Imagine the Best Possible YOU!
When we were children our imaginations soared with countless ideas of what we wanted to be when we grew up. The sky was the limit! Some of us imagined traveling into space, putting out fires, or saving people’s lives. Others were passionate about dancing, music, acting, painting or another form of expressive art. And then there were those who loved to build things or figure out what made things work. Many of us were inspired to become teachers because one of our own made a lasting impression.
These were passions in the raw!
Passions we were automatically drawn to without any preconceived expectations, assumptions, or analyses. We were young and our dreams were attainable, within our reach just as our favorite toys were.
As we got a little older we couldn’t help but be influenced by family members, friends and teachers who “knew” us best, and therefore knew “what was best” for us. Although intentions were good, we were young and impressionable and thus allowed their beliefs about what was best for us to steer us away from the raw passions we had embraced not so long before. They gave us unsolicited advice, much of which stemmed from their own fears.
- You can’t do that, you won’t make any money.
- You’d never make it in that field, the competition is too steep.
- That’s not a job for a boy/girl. What would people think?
- You’re not attractive enough. You’re too fat, too dark, too different.
- That’s too dangerous.
- You’re not smart enough. Do something better suited for someone like you.
Often believing them, and lacking the type of self-confidence that comes with experience, the unnurtured spark never has a chance to ignite. And so those raw passions of youth get lost over the years.
There are some people who blame their childhood circumstances for their decision not to pursue their passions, and what they don’t realize is that by doing this they are now creating an even greater barrier between themselves and the pursuit of their passions.
No matter the cause, too many people fail to imagine the best possible outcome for themselves, and simply “settle.”
What’s interesting is that no matter your age or stage of life, if you allow your authentic self to be your guide, you’ll find that although your raw passions may have taken on a slightly different guise, they can be revived and once again begin to grow, much like a dormant plant finally receiving sunlight and water.
When I was a child, I knew that I wanted music in my life, to be physically active, and to prove to the world that the impossible was possible. Oddly enough, I was young and naive and looking back, I don’t think that I truly knew what all of that meant. I just knew I wanted to knock down barriers and break new ground.
I wanted to explore concepts beyond the tangible!
I had been working for FedEx for 10 years (this was only supposed to be a “temporary” situation, a year or two tops) when I dared to quit to pursue a new career as a Martial Arts instructor. It seemed that I was finally allowing myself to move from the life I had settled into, to one allowing me to follow lost passions. I couldn’t have been more wrong.
Though I excelled in the Martial Arts and had a natural talent, and even went on to achieve my 3rd degree black belt, I was not being true to my authentic self. I found that I had adopted this persona simply because I was inspired by my mentors. Instead of using the inspiration that they gave me in ways that would nurture my authentic self, I (at first unknowingly) adopted their passions as my own.
And shortly thereafter, I experienced my first full-blown anxiety attack. Not long after that, the first symptoms of MS set in.
As I began my journey back to health, I needed to rediscover who I really was and lose the many personas that I believed to be authentic, but that in reality were not. And this was a key to the recovery of my health!
Sometimes we don’t think about how we affect the lives of others but the truth is we do, and on a daily basis. You may never know that the smile you gave to the stranger on the street this afternoon may have been what turned their bad day into a better one. Or perhaps you helped a man who was lost by giving him directions, and that small seemingly meaningless act of kindness meant that he was able to see his elderly mother one last time.
I am still shocked when people tell me that I’m an inspiration to them, or that I have changed their lives, because really all I have done is reconnect with my authentic self, and the inspiration that I provide is simply based on my willingness to share my story of healing and what I experienced along the way with anyone who is interested.
The truth is that when we allow our authentic selves to shine and are willing to share our thoughts, experiences and life lessons in a raw and human manner, we can’t help but be an inspiration to others.
When you allow yourself to just “be” without any expectations, rewards are not found in “thank yous”, but rather in a place deep within your heart that is overflowing with a peaceful sense of awe. This is when you realize that you do contribute to humanity just by being YOU – Authentically!
And that is priceless and never fades!