One of my favorite bands from back in college was The Untouchables. They had this great vibe about them and the song “Free Yourself” still ranks as one of the happier songs of all time for me. if you want, the lyrics can tell you a lot about the concept of freeing oneself.
The reason for this post though, is to discuss the need for individuals to be authentic and free themselves from the need to follow in anyone else’s footsteps. One of the saddest things in life to see is to watch another human being make themselves miserable trying to live up to someone else’s idea of who they should be. That never works out well.
Sure, we all have people who provide inspiration for us, they help us think better or realize our potential. We may aspire to living up to their words, their deeds or their successes. However, when we forget that they too are or were human beings, we set aside the reality of the person for the ideal of the concept of who they are or were. I’ve yet to meet a person who makes no mistakes. A perfect person as a human being is as likely as having ten thousand identical snowflakes. It simply isn’t reality.
We should not think that a single quote from an individual is the sum of their being. It is my belief that when a person takes a single quote as anything more than inspirational, they devalue the being who spoke that quote. A single statement does not a human being make. There is a whole novel in being human, the story of a life is far from perfection. When we reduce a person to one statement and then idolize that as some form of absolute truth, we lose the value of the life that created the expression of those words.
In the last few decades there has been a tendency to take a famous person’s quote and magnify this as if it were the sum total of the being themselves. That saddens me as there is so much more richness in their story than a single quote that may resonate with others. Is it fair to reduce a life to a single quote? I think not. You may disagree, but it simply isn’t even an effective trailer to the person as a whole.
Perhaps it is my makeup, but to me the only value in a human quote is that it represents an inspiration to myself. Something within the words strike a chord in my being, but it isn’t the sum of my life or mind, it may inspire me, but it isn’t a sign of sycophancy where I must shout it out loud or post it for others to admire. Instead, it can be used to inspire action. It may provide a boost to a conscious process or drive a goal within myself. For in that, there is value.
Where the best of each of us exists its when we can exercise our own mind and spirit to derive the best outcome for others. We aren’t the sum of our favorite quotes, but rather beings that can think for themselves. In that spirit, the best comes from the whole, the independent mind that thinks through decisions and seeks the proper outcome for all. Selfishness is the enemy of love, it is the ruin of the independent mind that exercises its knowledge to build a better world.
I’d like to ask one favor of people, consider that a single quote does not create the life story of a person. There is so much more on their canvas, and when you focus on that leaf in the tree, you miss the forest of their existence. Everyone has the potential to do good, but only when we come from a place of love and respect for one another will you truly achieve success. We must appreciate the diversity that creates that ecosystem as a whole.
You will only become a whole being when you can consider that there is a much greater story to be found when you take the time to ponder where the inspiration takes you on your journey. Life, after all is not a destination. That is a known outcome. It is the journey along the way that makes us what we are, and only by thinking for yourself will you ever truly be free.
Have a nice day. Don’t worry, be happy!