You, the Unique, Wonderful You!


Bok-Festival-AzaleasI found myself gazing incredulously at God’s creation as the low light of an early spring evening glimmered softly upon the plant foliage, making the early blooms more vivid and more true. From innumerable shades of green contrasted against the deepest purples, richest reds and sparkling yellows, to the willow tree, bent over, chock full of the weight of a million, delicate white and pink blooms, all seemed to speak to my heart and encourage my soul. They adjured me to observe the Master’s hand, impregnated with a uniqueness carried out over a million iterations. And as I paused in quiet revelry, I understood. Everything that God has made is singularly, unique and in that unsurpassed majesty, is wonderful beyond comprehension. That, my dear friends, is the uniqueness that is you, the wonderful, unrivaled, unparalleled you!

You are a miracle of all miracles in that there is no-one just like you on the entire earth. Imagine for a moment the exquisite combination of genes, environment and upbringing that brought you into play. You couldn’t replicate it if you tried. There’s none that thinks like you; processes information like you or comes to the exact conclusions that you do. You are a one of kind model from a factory where all are of one kind. Your heart, your fears, your love, your tastes and your aversions combined have no match. You are on this earth to bring forth all that you truly are and you alone have been assigned your role. The world doesn’t need another Ghandi or Martin Luther or Mother Theresa, it needs you. They have already done their own work and for that the world is grateful. What remains only is the work that you must do.

You know, most people abhor their uniqueness in a futile quest to be just like everyone else. Their scarlet hair is an affront to them and instead of rejoicing in their rarity, they seek dyes and colors approved by the majority. A slightly lower ear, a cowlick, or a different color eye becomes a hinderance to happiness and fulfillment. And age exacerbates the process as millions cleave to the fleeting look of youth never once considering the mighty oak, scarred from the storms, battered, yet standing firm and proud in its place. People want to fit in and blend and follow plans someone else has made. They want to walk in paths well defined; fall in love as movie stars do; work for businesses whose owners are already rich; falling in line with all the rest, in perpetual pursuit of someone else’s life. And as they acquiesce and settle, they never once consider the place where they sit as master, living a life of their own making; offering all that they and they alone can bring.

Immediately dismiss the notion that all should be famous or adored or worshipped. Your prize isn’t fame or notoriety, nor does your contribution have to have altered the course of the world. Your gift is the gift of who you are and what you bring to the table that no-one else can offer. Your unique abilities not only bless the creation but they bring back to you joy unspeakable. And as you dare to stand as who you are, unashamed and adamant, you will find yourself immersed in situations and people and environments that need you the most. You never have to find them for they will always find you.

Thus it’s time to let the real you back out again. Be true to yourself. Love what you love and despise what you despise. Don’t hide your tastes or try to downplay your aversions. If you disagree, say so. If something touches your soul, don’t be shy. When others mock you for being true to yourself, their derision is a testimony to their own hidden self, still scared, laying low, clutching the bed covers. How could someone laugh or scorn you for being you. It would be more frightening if you were them!

You see, the systems of the world are pushing everyone on to the same course; a trail that leads nowhere and takes a lifetime to arrive. And the prize for having finished is hundreds of regrets in thousands of wasted days. Meanwhile that song; that dream; that ideal lays buried in your heart ever seeking expression but never having been given opportunity. And we wonder why people are so unfulfilled nowadays… True fulfillment can only come from the real you, expressing yourself in real ways, to a world submerged in illusion.

So, where do you begin? Begin by deciding today that you will never again utter a negative word about yourself. Choose to evaluate situations and circumstances and to eliminate endless self-evaluation. Don’t spend another moment in negative consideration of your own heart or motives or desires. Stop saying no to the things from which your heart says yes. Let your interest be your interest even if completely solitary in scope. Read books that speak to you and you alone. Be yourself unreservedly, immensely, unabashedly. And above it all, love yourself like you used to, without judgment and criticism and complaint. Love your flaws and your frailties and your foolishnesses. Love your quirks, your eclectic whims and even your absurdities. When is the last time you just loved yourself for who you are without apology? That is who you are after…

As the sun started to set and as the gentle, lowering light began to dissipate; as the foliage lost its radiance and the flower colors dimmed to shades of gray and black, and as the beckoning willow hid it’s tender blossoms for the night ahead, I couldn’t help but remember that our uniqueness is something that will never change and the world deserves to see it in the light of day…

Just some good thoughts…

Do You Approve…of Yourself?


226ASP6179944780The world we live in is an approval machine! From birth forward we were all taught suggested behaviors, traits, personality types to help us gain the approval of others. As we matured, we started getting additional messages from the ‘system of things’ on how to continue garnering approval. I suppose it makes sense, in some respects, that if you are going to live in a society then you have to abide by certain societal expectations to be accepted. You generally have to wear clothes and you’re not allowed to pick your nose in public, for example. On the surface, it doesn’t seem like there’s anything wrong with wanting to be accepted. I mean who doesn’t like receiving approval from others? But, there’s something infinitely more important that being approved by others and that is being approved of yourself. Do you approve of yourself? That’s a question worth answering!

You being the only you, you have; begs the question, do you like yourself? I’m not talking about publicly where we’ve all been taught to develop a cheery public persona. I’m talking about you, home alone, staring in that mirror. Do you love and accept how that guy or gal acts? Or are you pissed at that image for its apparent failure to live up to…wait for it…what everyone else thinks he or she should do?

You may not realize it, but all of us were conditioned very early on to seek the approval of our parents. It wasn’t such a bad idea because we were children and didn’t have the wherewithal to make good choices yet. Some parents gave you unconditional approval. Some parents provided you with conditional approval or said another way, “If you obey what I say, you are good. If you disobey what I say, you are bad!” Some parents gave you very little or no approval no matter what you did. And finally, some parents were just not there! If you were unfortunate enough not to get the unconditional love parents, as many people were, then you learned very early on in life that you needed other people’s approval to be okay. Then your life mission became, what do I need to do to be approved by others?

So, here’s the rub. Assuming you are an adult now, you have to learn to get approval from that person staring back from the glass:

The Man in the Glass

When you get what you want in your struggle for self
And the world makes you king for a day
Just go to the mirror and look at yourself
And see what that man has to say.

For it isn’t your father, or mother, or wife
Whose judgment upon you must pass
The fellow whose verdict counts most in your life
Is the one staring back from the glass.

He’s the fellow to please – never mind all the rest
For he’s with you, clear to the end
And you’ve passed your most difficult, dangerous test
If the man in the glass is your friend.

You may fool the whole world down the pathway of years
And get pats on the back as you pass
But your final reward will be heartache and tears
If you’ve cheated the man in the glass.

~ Peter Dale Wimbrow Sr.

You see, us humans are a peculiar breed. We all have our own weirdness, quirks and undesirable characteristics. We all make mistakes. We’ve all zigged when we should have zagged! We are all imperfect and have all been broken in some respect. The trouble is we don’t want anyone to know it. So we parade around in our masks literally hating the person we are or have become. Our love and acceptance of ourselves is conditional and we don’t meet the conditions. It may have worked to shape your behavior when you were five, but it doesn’t work now!

You have to get to the place where you approve of you, no matter what. “He’s the fellow to please – never mind all the rest, for he’s with you, clear to the end. And you’ve passed your most difficult, dangerous test, if the man in the glass is your friend.” Make your mind, your friend!

Now track with me here for a minute… Let’s say you’ve done some pretty gnarly deeds. Let’s imagine you’ve hurt people in catastrophic ways. Or maybe you just haven’t lived up to what you know in your heart you should be. In any case and in every case, you don’t have a snowball’s chance in hell of ever doing better or being better or getting better if you don’t love that person in the mirror. No one beats themselves into becoming something admirable. Instead, self loathing and self hate only issue in more awful results. The past is passed and cannot exist in the present unless you make it so (including your upbringing). What is in the present is you, with all of your faults and failings and human frailties. Love that guy anyway! Love that gal anyway! Approve of yourself anyway!

You just make the decision that you are worth something. You matter. You do have value. You’re not of value because you do everything right. You have value because you are a living, breathing human being, formed and made by God Himself.

Step out of the ‘wheel of things’ and finally recognize that you don’t need other people’s approval to be okay. Stop masquerading, it’s exhausting. Cease changing colors to match the whims and fancies of every person you meet. Do you, be you in all of the glorious you, you can possibly be. The world doesn’t need another me, one is enough ;-). What the world needs is you; the real you; the true you; and nothing but the YOU!

Just some good thoughts…