Finding Your Greatness: For anyone unsure of what’s next
I know what it feels like. The not knowing. The waiting on the precipice of uncertainty with only the certainty of wanting to step outside yourself and becoming truly great. At least, I think that’s what you want: to become great. I think that’s what we all want, really.
Here’s the truth: I can’t take away your uncertainty. I can’t take away that gnawing feeling of the unknown or tell everyone in the world to stop asking you what you’re doing next. I can tell you this: you wanting to become great is the first step towards getting there. But along with that, you also have to know it. You have to know, deep in your heart, that you yourself are great. You contain glimmers of the divine. You are a light in the world. Even if you fail sometimes. Even if your hair is a little funky this morning or if there’s a stain of strawberry jam on your button down shirt. You’re still great. Do a little dance in front of the mirror every time you go to a bathroom to remind yourself of this fact. Shake your hips and give yourself a wink until someone comes in. If they do, pretend you have something in your eye.
Repeat the phrase that says “Behold God beholding you… and smiling.” Marinate in that. Sit in that warm place for a little bit, feel the infinite love, but don’t get too comfortable. You have to act on it—this desire for greatness. It’s like a hunger isn’t it? The search for your vocation, for who you’re meant to be. You want to figure it out so badly you could scream. Then you think, “where’s the fun in figuring it out right away, anyway?”
Besides, it’ll change, you know. You vocation doesn’t always stay the same. It depends on the time in your life, your passions, your circumstances, your location, the people you’ve met…or haven’t. It unfortunately depends on money sometimes, too. Don’t get depressed. Don’t get overwhelmed. You’re still great, remember? But it’s time to do something.
First of all, it involves other people. You knew that, right, deep down? Think about it for some time. Remember that no man is an island thing? That guy had a point. In fact, I think he was onto something. It sounds funny, but it’s true. To find yourself, you have to find the beauty of others. Look other people in the eye. See how real and rugged they are. Notice their scars. Listen to their stories. Accept their flaws. See that they’re trying to be great, too. See that they are beautiful.
Second, think about your gifts and desires. God works through our desires, you know. Think about what makes you joyful. Think about what you’re good at. You’re supposed to share that. And in doing so, you bring even more profound levels of peace and joy into your life. Cool, isn’t it? So listen to your thoughts and desires. Find your gifts and talents. Then lose them as you give them away to others. And lose yourself.
You probably didn’t want to hear that, did you? Should I have saved that for later? We spend most of our adolescence trying to find ourselves, why the heck would we want to give that up? I don’t mean go and get your own version of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. I mean think about yourself less often because you find yourself a little too busy thinking about others. In the “how can I help you?” kind of way, not the “what will they think of me?” kind of way. And guess what? Thinking of yourself less often is refreshing. It’s liberating, really. It takes a huge load off. It give you a lot more free time to spend on things that bring you joy. And once you realize that, you kind of want to get a little wild, let your hair grow out, wear the same three outfits, forget to shave, or possibly live in a hut or monastery somewhere. Maybe that’s for some people. But I don’t think that’s for you. Don’t go to the hut just yet. You can let your hair grow out or forget to shave every once in a while.
Instead, stay with people. Marinate in them, too. In the world. It may seem a little depressing and dirty—what with the starving children, genocide, ambulances, hurricanes, cancer and all. But it can be a really cool place sometimes. Like have you ever been to Cinque Terre? Or Yosemite? Or the hill country? Or your backyard? Those are really cool places. So are Paris, London, New York, Tokyo and Prague—but those have more man-made stuff that’s cool. The other ones are pretty much gorgeous without even trying. They can really make you jealous sometimes. So can the sunset.
But if the sun can set every day in the midst of all the egoism, greed, inequality and so on, you can give off some beauty too. That’s why you should keep on keeping on in this journey for your own version of greatness. Just like the sun, you can illuminate the world. And just like its setting, you can leave beauty in your wake. You can also be great, even if you have to rely on others sometimes or if you don’t always have it all figured out. Being great just involves opening your heart a little bit, becoming vulnerable to your uncertainty, and overcoming it in the process. You know, it’s that easy. Fine, maybe it’s not. But you become stronger when you do. So open up your heart. Cultivate your gifts. Love other people. Breathe every once in a while. Practice gratitude. There’s a freedom in our liberty, you know? And that’s something that should be celebrated.
You’re alive, after all. Aren’t you?
All the best,