Years teach us more than books.
I have spent years, cumulatively, scouring the real shelves of bookstores and the virtual ones of Amazon.com looking for something, anything that would make sense of my life. I've read thousands of flyleaves, soaking up the promises of the pages within, absorbing with certainty that this would be the program/concept/process that would help me, change me (or someone else) and/or answer all my questions. I have always been disappointed. Not because the authors were un-wise or even wrong; many of them offered much.
I have always been disappointed because I was looking to others instead of trusting myself.
Many, many years ago a mentor-esque woman asked me why I kept doing this, why I kept searching, why I was so convinced that someone else knew more than I did. She asked me why I couldn't just trust that I had the answers I needed, the wisdom required, the perspective necessary for any and everything that mattered.
That conversation changed me.
I didn't stop buying books. Rather, I stopped looking for myself in them; for the me that felt lost, drifting, and frantically grabbing on to any one, two, or seven-step plan that could give me answers, direction, and meaning. I began to find myself in myself, and more, to believe that I knew, that I knew enough, that I was enough; to trust me.
If you're anything like me, it's not that you don't believe in yourself; it's just that you're pretty certain that someone else - with more experience, more years, more knowledge, more degrees - knows more, better, some secret that will finally make everything clear. If you're anything like me, it means that really, truly, desperately you want someone else to tell you what you need to know, what you need to do, how you need to behave/understand/live rather than have to figure it out for yourself. And if you're anything like me, you are certain that the next one will be the one; that you just need to keep digging, keep believing, keep trying.
Of course, there is nothing wrong with reading books. In my busy and often frantic world, such is total gift, luxury, and grace. I still wander bookstores (when they can be found) and browse Amazon for long stretches of time. I download another tome or two each week to my iPad's Kindle. I thrill at the beauty of words, ideas, scenes, and dialogue. I love the ways in which a solitary statement can touch my mind and heart so profoundly that I see anew, stand aright, and feel alive.
But ultimately, no matter how fabulous the content or concepts, poetry or prose, narrative or nonfiction, all that I seek, long, and desire is already mine.
All that I pursue external of myself is already within.
Ultimately, all that I need do is trust that such is true; trust me.
And guess what? The same is true for you.
No book offers all that you've already got goin' on inside. Bring it on! Whip it out. Let it loose. Set it free. And trust. Trust you.
Were it not for the gentle, yet firm words of this woman many years ago, I wonder if I would have come to this realization. These are the conversations that change us; the relationships that invite us to places we could have never expected to go and which we simultaneously have longed for most. And these are the very words, conversations, and relationships I love to offer. Learn more.
More from living