Who I am, is determined by my past. Whether the memories of my past are good or worth forgetting. I am either what I am now because of the past or despite there of. That depends on how I dealt with the issues that crossed my path.
One thing though which we cannot change is that my “now” depends on whether I managed to leave behind the insignificant things. Those I cannot change or influence.
“Forgiveness is the only way to free ourselves from the entrapment of the past” said a wise man once (Richard Röhr). The pains of the past stick in our being and are very difficult to let go. But letting go of negative and painful memories allows growth. It is the only way we can define ourselves by the present moment. I cannot be defined by my failures of the past. What I am now is who I really am.
Life without risks is nothing different than unconsciousness. To “run into danger” would sound foolish, yet in it’s original form this is what it means. One of the first discoveries every young human make, is that without risk there’s no growth. The first effort to crawl, to take the first step is filled with danger. Overcoming that fear induces development. We learn quickly that all the new experiences in life are challenges to our equilibrium and comfort we nonetheless engage them without hesitation.
As we grow up we tend to lose that inclination to risk-taking as we curl up in our comfortable existence. We convince ourselves that life should be as uncomplicated and plain sailing as possible. That is when mediocrity and complacency sets in and any possibility of growth evaporate.
The older one gets, the more you need to force yourself to take risks. Discover new experiences, develop new skills and read something outside your interest or expertise. Overcome the fear of stepping out of the known and the ordinary. Grow to become more you.
I am, because we are. “Ubuntu” is the African word for describing the essence of co-existence and the importance of my own position in society. Although my own place in humanity is largely defined by the group I find myself in, my value is determined by myself.
The position I occupy does not establish my worth. The influence I have on my environment does. That is the reason why statues are only built for people who influenced society. Usually having to go against the flow of the usual. Not allowing the way of least resistance to direct their actions.
Standing alone amongst my peers and facing the challenge of the strong current of opposing the institutionalized wrongs that will define me. That is why no statues are built for people who had an easy life.
Whistleblowing is not seen as a virtue among those who have vested interests in mediocrity and the iniquitous.
My attitude towards my own purpose should then rather be: “We are because I am”.