“You cannot fail at being yourself. A cat doesn’t try to be a tiger, and you shouldn’t try to be something you aren’t. You are a process, not a product. Your job is to discover what you are and to create that creature. You still won’t be perfect, but success isn’t about perfection–it is about authenticity. You are a success if you are being your real, authentic self.” – Bernie Siegel
I admit that I laughed a little when I imagined a cat trying to be a tiger. How silly that would be! What Bernie says here is so easy to understand: “We cannot fail at being who we are.” It is an absolute impossibility as long as you allow yourself to simply be your true, authentic self.
One of my all-time favorite stories from my childhood was the Velveteen Rabbit, by Margery Williams. Towards the end of this book, there is a quote that I will always remember for the rest of my life. It goes as follows: “Real isn’t how you are made,’ said the Skin Horse. ‘It’s a thing that happens to you.’ . . . . ‘It doesn’t happen all at once,’ said the Skin Horse. ‘You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”
There is no reason for me to be anything other than that which I truly am. I may have frayed edges, torn limbs, matted fur, missing whiskers, or things that I feel make me less important, less loveable, or even insignificant. Nevertheless, I am who I am, and I should never be afraid of that. And when I am my authentic self, others begin to see me for who I really am–my value then becomes real, both to myself and to those in my life.
Why have I not given myself credit for the qualities that I possess? Have I been afraid of being arrogant? Of seeming to think myself as superior to others? Have I been trying to be humble and modest, while all the time sabotaging my potential because I would not admit just how truly valuable I am as a human being?
Your value and worth are absolute and true. At times, it may seem insignificant, or not easily noticed or manifested in the entirety of the world. But when you find your authentic self, and you strive to reach your full potential, you can be sure that both your value and worth will have a positive effect on the world around you.
Be yourself today… and remember what Dr. Suess said, “Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.”
Questions to consider:
What kinds of things keep you from seeing your own value?
Can you think of any concrete methods for pulling yourself away from the influence of these things and focusing your energy on more positive things?
Do you believe that you possess all you need to be genuinely happy? If not, are the things that are missing outside things or inner things?
For further thought:
“Only the truth of who you are, if realized, will set you free.” – Eckhart Tolle