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How much of our healing is in knowing that we can re-fashion ourselves?

Like the impetuosity of youth, once fully grown, we recklessly squander our potential with fruitless attempts to avoid looking at ourselves as beings fully capable of self transformation.  Our mistakes haunt us so; we flee from them and thus ourselves through mindless activities or, occasionally more meaningful distractions.  Yet, all we have is now and what we choose to make of it.  Every day I think about what I want to do with my life because everyday I am faced with a new opportunity, a choice about who I will be.

The words “I can’t” are not an admission of failure or even a statement of fear; it is perhaps the most brazen example of ego.  I can’t, is more akin to, I choose not to.  The truth is most of us have everything we need to accomplish the tasks and challenges that we are confronted with.  We only lack the willingness to grow, to alter a habit and to sometimes change our course midstream. 

Each new day presents an opportunity for us to be who we want to be.  I remember working at my first job as a teenager.  I quickly earned a reputation for being a day dreamer and a bit disorganized.  I disliked the ‘tag’ my fellow young co-workers had placed on me, but I didn’t know at the time how, or what to do to change things.  A week or so later we got a new manager, a typical occurrence in the particular line of work I happened to be in at the time, (fast food).  The manager introduced himself by meeting with each employee privately and when my turn came up I saw the chance to at least change the perception that he would have of me.  I decided to not just describe myself as organized and focused, but also, to describe qualities and characteristics that I had not yet, but hoped to achieve. Not only did the manager see and treat me like the person that I had described myself to be, everyone else at my job did as well, with the exception of one guy that had a crush on me, (my big brother had to put him in check). 

What was most enlightening about my experience was not the positive changed response that I had received from my manager and co-workers, but rather the change that happened in me.  I had actually become the person that I’d described even the skills and abilities that I hadn’t yet acquired became evident.  It felt like magic at the time however, there was nothing extraordinary about it.  We are so much greater than we believe ourselves to be. 

I remember many years ago going to bed with knots in my stomach, horrified by a prior decision I had made.  I worried about how I would be judged and wondered how I could escape the potential negative critiques from others.  I awoke thinking about how irrational, ineffectual and arrogant a preoccupation I had engaged in the day before.  I showered and put on a new clean set of clothes and with them, a new me.  I had to find center again and get a grip on myself, regain a clearer perspective of reality.  The key to mastering the self is often to simply let go of the self.  So much of the quality of our lives lies in what we perceive ourselves to be in the first place.

Each day provides us with the necessary skills for building the most important work of all, ourselves.  Through the years I have refashioned my self over and over again understanding that life is the clay but I am the sculptor.  I often see flaws and I go about fixing them and sometimes I just leave them be . . . I still day dream!

“Man is a divine experiment”


Dr. Joy DeGruy

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