I believe for everyone who goes astray
Someone will come to show the way....
I believe, I believe...
-- as sung by Elvis Presley
It has been said: I believe Lord. Help my disbelief... We all have moments of doubt, and we all have moments of believing... of believing in ourselves, in our friends and neighbors, in our country, in our world... And then we have those dark moments of the soul -- the moments of doubt.
Oftentimes, in our life, we have doubts about the outcome of a situation... whether the doubt has to do with our own capabilities, or someone else's. Yet faith in ourselves is an integral part of succeeding... When we give up believing in ourselves, we give up trying.
With Perseverance, We Attain Our Goals
Think of a baby learning to walk. It somehow believes that it can do this, even when all evidence points to the contrary -- after all, at first it can barely crawl -- yet that baby keeps trying and trying until one day it can walk and then run. And as we watch that baby, we also have faith and believe that the child will someday, soon, learn to walk. Even though it can't even stand on its own, we know that with practice and with perseverance, it will attain its goal.
This principle applies in our personal lives as well. We may have a goal, like quitting smoking, or changing our eating patterns, or being less impatient with others -- and sometimes it seems like we fail miserably. We fall back into the old behavior we are trying to replace.
Yet if we don't give up, if every time we fall down or "fail" we try again, then eventually we will emerge victorious. If we hold on to our vision and know that eventually we will attain our goal, we will have gained internal strength with every "fall". If after the moments of doubt, we can regroup and get back on the path, then we have won.
Holding On To Our Vision
Yet, it is easy to judge ourselves at those steps where we do not stick to our goal -- or lose faith in ourselves or our vision -- and at that point give up. But that is the moment where we must hold on to our faith, to our vision. It is always darkest just before the dawn. Thus, just when we feel like despairing and that we'll "never get there", that is the time where we must keep working towards our goal, because, if we don't give up, we will make it.
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Sometimes, just at that point where we almost gave up, someone will show up with assistance of some kind -- whether a kind encouraging word or more direct help, someone or something will be there to support you in your goal.
All of this also applies in our work situations, in our governments, and in the world. We may have a difficult co-worker, or a "challenging" neighbor, or a tense world situation, yet, we must hold on to our belief in success, even in the midst of darkness. People may laugh at our "idealistic" goals, think we can never attain what we strive for, yet we must keep picking up the pieces of our vision -- each time we drop them. We must continue to hold within our hearts our vision -- whether of a peaceful and loving work environment, neighborhood, or world -- we must, after we go through our periods of doubt and of fear, go back to the original goal, the original vision.
Breaking Past the Barrier of "Impossibility"
It may not be possible to learn to walk in a day, but the baby doesn't let that stop it... it keeps trying, and trying, and trying. Years ago it was thought impossible to go to the moon, to break the four-minute mile "barrier", to have instant communication via telephones, internet, etc.
For everything we have accomplished, there have always been those who scoffed that it was impossible -- that it couldn't be done. These doubters always had "proof" of why the goal could not be attained. Yet, some brave souls who wouldn't accept that reality were able to break past the barrier of "impossibility" and create something new... whether a plane, a car, a telephone, a rocket to go to the moon, an internet system, a new world record, etc.
We face the same situation in our day to day lives, and even in our global situation. If we insist that something is impossible (quitting smoking, being more patient, losing weight, attaining world peace), then we have quit trying and we have closed the door of possibility. But if we know and accept that even in the face of fallbacks (another cigarette or bowl of ice cream, another outburst of anger or war), we can still pick ourselves up and try again, and then success is possible.
Believing in Ourselves
We must keep believing in ourselves and in the other "ourselves" out there. I remember when the cold war was ending with Russia: Trips were organized to Russia where "regular people" went and met with "regular people" in Russia, only to discover that we are all the same.
People the world over have the same hopes and dreams -- we all seek to have a happy life, to have the love of our family and friends, to live in a safe and peaceful world. Whether we speak the same language, practice the same religion, or dress the same or not , we are all human -- in spite of our external differences, inside we are the same. We all have hopes and aspirations, and the power to strive and make those dreams come true.
Yet, we must start with believing in ourselves and in others. "Lord, I believe, help my disbelief." Yes, there are times when the dark of the night leads us to believe that there will be no day, but if we hold on a little bit longer and don't give up, then at some point, the light will come.
So it is with all of our goals, whether personal or global. If we hold on even in the midst of doubt, fear, mockery, and "evidence" to the contrary, if we hold on to our vision (and pick it up each time we drop it), we will reach the goal.
There is Always a Way
We are never given a challenge without there being a way through it. Sometimes we may feel we are caught in a maze, that there is no way out... but there is a way, there is always a way, even when we don't see it. There is always hope even when we don't see any reason for it. There is always an answer even if we haven't yet heard it.
It is easy to give up, much easier than keeping on going. Yet, the price of giving up is anger which is oftentimes translated into apathy. The price of giving up on ourselves and our world, is living as automatons, with no real joy, no real hopes, no real substance to our lives. If a child gives up on trying to walk and discover its world, it may feel like it has lost any reason to live. If we give up on ourselves -- our personal goals as well as our global ones -- we may end up feeling the same.
Yet, while we still have breath, we can conquer our own habits, and we can help the world to conquer its habits too. The habits of apathy, greed, fear, anger, hate... As we look within ourselves and attend to the business of being the best person we can be, we will serve as "role-models" or "real-models" for the world around us -- for our families, co-workers, and the people whose lives we touch in some way.
As we become a better person, we help others to become better persons too. As we live our "possibilities", then others see what is possible for them as well. The child learning to walk is inspired by seeing those around it walking. As we learn to "walk" through our daily challenges, others gain strength from our example. As we hold on to our hopes, knowing that each setback is part of the process of attaining our goals, we inspire those around us.
Becoming a Better Person
We can change the world, one person at a time... and that person is each one of us... As we look inside and root out the behaviors we find deplorable in the world (anger, hatred, jealousy, revenge), we do our part in changing the world. These past two weeks, I have been so much more aware of the moments of impatience and anger that arise within me... the moments of judgment (whether towards myself or others)... the moments of holding on to grudges.... People have come to mind from the past... those people I have not forgiven, I have not let go of... those memories I have been holding on to that carried anger, hurt, resentment...
As we become more sensitive to the problems we see manifested in the world, we can become more sensitive to how those same issues are reflected in us. Maybe that is the key... as we become better persons, we help raise the consciousness of the world, one person at a time...
Let There Be Peace on Earth, and Let It Begin With Me...
"Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me..." I find that song going through my head very often these past few weeks... Every time I find myself feeling impatient with someone, all of a sudden, I hear inside "Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me..."
Yes, we must act globally, but as individuals we must make sure we take care of "problems at home", within our own psyche, before trying to change the world. As I have seen many times, the more loving we become, the more our world becomes loving. The more patient, understanding, compassionate we become -- the more the world around us reflects the change within.
And yes "Rome wasn't built in a day"... but, that doesn't mean we have to stop going towards our goal. Just because we don't learn to walk, quit smoking, stop being impatient, attain world peace, in one day, does that mean we have to give up? I believe it is possible. We can do it... one choice at a time.
Moral Support For Each Other
Thank you for being there... for being part of my vision for a peaceful and loving world -- starting with peace and love within my heart -- and moving towards peace and love for ALL. Together we can do it... We are all "moral support" for each other... When we have moments of doubt, we can remember that we are not alone... that others also have the same hopes, the same aspirations, the same visions.
There is power in numbers, and our numbers are growing -- exponentially... Hold the vision! Believe that it is possible, even if you don't see how. We can, and we will, heal ourselves and the world... starting with ourselves -- loving ourselves, forgiving ourselves, our lapses, our errors, our transgressions... and moving outwards... We can, we will, we are in this together!
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About The Author
Marie T. Russell is the founder of InnerSelf Magazine (founded 1985). She also produced and hosted a weekly South Florida radio broadcast, Inner Power, from 1992-1995 which focused on themes such as self-esteem, personal growth, and well-being. Her articles focus on transformation and reconnecting with our own inner source of joy and creativity.
Creative Commons 3.0: This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License. Attribute the author: Marie T. Russell, InnerSelf.com. Link back to the article: This article originally appeared on InnerSelf.com