The Essence of You
Over the years, I have spent a lot of time trying to become a better human. Not only does being a better human make me happier but it helps my relationships with those around me. It makes me easier to get a long with, easier to love, easier to do business with, and easier to spend time with. Part of being a better human is self awareness and knowing when my behavior harms myself or others. It is being mature and mindful enough to think, say and do the things that are healthiest for myself and those I love.
I’ve met people throughout my life whose attitude was, “I am who I am.” Meaning, this is just the way I am, and I’m incapable of (or unwilling to) change. My own father used to say, “I’m not a very nice person.” Fantastic! Then you clearly understand the need for change!
Let me clarify that I don’t think people actually “change.” I think people learn and grow. I think each of us is fundamentally “good” and virtuous at our core, and that it is the tapping into of this goodness and virtuosity that helps us become better humans. I think we’re all capable of focused self examination and that we all want to be loved and liked for who we are.
A long time ago, I examined my language regarding people. It started with the term “addict.” I no longer use the term “addict” because calling someone an “addict” reduces their entire life to one aspect of their personality. People with addictions are mothers, brothers, daughters, bakers, photographers, outdoorswomen, singers, housewives, soccer moms, baseball lovers, knitters, mechanics, etc, etc. People with addictions are… people. There is much more to them than their addiction. And so, I decided to separate people from their behaviors. This created a sort of equality. Because at the very essence of each one of us is a pure, shining collection of stardust that has all the potential in the world.
When we are born, we are a blank slate – capable of kindness and love. We carry that propensity for kindness and love with us throughout our lives. During that time, we are subjected to outside influences like the pressures of society, the people we meet, the things that happen to us that are out of our control, our life circumstances. These are all things that put pressure on our true, pure self. The results are always different depending on what you’ve gone through and for how long.
The real magic happens around what we DO in response to the pressure created by the people, life events and situations we encounter in our life. This is where CHOICE comes into play. Every thought, action and speech we engage in is a choice. We may not feel that way at the time because reactions happen fast, but we have 100% choice in how we respond. This is the sweet spot of life. This is where we can make amazing changes in our life. We can slow down our reaction time, think deeply about the situation we’re in, and respond with grace, compassion and maturity to anything life throws our way.
Is this easy? Hell, no. Is it worth it? Hell, yes.
Many people will not make these kinds of changes in their life until something compels them to, and everyone is in a different place on their journey. But knowing you have the power to remove pain and suffering from your own life should make you feel very encouraged.
The essence of you is beautiful, and the world is waiting to see more of it.