“How dare you withhold your gifts from the world?”
These powerful words have left an imprint on my soul, pulling me forward when I doubt myself and my creative expressions. Two winters ago, my mom and I attended a retreat with one of my favorite authors, Neale Donald Walsch, in Oregon. Another young lady in the audience shared her desire to write a book to help others overcome the same struggles she has recently faced — but she was afraid to take those first few steps.
Like many of us, she wasn’t sure whether her story would ultimately have an impact. But Neal had no doubt. His words reminded all of us in the room that no matter HOW we want to help others, we need to get out of our heads, take that leap of faith and do it. Our efforts will always be worth it.
YOUR SELF-EXPRESSION MATTERS
That inner pull to leave this world a little brighter than you found it is there for a reason. Each time you ignore it, its voice gets a little louder. Each time you let your fears hold you back from marching towards that vision, your heart constricts a little.
Perhaps you feel that you are too small to make a difference. Perhaps you’re still doubting that your words, your art, or your business idea can truly touch others’ lives.
But think about this: Has anyone ever said something to you that shifted your actions going forward? Have you ever read a book that permeated every fiber of your being and changed you from the inside out?
What makes you think that your desire to help is unimportant or that it can’t cause an impact? How are you different from the person whose words or actions inspired you to express your own wonderfulness?
You aren’t. You are just as important to this human family as everyone else is.
We’re all here on this planet to help bring each other back home — to our hearts. To that place where we know we are one and where we express ourselves freely and authentically without fear or judgment.
Even if you only make one person’s day a little brighter, you have made a difference. The essence of your inner being is enough to do that — you don’t have to think about your gifts as some special grandiose “purpose.” Often the greatest gift you’re giving to another is just being yourself — the self that naturally radiates from your soul, unclouded by fears and judgments.
THE FLEETING NATURE OF DESIRES FULFILLED
This New Year’s Day morning, we were having breakfast at a Tibetan Buddhist Monastery in Austria where my boyfriend and I were doing a cultural work exchange. After sharing our most impactful lessons from last year and intentions for 2020, the topic turned into a discussion of the fleeting nature of the pleasure we feel from fulfilled desires.
We meet our goals — and too often — our focus turns right to the next goal in our minds, without fully enjoying the deliciousness of the present moment and the journey along the way to each goal.
Long-term fulfillment lies in enjoying the quality of the journey in every instance. It is in cultivating our inner strengths as we learn new skills and overcome unexpected challenges. The caveat is that if we’re the only ones doing the enjoying, even that will soon stir up a feeling of “something missing.”
Joy was meant to be shared. Love was meant to be shared. Happiness was meant to be shared. That is why we all feel a burning desire to leave our mark on this world before we depart.
Thinking back to the concept of desire, I contemplated my overarching theme for this year: My heart’s desire to use my words uplift, to empower, to help others realize their potential and their inner light.
In response to sharing this desire for 2020, my new friend — a soul wiser beyond her years — said something that rang true to the core of my being, bringing a huge sense of relief: “Wanting to help others — that’s not desire, that is compassion.”
That pull to help others through expressing yourself isn’t selfish or meaningless. It’s compassion in action. It is life’s natural response to the fact that we are all part of the same essence.
COMPASSION BUILT INTO OUR NATURE
Consider that you have finally achieved all of your dreams and goals. You would still be living in a world filled with people that have not yet realized their true power. You would still see other human beings in despair and in pain.
The only way to live in a happier world is to work on our our happiness while helping others be happy.
It is no coincidence that many ancient teachings underscore the Golden Rule — do unto others as you would have it be done unto you. Science has made it clear that we are all connected and made of the same fabric. Compassion is wired within us to evoke actions that will benefit other individuals and thus the whole of this fabric.
WHEN YOU LOSE FAITH IN YOURSELF, THINK OF OTHERS
Everything you do impacts others. That includes the actions you take as you step towards your goals. When you find it hard to stay committed to your vision, think of others. Think of the people who will benefit when you step into your own soul power.
When you shatter your own limits, you will inevitably inspire someone else to do the same.
If you have a hard time doing something for yourself, re-frame your vision and goals in a way that focuses on how it will benefit others.
Think of the people who will benefit thanks to your sharing of your skills or ideas. If you can’t do it for you, do it for them.
They don’t need to see perfection. They want to see other ordinary human beings who stepped into their life more fully even despite their fears. We want to see how others rise through challenges and setbacks — because we are all familiar with those. We want to celebrate the wins of others just as much as we want others to rejoice in our wins.
When one person realizes their potential, they become part of the fabric of a more joyful and loving world that we are all weaving together.
So go forth and express your gifts — whatever you feel they may be.
We’re all rooting for you. Because when you express your amazing strengths and gifts, we all benefit. There is no separation between us after all.