I recently saw a great Richard Bach quotation: “Your only obligation in any lifetime is to be true to yourself.”
Here’s the full quotation, taken from Richard’s book, Messiah’s Handbook:
“Your only obligation in any lifetime is to be true to yourself. Being true to anyone else or anything else is not only impossible, but the mark of a fake messiah.”
Or, as Shakespeare had Polonius say in Hamlet, “This above all: to thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man.”
Are you always true to yourself? I’m getting better and better at it. But I still occasionally catch myself trying to be true to others ahead of myself. That truly is an impossible task.
We realize many of you were taught to be true to others above yourselves. The “others” can be your parents, teachers, governments, churches, etc. Even as mature adults you are exhorted to be true to others first. It’s often considered “selfish” to put yourselves first.
“Selfish” is not as bad as it’s cracked up to be. In fact, being selfish is a good thing. We know some will argue with that. But let’s explain a bit.
The classic example, one many of you have heard, is from the airline folks. On every flight, the flight attendants are required to advise passengers about various safety measures. One of those is the use of oxygen masks, should they be needed. Attendants tell passengers traveling with children to put their own masks on first, before helping the children.
Is that selfish? Well, yes, in a way. But if an emergency happened, being “selfish” could save the lives of adults and children.
You always must put yourselves first. Then, as Polonius said, you cannot be false to another.
You are all in this game of life together. You cannot help another, for example, who is in pain or sad, if you also are in pain or sad.
It just doesn’t work. You can uplift another only if you uplift yourselves first.
You cannot be everything to others and be anything to yourselves. Be true to yourselves. Be selfish. Then you empower yourselves and others.