Here is a quote – You are not just a simple body in this universe. In fact, you are a gigantic universe in a body.
Do you really belong to yourself? If someone were to ask you who you are, you would probably say something like, ‘My name is so-and-so, I belong to so-and-so community, I have such-and-such educational qualifications, and I do such-and-such job.’ You say this because this is what you are taught to say. But is this all you really are? Does your nationality, race, religion, society, education, and occupation completely define you, or is there more to your personality? Is that all you truly belong to, or do you think there is far more to your life than what you can describe?
If you look at history, all those people whom we call ‘great’ had one thing in common – they belonged to themselves. They explored their inner potential and never limited themselves to certain beliefs or ideas. They went ahead and explored the greatest power that lay within them. Similarly, you should never let situations, achievements or qualifications limit you. Remember that you are a storehouse of infinite possibilities. The greatest success lies in finding your true capabilities and using them for a greater purpose, which is possible only if you know how to belong to yourself.
How to belong to yourself
You don’t have to do much to belong to yourself. All you have to do is get rid of all the things that don’t make you feel true to yourself. First, free yourself of all illusions that make you believe that you belong to a person, a religion or a society. Learn to identify your true self, and then find out how you can bring yourself into harmony with your surroundings and how you can go higher.
Remember that you are like a perfect piece of marble. So far, you have given the hammer and chisel to others. You let them make whatever they wanted to make out of you. But now the time has come to take the hammer and chisel in your own hands, and carve out the beautiful statue that is hidden inside you. All you have to do is get rid of the unwanted parts of yourself and you will see the beautiful you coming out.
We are always eager to describe ourselves, to make other people see how we really are. But the things that we tell them, do they really reflect our true selves? Don’t we tend to exaggerate a little to leave the best impression possible?
Just take some time, and think about yourself and what you really want. Then compare that with what you tell others. Do you find a difference between the two? It’s great if you do. This difference shows that there is still a spark of originality, a spark of individuality within you. Don’t let that spark go out. Focus on it, nurture it and feed it with all the knowledge that makes it grow. This very spark might lead you to the purpose of your life. It is one of the only things that belong to you and to no one else.
On the other hand, if you don’t find any difference between what you think you are and what you tell others, then maybe you need to look deeper within. You ought to spend more time with yourself. Doing something like mindful meditation might help you with this.
Explore your true potential
Archaeological evidence suggests that our brain evolved to its current shape at least 35, 0000 years ago1. Whatever people have achieved since then, you can achieve too, as you have similar abilities. For example, millions of years ago, just like other animals, humans were also afraid of fire. They probably thought of it as a force of nature that could not be controlled. But then something happened – someone dared to be different and learnt how to control fire. That person then also transferred that knowledge to others around them and became the source of one of the greatest leaps for humanity.
Each generation lives in an illusion of stability. We think that what we cannot imagine cannot happen. We forget that there might be a limit to our imagination, but there is no limit to what we can achieve. People who brought about revolutionary changes in society have proved that again and again.
You, as a human being, have limitless abilities. It isn’t lack of ability that hinders you. It is usually a lack of exploration of your abilities that does, or a lack of will to overcome the obstructions created by your society, your education or a certain belief system. However, if you are diligent, overcoming all these obstructions isn’t difficult at all.
Create harmony within yourself
You are born on this planet, and you are an inseparable part of it. Let’s face it – the world around you is something you can never get rid of. The best thing you can do is try to harmonize yourself with it. But before bringing yourself in harmony with the world, it is necessary for you to be in harmony with yourself. Before belonging to the world, you should belong to yourself, as only those who are not happy with their own existence search for it outside.
To live a harmonious life, all you need is clarity of mind. Before you start finding the solution to a problem, you ought to know what exactly the problem is. Most of us fail to see the infinity within us because our minds are so occupied with everyday troubles.
Remember, no matter what a problem is, there can only be two outcomes. Either you can use your intelligence and solve it, or it is not going to be solved.
If the problem can be solved, focus on the solution. If not, accept the problem, and try making yourself stronger so that you can successfully get over the problem. In either case, thinking unnecessarily about something won’t help you at all.
Once you understand this, most of your troubles will disappear and you will be in harmony with yourself and the world around you.
I stayed for a week in a tribal area in one of the remotest parts of Ethiopia. Tribal folks residing there live organic, wear nothing and have no access to electricity (if you get the chance, you must see my tribal photography2). One morning, I saw an elderly person, wearing nothing, sitting under a tree on a cowskin sheet, and he mixed the fresh blood of a goat with milk and drank it. When I inquired about the same, he said, ‘This is my religious food.’ He continued, ‘My body is my religion – anything that’s nutritious and makes me complete is my religious food.’
If you ever visit a nutritional expert, they will prescribe you food that your body needs, whatever makes you complete. They might keep your preferences in mind, but their first objective is to give you a complete diet plan.
Similarly, you just need to find out what completes you, what makes you feel like the ‘true you’, and which thoughts, hobbies, passions, achievements, etc., actually matter to you. Don’t be the person the world wants you to be, be the person you want to be. And trust me, you will be a better person if you choose to be your true self.
It might sound selfish, but belonging to yourself doesn’t make you selfish in the literal sense. It actually helps you understand how to prioritize your needs while caring for the needs of those around you. If you can make yourself complete, you will be in a better position to offer the world what you are capable of.
Don’t compete with others; no one deserves your competition
The only person you should compete with is the person you were yesterday. Any attempt to compete with someone else will eventually cause bitter disappointment and unnecessary stress. You are unique in your abilities – as unique as everyone else is. You could never lead their life, nor can they lead yours, so why compete with them? Don’t wish to be like everybody else, don’t try to fit in. It would make you miss out on being your truest self. So why not compete with your own limitations?
Take yourself higher
For each of us, there is only one ‘I’ in the world. We are all here with unique abilities, and hence our purpose is also unique. Nothing can be worse than being unfaithful to what your heart bids you to do. It is the only failure. You are your own best friend and worst enemy; only you can take yourself higher or make yourself fall even lower.
Once you have discovered your true purpose and you truly belong to yourself, let your individuality shine forth. Whatever your desires are, they will automatically start coming towards you. And once you have what you desire, you will start moving towards something higher and better, something that will bring you closer to your higher self. The true meaning of belonging to yourself will reveal itself only after you learn how to take yourself higher.