What does it mean to be true to yourself?
In Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Polonius gives his son, Laertes, this beautiful advice:
This above all: to thine ownself be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.”
A couple of weeks ago, I was almost home when I met a small skunk in my lane. I swerved to miss him and did. But he ran the same way as I swerved and he sprayed the whole underside of my car. He was being true to his nature. Unfortunately, there are not as many fixes for cars as there would be for pets or people in the same position. Immediately the next day, I went to the car wash and had my car’s underside sprayed but it did not reduce the smell much. One of my neighbors suggested that I go to a garage where they have a hoist and get them to power wash the underside. Toyota wasn’t able to help me. The skunk was just being himself. I scared him and he did what skunks do. Now I will live with the consequences as best I can.
Unlike the skunk, when I am called to be true to my nature, it will never result in hurt or harm to another. My true nature, just like yours, is pure Love.
Ernest Holmes defines love as:
“Love is the self-givingness of Spirit through the desire of Life to express Itself in terms of creation… Love is free from condemnation, even as it is free from fear. Love is a cosmic force whose sweep is irresistible.”
When we take Polonius’ advice to be true to ourselves, it really means to be true to our real nature, to show up as who we really are.
This means when things happen unexpectedly, we are called to remember who we are. We are called to Love ourselves no matter what and to remember that everyone is an express of Life’s divine urge for expression.
Last Sunday I had an opportunity to practice — my microphone, which I wear on my underwear, stopped working. It actually had changed channels, probably when I was expressing love to someone through a hug. No one knew how to make it start working; all obvious ideas were tried — new battery, check connections, etc. I was attempting to get back to the platform for the Jesus Christ Superstar presentation. During our opening song I was hoping to have it fixed but it wasn’t so I used a hand held microphone for the first part of the presentation. I was hurried and appeared a little harried. Ironically, moments after all this angst, Karyn Allen sang Mary Magdalene’s poignant song, “Everything’s Alright.” And I heard myself saying words of truth, that we cannot manifest our good, unless we relax into the moment and allow it to happen. (Being up-tight is never one’s true nature, even if it is familiar.) A replacement microphone was found and the performance went on as scheduled.
But someone lovingly reminded me that I was a better leader than this, that it makes a difference how I handle every situation. Self-awareness is where everything starts. I can’t change the past, but I can bring more awareness and love to this moment and the next. And so can you.
Affirmation: I choose love in all situations and in each and every moment.