counselor Hugh Prather. The book is a collection of beautiful meditations about some of the simplest and yet most relevant things in life. Following is a selection of some of the quotes that captured our attention.

A Child’s Perspective

Most children perceive the mistakes their parents are making, attitudes and approaches that make life harder rather than easier. ‘It doesn’t have to be this way’ is a common childhood feeling that many of us can recall having.

In many ways life is the process of cleaning the windows until finally we see with understanding what before was sensed only with childlike instinct.


The number of things just outside the perimeter of my financial reach remains constant no matter how much my financial condition improves. With each increase in my income a new perimeter forms and I experience the same relative sense of lack. I believe that I know the specific amount needed that would allow me to have or do these few things I can’t quite afford, and if my income would increase by that much I would then be happy. Yet when the increase comes, I find that I am still discontent because from my new financial position I can now see a whole new set of things I don’t have. The problem will be solved when I accept that happiness is a present attitude not a future condition.

Personal Acceptance

I don’t have to fear any feelings I have. Even a murderous feeling doesn’t make me a murderer. However, to deny my darker emotions can have serious consequences. When I disown a feeling I do not destroy it, I only forfeit my capacity to act it out as I wish. Even to think guiltily or irritatedly about a feeling merely strengthens its hold on my mind. Yet regardless of the state I am in, I am always free to draw upon my reserves of stillness and peace, and whenever I do, the inner shift is subtle but profound: I become peacefully depressed, peacefully fearful, peacefully angry. And whereas the effect of my mood before was to pull others down with me, now I leave the world uncontamined.

Personal Responsibility

(…) I am not responsible for my feelings, but for what I do with them.

I was just asked to go somewhere. I said ‘I can’t. I have to stay at home. Gayle’s sick.’ Clearly, I was not accepting responsibility for my actions. Next time I want to be more honest and state that I do what I do because I want to do it.

If I feel disapproval of someone, if I find myself ignoring or turning away from someone in a group, I am probably avoiding in myself what this person represents that I believe is true about me.

Others’ Perspectives

When people criticize me I am not any less because of that. It is not a criticism of me but critical thinking from them. They are expressing their thoughts and feelings, not my being.

Before, I thought I was actually fighting for my own self-worth; that is why I so desperately wanted people to like me. I thought their liking me was a comment on me, but it was a comment on them.

Notes To Myself: My Struggle To Become A Person is a gem of personal inspiration that combines wisdom with simplicity. It helps the reader ponder over what the most important things in her life are.

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