By that I mean being guided by idealism and what they really care about. Some make a lot of money, others very little. But fame, financial gain, societal approval and “followers” is not what propels them forward.
They are free of other people’s “shoulds,” even as many of them work in bureaucratic organizations. In the face of tragedy, their hearts have broken open to compassion and hope rather than breaking apart in bitterness and self-absorption.
As kids, we know who we really are and what matters to us. As we try to conform to school rules, work cultures, societal images of “success,” we often lose ourselves.
But we can reclaim our freedom. We can live a paradoxical life of safety and adventure, fear and love, certainty and risk, sadness and joy.
A newsletter from my son’s camp (American Youth Foundation) arrived in the mail today with children’s answers to the question: When are you at your best? Here are some of their responses:
- When I’m at my best self, it’s like there’s a flame in my body powering me to try anything, make anything, do anything and even if it’s just a spark you can still try, you are still part of the world.
- My best self is a person who is brave, kind and polite. It is also a person who is generous. A person who has lots of energy. A person who is me.
- When I am my best self I have a positive attitude, and am filled with joy and happiness, and I’m always helping others. Also, when I’m trying my best and when I’m myself and not trying to be someone else.
In the face of so much uncertainty in today’s world, let us give thanks this week for being able to be our best selves.