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I Believe in…

Once we believe in ourselves, we can risk curiosity, wonder, spontaneous delight, or any experience that reveals the human spirit.

E. E. Cummings

An American poet, Edward Estlin Cummings was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1894 and died in 1962. He was a prolific writer who wrote almost 3,000 poems, two novels, four plays, and many essays. As a poet, he was best known for his non-conformist approach and this gives me some insight into this quote.

“Once we believe in ourselves…” These opening words literally stopped me in my tracks. Do most of us believe in ourselves? Do I believe in myself? What does this mean? To be honest, in this respect, I am a work in progress. Sometimes I feel a strong sense of uncertainty or doubt. So I look outside of myself for assurance. When I step back and analyse this lack of self-confidence, I see it as silly and child-like. It is based on fear and leads to no good.

Confidence means that I accept or I own who I am – with all of my virtues, talents, strengths, along with my vices and weaknesses. If I accept myself as I am, then I can love myself. This allows me to move forward boldly, according to my beliefs and my decisions. As well, I am enabled to reach out, unencumbered, to embrace others.

“…we can risk, curiosity, wonder, spontaneous delight…” If I am tangled up in foreboding and fear, how can I risk anything? Fear is the great annihilator of risk, of taking a chance. If I am to navigate my own life well, I need to ask about things, events, and people who impact my life and my society. Expressing wonder about the beauty of life is risking ridicule from others who might not share my view. Expressing spontaneous delight can be met with disapproval. In each instance, we risk disapproval from others – even those we love.

“…or any experience that reveals the human spirit.” The revelation of our human spirit is substantial exposure! Nothing speaks more eloquently to others than our behaviour – how we live our lives. People easily recognize the self-confident person because too few of us believe in ourselves. Sometimes, I wonder if our crowded urban lifestyle contributes to this phenomenon. Are people in rural areas less fearful about what others think of them?

It is my view that I am responsible for what I believe and how I live my life. This is what I can control. I can be a non-conformist if that’s how I can best express my true self without harming others or breaking the law. We live in a society that prizes conformity, so behaving otherwise is a risky business. Hence, I believe in me – a work in progress.

Enemies of the Writer

“As I sit back and I observe I have come to understand that doubt and fear is a major contributor and enemy of the writer. It creeps into the mind, seeps into the soul and gnaws the bone. It gets down so deep inside the author that it bleeds through the pen and taints the words. Next thing you know every time you look up that writer is not a writer anymore. That writer is a shadow of his former self, wallowing in self-pity and doubt. That writer has allowed fear to creep in and to steal his gift.”

~ Yecheilyah Ysrayl

Yecheilyah Ysrayl is a blogger, author, poet, and book reviewer who lives and writes in Louisiana. These words were in a post I received this week as a subscriber to her newsletter. Apparently, these words resonated deeply with me. Continue reading “Enemies of the Writer”

If Not Courage, What Do You Have?

“One isn’t necessarily born with courage, but one is born with potential. Without courage, we cannot practice any other virtue with consistency. We can’t be kind, true, merciful, generous, or honest.”

~ Maya Angelou

Tune in to the RAVE WAVES BlogTalkRadio show, ASPIRE TO INSPIRE where this post is the topic of a lively discussion. This is a production of Rave Reviews Book Club.

RW - Aspire to Inspire

  Maya Angelou (1928 – 2014) is one of the most celebrated women, black or white, in American history. This multitalented woman achieved excellence in everything she put her mind and heart into. She won awards internationally as an author, poet, and made significant contributions in the fields of screenwriting, acting, singing and directing. Being raised amid racism and victimized sexually as a child gave her a burning desire to right social wrongs, so she became a social activist and good friend of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Maya Angelou’s life was a model of courage and inspiration. Continue reading “If Not Courage, What Do You Have?”

Does Fear Own You?

“If you want to conquer fear, don’t sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.”

~ Dale Carnegie

Dale Carnegie (1888-1955) was an American writer, lecturer and developer of courses in self-improvement. He has always been near and dear to my heart because his book, How To Stop Worrying and Start Living (1948), helped me immensely in my lifelong battle against fear and self-doubt. I purchased the book while in the throes of debilitating anxiety, read it cover to cover, and felt myself relax a little more with each page I read. I don’t have the book anymore. I loaned it to a student who suffered from anxiety attacks and I never got it back. But I don’t mind – I just hope that the book helped her as much as it helped me. Continue reading “Does Fear Own You?”

Success: How Bad Do You Want It?

“Failure will never overtake me if my determination to succeed is strong enough.”

~ Og Mandino

Augustine “Og” Mandino (1923-1996) was the very successful American author whose book, The Greatest Salesman in the World, sold over 50 million copies. He was a self-educated man who spent the better part of his adult life working to help others be successful. Continue reading “Success: How Bad Do You Want It?”