Selfhood And Inner Strength –The Real You
Now that we discussed the importance of a tree’s roots, a second aspect of a tree is its species or type. There are many trees, including, for example, eucalyptus, birch and oak trees. As with different types of trees so, too, there are different personality types; outgoing, warm, shy and generous, etc. If the spine or trunk of the tree gives a tree its strength, what is my strength? What do I stand for? What are my values?
Sometimes even at the time of a person’s death it is unclear to relatives what the deceased stood for, what their values were. When the unfortunate happens and I have to conduct a funeral I ask the family what they would like me to include in the eulogy. I ask the next of kin to describe the deceased for me and to tell me his or her values. “What was the theme of his life?” I will ask. “What did she stand for? What is the most important idea or message that he taught you about life? How is the world a better place now because of her life?” Often the family members give me a puzzled look. “Well,” said one, “My mother loved to play bridge and loved the theatre.” “That is helpful,” I would say, “but is that what you want me to use in the eulogy? Bridge and theatre?” “What do you mean by ‘theme’ of her life?” they will ask. In order to drive the point home I would usually have to say, “What was the legacy that the deceased taught you, that you can now give over to your children?” That is a tough question.
Or is it? Isn’t that the question that we should be asking ourselves during the developing stages of our lifetime, rather than only at the end? What contribution am I making to my family, community and ultimately to society? What makes me unique? In essence, what is the special mission that I was put into this world to accomplish? That is an ongoing question which we need to place within our consciousness. Each person has a special contribution to make to society. Not everyone can discover the vaccine for polio or cure cancer.
What, however, is my unique mission or responsibility within my corner of the world? I can and do have an important influence and I do affect the lives of the members of my family, friends and community. My actions have a ripple effect on others. I should not underestimate the significant affect I can and do have on those around me. In order to figure out what I am doing here, I have to take an inventory of my good qualities and strengths and write them down. They could include qualities like: caring, compassionate, courageous, friendly and resilient. Based on an honest appraisal of my inner strengths, set in the context of my personal circumstances, I can begin analyzing what contribution I am expected to make. How can I use my talents and abilities to change myself and my community for the better? How can I make my life count?
Each of us must constantly take stock of our abilities and ask ourselves: am I making the highest and best use of my personality, both in my personal, family, and community life and in my professional, and business life? Once I am aware of the contribution I can make, then I can begin to become aware that not only do I have value and intrinsic worth just because I “am” but that I am also “competent.” I am a capable individual who can make a difference in the lives of others. This is what is called “making a name for oneself” in the world. This awareness—that I am a capable and competent individual—is the second component of self-esteem.by