Mentors and Shadows

Having a long drive has some good side effects besides losing your hope that there are competent drivers out there. You do get to listen to some radio shows. The first week I reacquainted myself with the vast variety of choices in FM. Chicago has more Spanish radio stations than even XM had at one point and that was enjoyable. My MP3 collection needs refreshing from the computer so I started to listen to some good radio programs. Today I listened to an author being interviewed about a recent book she wrote about her mother.

The interesting part of the interview to me was that her Mom eventually came to the realization that happiness comes from within and that most people waste their lives trying to please others to make themselves happy. Another interesting part of the interview and the reason I wanted to write about this subject is that the author’s mother scaled back her contact with her kids once she realized that they did not see her for what she was now, but for what she had been before. I actually experienced some of that with my own family.

The word mentor has been important in my life since I first heard it. To me the word mentor is not to be taken lightly and the people in your life that you allow to be called that should be carefully considered. We all have good and bad qualities, and sometimes bad qualities can have good outcome. An insomniac could finish up a miniature model in half the time that someone that sleeps at night does. Qualities and traits are not what most people admire, most people admire accomplishments, but how they are achieved is also important. Someone that I consider a mentor has to value family above career for example.

Someone that has a strong personality or influence in our lives can become a mentor but also a shadow. The tricky part is being able to recognize not only the type of person we want them to be, but also what part we want to admire or follow. That covers mentors, at least in general, but what about shadows.

Shadows are a lot trickier, people that affect us sometimes not just without our consent but even without our consciousness. On top of that, I know many people that have been motivated by their shadows, meaning someone telling them they could not do something fueled them to actually accomplish those things. In that case is a shadow actually a mentor?

In my life I have had to cut or temporarily stop relationships. I have realized and life has reaffirmed that being around certain behaviors will affect you whether you want it or not. I think friends and family are the main mentors and shadows of your life, and how you manage those relationships dictates your well being… not your happiness, but for sure your overall world outlook.

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