When in your life have you felt a strong sense of self?
Hopefully, there have been many times.
Do you have a photo of yourself from one of those times? One that you can display to remind you of that person? The person you still are on the inside, but that you sometimes forget.
For years I kept the book Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort of Joy by Sarah Ban Breathnach on my bedside table. The months related to various themes encouraging readers to be authentic, to simplify, to recognize the power of gratitude. While writing the book, Ban Breathnach had a 10-year-old daughter who had a strong sense of self. She’d be clothes shopping with her mother and when her mother suggested a clothing item, the daughter shook her head and said that the item wasn’t her. The girl had a sense of self that her mother envied. Ban Breathnach encouraged readers to find a photo of themselves around age 10, one that depicted them in a way that represented a strong sense of self before doubt crept into your life. The photo would serve as a reminder of your strong sense of self. Remind you to be confident and go after your dreams. To show the world your true self.
I found a square photo of me sitting out in my field with my arm around my golden retriever. I was younger than age ten, but definitely in those magical years of unbridled confidence, if you were lucky enough, as I was, to have an upbringing that didn’t disturb this natural sense of self. In the field with my trusted furry companion beside me, I felt that I could do or be anything.
That photo has served me well. For many years, it reminded me to dream and to act. Or as the quote from Anatole France goes:
To accomplish great things,
we must not only act,
but also dream;
not only plan,
but also believe.
I got to the point where I didn’t rely on the photo anymore. It got pushed to the far left of my desk. Got hidden behind piles of stuff. Accumulated dust. I just wiped clean the glass and the sparkly frame; I want the sparkles in the frame to shine again. I need the reminder to go after my dreams.
I’ve moved the photo to where I will again notice it daily. There are times in our lives when we need cues to follow our dreams. When we must wipe off the dust to let our inner light shine through.
What photo represents a time you felt a strong sense of self?
If it isn’t already in a place to inspire you daily, maybe it should be.
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Originally published at www.everydayessays.com.
Originally published at medium.com