This above all: to thine own self be true
Polonius to Laertes Hamlet Act 1 Scene 3
I don’t know why this little gem of advice has never gotten the attention it so richly deserves. It may be due to the fact that most of Polonius’ advice is little more than blather, and we take his speech as a whole, never considering it’s various independent pieces. I admit, though I’ve read this countless times, I too skipped over the significance of this statement until recently.
So what is Polonius trying to tell Laertes when he says this? Let’s look at the advice that follows it. And it must follow, as the night the day, Thou canst not then be false to any man. It’s simple enough to grasp the second part, right? Don’t lie to others. Maybe, or maybe Polonius is wiser than we’ve imagined.
It makes sense to equate the words false and true with lie. And as every parent can tell you, above all else we want truthful children. We want to fully trust our kids and lying, more than anything else will break our bond of trust. Yet if we look closely at the advice, we see Polonius seems to want more from his son. He wants him to be authentic; to be true to who he is, to be himself at all times. Many of us can do with this advice.
All too often we fall into our own traps of self-delusion, especially this time of year. Of course we all have things we want to change about ourselves; it’s part of our inner-growth. Yet, we seem to go about this in all the wrong ways. Our resolutions usually involve major life changes, but we jump to the goal without the hard work of getting there. We don’t look at our personal strengths and weaknesses to assess how we will achieve our goals. No wonder so many resolutions fall apart on day two.
Polonius’ advice hit a nerve with me. One of my long held goals/resolutions is to post more, yet as my readers know, this has not yet happened. Oh sure, there have been major time issue and school related reasons, yet if I were to be true to myself, there are some other reasons as well. It is time to I stopped being false to others and myself.
Looking back on my blog stats, I see that my Lists are among the more popular of my posts, yet they are not my favorite, nor those that know me well. Some of you may think I’m like the Cliff Clavin character from Cheers, constantly running my mouth and boring my friends with my trivia skills. You’d be surprised to learn that no, my friends do not rely on me to win bar trivia night competitions. No, they rely on my to engage them in critical discussions on current issues and books.
Don’t get me wrong, I love doing the research and putting the lists together as I learn right a long with my readers, but over time they have come to be more of a chore. If I am to be true to myself, I have to write about that which I am most passionate about. I need to focus on my strengths and weaknesses as a writer to meet some personal goals.
So with that in mind, my New Year’s resolution is to be true to my blogging self. I have decided to get back to why I started blogging in the first place, and why I named the blog The View From Sari’s World. It is supposed to be a scholarly yet fun space on a wide range of topics. I hope to start conversations and have the blog be a safe (snark free) place for readers to share their thoughts and opinions. (Yes, Martin, I can hear you clapping way over here)
But I also want to be true to my readers. This is where you come in. Are there topics you would like to see covered? Yes, I will still do book reviews, and once in a while you may even get a list or two, but is there a topic you would like to see expanded upon? And since I am asking you. Should I move my Shakespeare posts to a separate Shakespeare related blog? It is an idea I am kicking around.
One more question. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received and did you take it? Okay, that’s two questions. Never said I was good at math. Hey, I am just being honest.
Happy New Year dear Readers!
10 thoughts on “Resolve to thine own self, be true”
I look forward to reading your blogs. With what you say, will it be easier to put Shakespeare in a separate post or will it mean less posts?
Hey Michelle! Happy New Year my friend. Setting up a separate Shakespeare wouldn’t be too difficult for me. It just means you would have two blogs to follow and read. Yes, if I kept my Shakespeare related posts on this blog, it may mean less Shakespeare.
I like the Shakespeare in one place, but to be honest (I can stick with a theme) I haven’t been visiting your blog near as much as it deserves. I am trying to blog with personal integrity this year as well. To be okay with what I like to read and less to review the book but to tell the story of my relationship with a book. I’d love to see some of that from you as well if it’s not something you have already been doing.
P.S. Your writing as improved 10 fold. I love you.
When I first read this comment, I wondered, “who is this?” Then I read it again and thought, “this must be Sharyla!” How I have missed you!
I agree, Shakespeare requires a separate site. I’ve got to figure out how to build a website verses building another blog site. Something to work on.
I’d love to read about your relationship to books. And yes, I should focus more on the experience of my reads vs just reviewing them. I shall work on that.
Love you too!
absolutely loved what you wrote here. As I enter a time in my life where I just want to be me, it really hits home.
Thanks Annette. Maybe its our age, but I really feeling this too. It may be why the advice jumped out at me one day. For me, it is a matter of coming to terms with who I am and where I am in life. I may not be where I want to be, but I am coming to accept it.
I’ve not been as faithful about keeping up with my favorite blogs as I’d like to be. But I see all your topics as parts of you and your interests and it throws me off not at all to see the Shakespeare posts here.
I see your point, but I’d like to expand on my writing about Shakespeare. But, sigh, this will require finally learning the difference between blogging and hosting my own webpage.
New Years and Resolutions go together like a horse and carriage, but — as with the horse — you can have one without the other, and so I personally eschew resolutions at this time of year. I prefer to go for a resolution when the need arises.
But I suppose it is a good time to take stock: we get new calendars, new diaries, and we may have to transfer details across. But with electronic media this is all superfluous. New Year sales? All a feature of the past. Apart from fireworks and getting drunk that changeover moment is just a short blip so why attach so much significance to it?
So, taking stock. I personally love the variety in your blog: Shakespeare rubs shoulders with charlatans, philosophy freely mingles with free association. But if your posts are split between two blogs I will still follow you, Sari, no doubt about it.
What’s the best piece of advice I’ve ever received and did I take it? Sounds like the cue for a post all to itself — I shall have to consider…
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New Year’s day usually finds me cleaning out my spice shelves and pantry. Expiration dates are more important to me rather than a date to start something new.
Thanks for your vote. Seems its 2 for 2.
Can’t wait to read your post; I’d follow your advice.