Monday, November 20, 2006

Be who you want to be

Assume a virtue, if you have it not.
… For use almost can change the stamp of nature.

Hamlet, Act Three, Scene IV

This weekend I found myself in several conversations with some teenaged friends. The question I asked was, "What kind of man or woman do you want to be?"

They gave some interesting answers. Some had thought it through and had a general idea, others were very specific about their career and educational goals, and others frankly didn't care—their current life was enough for them to handle, thank you.

But I hope it got them thinking anyway. It sure got me thinking! Because my basic point—and I think this applies to all of us, not just teenagers—is that you can shape who you want to be and then be that. The human personality we've been saddled with is just as open to healing and redemption as the body is. You can be the better man (or woman) if you want to be.

Have you ever thought about healing your personality? Perhaps you get upset too often, or angry, or you're afraid of certain things. Perhaps there's too much sadness or shyness or brusqueness. Do you have to live with those things and their effects forever? Can you break the cycle and try something new?

Yes, you can! I love the Shakespeare passage above in this regard. Let's say you currently think of yourself as impatient. The next time something irritates you, *act* with patience instead. Respond to the situation with a calm, measured, understanding tone. See the results you get. Are they better results than you got with impatience? You're more likely to be patient next time.

We can clothe ourselves in the qualities we want to express whenever we'd like. Nothing is keeping us from expressing the "good we know but do not" (to paraphrase Paul again). Nothing but our own limited self-concept. And we can change that around as quickly as changing our mind.

The reason this works, and that it's not just an act, is that in truth we all have each and every good quality because they're all sourced in the Divine. These good qualities are eternal and we're meant to express them. We were *created* to express them as the image and likeness of Spirit, omnipresent good.

The rough edges we'd like to sand off aren't divine, but mortal. Since they're mortal, they have a beginning and an end—they're not a permanent part of our true being. And voila—since they're going to end anyway, we can go ahead and make them end *now.*

I'll sometimes make a game of it. I'll think, This week is the week I'm going to assume more kindness, or intelligence, or joy. And I'll look for opportunities during that week to choose those qualities instead of their mortal opposites. It's fun to see the results, and to realize I *do* have a choice.

What kind of man or woman do you want to be? Play the part—and see if it doesn't become the reality.

Your ideas and inspiration are welcome! Please comment below or Contact Laura.
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