As we travel down the road of life, we invariably encounter situations that challenge us to define our values and beliefs. As these situations occur, we are faced with opportunities to become more like the person we envision as our ideal self, by applying the lessons we have learned in the past, as well as being open to the new lessons available to us each day. As we move closer to an ideal self, it becomes increasingly important to look within and decide what standards we hold for ourselves and to what extent we are upholding them. We have a choice between authenticity and integrity, or dishonesty and falsehood. Then when we have a clearly defined, positive set of values that we actively uphold, we can use them to move toward our ideal self and become an example and an inspiration to those around us.
As conscious people – meaning we are actively present and responsible for our lives and our actions – we have tremendous potential to positively influence those around us. By acting in accordance with our highest values and what we consider to be the best parts of ourselves, we have the power to bring out those same qualities in others. When we intentionally focus on the best in ourselves, we are automatically prone to see the best in others too. In this way, we safeguard ourselves from the downward spiral of negativity that bombards us from the media, work environments and mainstream culture. At the same time, we counteract these influences for those around us.
One of the most common symptoms of this downward spiral is the placing of blame. When we place blame on others for things that go awry in our lives, it is often a sign that we are hiding or avoiding responsibility of past decisions. Given that we are the designers and architects of our own lives, solely responsible for our every choice and waking moment, it is likely that we share some level of responsibility for the wrongs that we perceive to have been perpetrated by others.
It is difficult to strip away the falsehoods we have erected to protect us from unattractive truths about ourselves. But by stripping them away, we empower ourselves to see, with more clarity, specific elements that are directing our lives. We are able to see a true image of ourselves as we appear to the outside world. By confronting such truths, we release any hold that fear has over us. Truth has an uncanny way of attracting more truth.
When we release a clouded, manufactured vision of reality, a world of possibility and opportunity opens up. When we reach a point in our lives where we are ready to drop our facades and acknowledge our own truths, we can then act as an example for our friends, loved ones and communities. This is not to say that we become infallible. On the contrary, as role models, it is how we deal with our mistakes and shortcomings that will have the greatest impact on those who look to us for guidance. By acknowledging responsibility and owning our choices, right or wrong, we are showing those around us the essence of personal freedom.
In your meditation, focus on a truth that you have not fully expressed before. Ask yourself what the impact would be if you opened yourself up to your truth and freed it? Make a mental note of all the people who would be impacted and what the consequences might be. As you sit with these thoughts, notice if you feel fear of being judged because of what you reveal. This judgment you perceive is nothing but a vain attempt to hold yourself back from being the real you.
Courage to be you starts within. Allow these thoughts and feelings to be felt. Know that if you give them life, they will dictate your actions and those of the people around you. This truth is always with you. It colours your speech, your actions and your reactions. Only by facing it will you set your self and those around you free. Gandhi said, “Be the change that you want to see in the world.” Inspire others through your greatness by living your life to its fullest potential. If you want to live in a peaceful, beautiful world, then be peaceful and beautiful in everything that you do. Make it a part of your daily practice to set an example for others of the kind of world in which you want to live. Exemplify what you want to see.
Hermas Lassalle can be contacted via email at firstname.lastname@example.org