“Every man has his own courage, but is betrayed because he seeks in himself the courage of other persons.”
-Ralph Waldo Emerson
This quote struck me today. We are all more courageous than we think. And we all contain much more of many other things than we think. What I have is not what you have. What you have does not belong to me. Each person is gifted with a unique blend of talents, propensities, and traits. In each person, the combination is perfectly balanced to complement the best life he or she could lead. We struggle many times because we refuse to believe that what we have is perfect, oftentimes looking at the tiny bit we see in others and believing that we fall short.
Number one, no one has it all together. We are all doing this life thing, figuring it out piece by piece. When someone sells him/herself short, it saddens me. None of us is doing all that much better than the next person. We see so little of other people, in fact, from the outside.
Number two, each of our unique make-ups work exactly as they should. If we don’t think we’re working correctly, perhaps we need to more closely examine who we are. We so often cover our true selves up with images of what we think we should be or what we think other people want. With the barrage of images and social connections available to us these days, it’s so easy to bury ourselves in stimuli. We then start replacing the reality of who we are with that stimuli, as if the doings and representations of our life reflect our essence.
Essence has little to nothing to do with our actions. Behaviors reflect inner goings-on, but they don’t spell out who we are. We may behave in ways contrary to our natural beings because another part of us is denying the true self.
At this point, I want to dig myself out of this all too heady blog. It’s a brain-full. Let’s return to the quote.
First, I want to believe in my own courage. I demonstrate it every day and want to hold on to the strength that is within me. Second, comparing myself to others never does a lick of good. Comparison is a slippery slope.
Please don’t compare yourself to me. People only see a tiny bit of me. They don’t know the truth of my struggles and triumphs. When I appear to be having a hard time, there are usually many great things also happening in my life. When I look like I’m on top of the world, don’t doubt for a moment that I’m battling something in my quiet hours or that I cry most nights of the week. That’s my life, a life of both.
I can hold both—sadness and happiness, hope and discouragement, love and hate, fear and courage—at the same time. As a human, I can. And I do it in my own special way.
I hope that you, too, can recognize the unique wonder you carry, the special balance that makes you who you are. I have yet to meet someone who I didn’t think had numerous treasures to give the world. The saddest thing for me is when someone does not believe he or she has those treasures. When someone says, “I’m a terrible person,” I never know how to respond. I simply get a terrible feeling. I know that the statement isn’t true, but by asserting that there isn’t anything good inside to share, that person blocks the potential outward transmission of the goodness that does exist within him/her. It’s sad. And I always know I’m missing out on something when a person makes a comment like that.
So, own your courage. Own who you are! Believe in your own potential. The rest of us believe in it. I guarantee you. Just because who you are doesn’t look like the success story down the street doesn’t mean you aren’t equally successful.
For today, I am confident in who I am, no matter what I think of it, and I seek to help others strip away whatever hides who they are. I’m anxious to see people throw away caution and speak from their hearts.