Have you met the Real You?

There is something in every one of you that waits and listens for the sound of the genuine in yourself. It is the only true guide you will ever have.

And if you cannot hear it, you will all of your life spend your days on the ends of strings that somebody else pulls.

I wonder if you can get still enough — not quiet — still enough to hear rumbling up from your unique and essential idiom the sound of the genuine in you. I don’t know if you can. But this is your assignment. –Howard Thurman

IMG_0749Last week when I was in New York City. I had the honor of presenting for the Fellows of Starting Bloc, an  organization that assists emerging leaders in driving social innovation. My talk was intended to be on goal setting and I began by reading this quote from Howard Thurman. We then spent the next half hour of so unpacking it: going line by line and pulling it apart. I love this process. I love hearing how people interpret these words. And most of all, I love seeing the inspiration Thurman’s words produce. This morning, however, in re-reading the first two lines, I realize that I’ve been overlooking something in my unpacking of the quote.

“There is something in every one of you that waits and listens…” I usually jump straight to the sound of the genuine. I’ve been ignoring that something that is waiting and listening. What is that?

Have you ever felt a deep yearning? I know I have. Way back when I was still a nurse, I had a profoundly deep desire to realize my then undefined reason for being. I knew I was supposed to be doing something and I had no idea what that was. Looking back on it now, I believe that yearning was coming from the something in me that was waiting and listening, straining its ears, parched and starving for the sound of the genuine in myself.

I think this something that waits and listens for the sound of your genuine is the Real You. I mean, really, by the time we’re adults, we’ve put on layers and layers of protective clothing. We’ve had to hide our real selves so we can stay sane and whole and functional. The world is a pretty cruel and prickly place, after all. And it’s sometimes totally necessary and desirable to put the Real You into protective custody. Unfortunately, however, the Real You can get misplaced. It can be frighteningly easy to forget who the Real You is.

And yet, the Real You is still there, waiting and listening for the sound of the genuine in you. I imagine it like this: the sound of the genuine is heard and it’s like a big old wakeup call and the Real You sits bolt upright with eyes open wide and goes, “Hey! I hear it!!”

I know this sounds great, this awakening does. I must warn you: if you awaken your Real You, putting that part of yourself back to sleep may be impossible. Once you’ve met your true self being something less than the Real You will feel totally fake.

Not that you can’t silence the sound of the genuine and stuff the Real You back into a dark corner somewhere. You can–and you may be very good at it already–but I’m telling you that once you have the experience of hearing your genuine and being acquainted with the Real You, you get pretty stubborn about not giving in and going back to the way things were.

What do you think? Are you ready to meet the Real You?


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  1. Grzegorz Junka says

    That’s really nothing new. It takes time and courage, though, to realize, that the Real You is not really you but God’s plan for you. As blessed Henry Newman said: “We are all created for God’s glory – we are created to do his will. I am created to do something or to be something for which no one else is created.” Put is simply, When we don’t do what God calls us to do, then we “feel” that urge or yearning, as you say, to change our life and do God’s will. Only then we can meet the greatest happiness when we live the lives that the God created us for. Of course it doesn’t mean we all have to saints or priests. The world needs many more mothers, fathers, manufacturers, etc., than priests. And that is independent of someone’s religion or beliefs and steams simply from the fact that we are all have souls and are loved by God. I’ll probably never stop wondering why people put so much effort to rediscover, rename and reclassify truths that the Catholic faith has known for centuries.

    • CPC says

      Grzegorz, Many people within the Church are still searching for their “real you” Us Catholics know what are purpose is “To know, love and serve God is this life and to live with him in the next” .
      However, many of us make mistakes in discerning our vocations. Or how we serve God. I don’t think what Tara is saying is contrary to this discernment.
      Also, God is never stops calling us into deeper union with Him. He does want us all to be saints.
      Many priests, religious and laity respond to his ongoing call by changing the nature of their service.
      Also, I think the Church did a much better job of helping our youth deal with discernment of their state in life in the past that currently.
      Also, folks that are unfamiliar with Christianity will name these promptings of the Spirt with what they know. I pray they continue to respond and find their way Home.

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