In 2020, Anthony Hopkins received an Oscar nomination for his role in “The Father,” as a man with dementia struggling for control with his daughter, played by Olivia Colman. (The film was featured at the Toronto International Film Festival last year.) Hopkins commented that the film was his personal favourite, following astonishing performances in such earlier films as “The Remains of the Day” and “Silence of the Lambs.”
Hopkins himself has been diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome and in an interview with the CBC”s Tom Power (during TIFF) spoke with characteristic humility about the film and about aging.
Over the last few years, the essay I post below has been attributed to him.
Like so much on social media, the attribution is incorrect. (As readers well know, over the years powerful epigraphs have been misattributed all over the internet. For instance, I remember several associated with the Dalai Lama which were not his, and that only scratches the surface.) Snopes.com attributes the essay associated with Hopkins to writer Brianna Wiest:
While we could debate the problems of misattributed writing forever (remember when it was new to question Shakespeare’s authorship?), Wiest’s essay warrants reading, especially given the attention recently devoted to the role of boundaries in entrepreneurial relationships. The essay speaks (allegorically) to those and not only to romantic relationships. It could better be called, “On Wanting to Change.”
“I Need This In My Life” (Brianna Wiest)
′′Let go [of] the people who are not prepared to love you. This is the hardest thing you will have to do in your life and it will also be the most important thing. Stop having hard conversations with people who don’t want change.
Stop showing up for people who have no interest in your presence. I know your instinct is to do everything to earn the appreciation of those around you, but it’s a boost that steals your time, energy, mental and physical health.
When you begin to fight for a life with joy, interest and commitment, not everyone will be ready to follow you in this place. This doesn’t mean you need to change what you are, it means you should let go of the people who aren’t ready to accompany you.
If you are excluded, insulted, forgotten or ignored by the people you give your time to, you don’t do yourself a favor by continuing to offer your energy and your life. The truth is that you are not for everyone and not everyone is for you.
That’s what makes it so special when you meet people who reciprocate love. You will know how precious you are.
The more time you spend trying to make yourself loved by someone who is unable to, the more time you waste depriving yourself of the possibility of this connection to someone else.
There are billions of people on this planet and many of them will meet with you at your level of interest and commitment.
The more you stay involved with people who use you as a pillow, a background option or a therapist for emotional healing, the longer you stay away from the community you want.
Maybe if you stop showing up, you won’t be wanted. Maybe if you stop trying, the relationship will end. Maybe if you stop texting, your phone will stay dark for weeks. That doesn’t mean you ruined the relationship, it means the only thing holding it back was the energy that only you gave to keep it. This is not love, it’s attachment. It’s wanting to give a chance to those who don’t deserve it. You deserve so much, there are people who should not be in your life.
The most valuable thing you have in your life is your time and energy, and both are limited.
When you give your time and energy, it will define your existence.
When you realize this, you begin to understand why you are so anxious when you spend time with people, in activities, places or situations that don’t suit you and shouldn’t be around you, your energy is stolen.
You will begin to realize that the most important thing you can do for yourself and for everyone around you is to protect your energy more fiercely than anything else. Make your life a safe haven, in which only ‘compatible′ people are allowed.
You are not responsible for saving anyone. You are not responsible for convincing them to improve. It’s not your work to exist for people and give your life to them! If you feel bad, if you feel compelled, you will be the root of all your problems, fearing that they will not return the favours you have granted. It’s your only obligation to realize that you are the love of your destiny and accept the love you deserve.
Decide that you deserve true friendship, commitment, true and complete love with healthy and prosperous people. Then wait and see how much everything begins to change. Don’t waste time with people who are not worth it.
Change will give you the love, the esteem, happiness and the protection you deserve.”
And now it’s your turn: As a new program year begins in this “fourth wave” of Covid, what changes are you making to your career or personal relationships?