The Real You

“It is required of every man,” the ghost returned, “that the spirit within him should walk abroad among his fellow-men, and travel far and wide; and, if that spirit goes not forth in life, it is condemned to do so after death.” ~ Charles Dickens, “A Christmas Carol”

How abundantly has your spirit within you walked abroad among your fellow-man? Are there times where you were more at rest with yourself, more willing to let your spirit “travel far and wide” than others? If so, why? What was different?

Many people have lived their lives running to and fro in the earth, desperately seeking a way to extract joy, pleasure, fulfillment and happiness from the world at large, while many others have lived their lives motivated almost exclusively by a deep-rooted fear of loss. Either approach misses the point of life entirely and both tend to end in the same shallow grave.

One of my favorite aspects of my company’s corporate culture is the idea that my team and I can build a safe place where the spirits within us can find safe harbor. I know of no one who has escaped the jaws of life as it now is without a bruise or two, and letting down the barriers and fronts to reveal one’s inner spirit can be a bit daunting at first. Over time, however, the spirit within shines more and more brightly, illuminating the way for others.

This all sounds a bit airy-fairy as I write this, but it is a very real, tangible and at times visceral process. When someone believes in you more than you believe in yourself, when someone trusts you more than you trust yourself and when someone pushes you more than you push yourself you have an opportunity to let go of self-constructed limitations to the expression of who you really are, The Real You.

It will likely take time, as those walls, defenses and scar tissue took time to build and grow, but given the right nourishment and surround, you can and should blossom. Holding back is the only thing that will stunt your growth or retard your progress.

I believe that people can always change for the better. Scrooge did it late in life in what is perhaps one of the most inspiring pieces of literature ever written, and so can you! It is never too late to give more freely of yourself to the world around you.

The question is: will you do what it takes to let your spirit travel farther and wider than you’ve permitted until now? Life is too short to hold back. Whether or not the ghost’s warning is true, I see no reason why anyone should tempt fate and fail to do his or her part in allowing for the unconditional and unrestricted flow of spirit into expression no matter how big or how small the task at hand might be.

Believe in yourself.

“We do not believe in ourselves until someone reveals that deep inside us something is valuable, worth listening to, worthy of our trust, sacred to our touch. Once we believe in ourselves we can risk curiosity, wonder, spontaneous delight or any experience that reveals the human spirit.” ~ EE Cummings

You are a remarkable person. Whether or not I have met you I can assure you that there is greatness resident in you. Whether or not you reveal that greatness is entirely up to you.

To reveal greatness you have to, in some measure, believe in yourself. For you to overcome, that belief must transcend the weight of your faith in your limitations, your shortcomings and your past failures. Great is the man who can experience a complete and total loss of all of his outer possessions and move on to victory as if nothing but the wind had changed.

If you depend more on the outer resources at your command than the inner resources – your conviction, your character, your determination – then you will at some point be overcome by the forces at work in life that seek to destroy the evidence of greatness. If, instead, you stay true to the core of you, what happens round about will be of no consequence to you in the sense that it will not change the spirit of your expression one iota.

If you have made yourself vulnerable enough to be inspired by another then you have an obligation, a sacred obligation, to extend that inspiration to others in your world. Listen to your world, hear the deepest concerns of those with whom you relate and take the time to invest your trust in a way that it most likely to be received.

Your world deserves it! And so do you!