A while back I wrote about this important topic. Given the year we’ve just had, I feel it needs a revisit. This work is foundational to your peace of mind, steadiness and joy. What I’ve just described–peace of mind, steadiness and joy–is called being emotionally fit.
Truth be told, how can any of us be emotionally fit given the year we’ve just had? I feel such deep, acute sadness right now. But I’ve learned that when I feel this way, I need to reach for hope. That’s a principle of emotional fitness too, reaching for hope. The work of constructing, and for many of us, re-constructing our lives is hopeful. Being the leader of our own lives is incredibly hopeful!
Owning your life begins with knowing who you are, and what you can offer back to the world. The tools I offer in Fully Human help you to gain valuable self-knowledge, which falls into two categories, your intrinsic motivations, as well as how you’re wired. By knowing these two things, we uncover our ‘point of pure truth,’ a place scholar and monk Thomas Merton wrote about in his 40-plus books. Frankly, finding any truth after this year would be a miracle. But since I believe in miracles, I know you can find that point of pure truth in yourself. After years of flailing about, I did, so I know you can too.
When you uncover this place, this spark within, you know what you can offer back to the world. From that place of knowing, you can stand with others–to lead them, if that’s your vocation, and to be worthy of their trust. Owning our lives helps us to stay grounded in the best of who we are. My friend Greg Boyle is a Jesuit priest and founder of Homeboy Industries, a hugely successful gang intervention program. He’s the author New York Times bestseller Tattoos on the Heart and in it he writes about helping his kids, former gang members, come to own their lives. He spoke recently to a collection of amazing people who are re-imagining our country’s way forward, after this mess of a year. He said:
“When you own yourself, when you appear, you become a light by which others can see.”
It’s everyone’s job to become that light, especially today, after all the emotional pain and angry noise that has characterized 2020. It’s our most noble work to stay grounded in the best of who we are, and to stretch and to grow in the fullness of that light.