Inspiration is an important root source of change. If you’re in the market for growth and improvement, it is a fabulous learning instrument. Just being in the proximity of impressive people can inspire you to reach for higher in yourself. It could be a gifted artist or musician who inspires you to pursue your artistic side; it could be an athlete who has achieved a great deal with a handicap, who inspires you to respect your body more and to take better care of it; or it could be someone spiritually gifted, optimistic and generous, who makes you want to develop these qualities in yourself.
However, would that it were so easy and direct to aspire to the inspiring. Unfortunately, our negativity and lack of confidence sometimes take this positive gift from the universe and louse it up. There are three specific mechanisms that come to mind:
If you tend to be a cynic, you will look at impressive people with a suspicious, critical eye, searching for some crack in their façade, proof that all is not what it seems. A cynic doesn’t believe that what is being portrayed is genuine, particularly in the case of the spiritually endowed, those happy and smiling individuals. The motto by which the cynic lives is that nothing is as good as it seems. They’re always on the prowl for some monkey business, waiting to declare, “I was right all along!”
Others feel resentful and jealous of anyone who has found any kind of success. If you are ashamed of your own lack of accomplishments, the last thing you want to do is invest emotional energy in swooning over someone who has what you want. All they do is remind you of your own failures, leaving you seething with frustration and bitterness.
Even if your insecurity doesn’t take you to such extremes, you may simply be intimidated and uncomfortable. If you’ve given up on improving yourself, impressive people may be a reminder of the guilt and embarrassment you live with as a result.
Is it really such a bad thing?
Because cynicism, insecurity, and guilt are difficult to live with, it is far easier to dwell in the midst of mediocrity. As long as your crowd is made up of people who have achieved little, and demand hardly anything from themselves or those around them, they allow you to remain comfortably weak and unimpressive.
They could be your drinking buddies or keep you company with your other distractions and habits. With this kind of support, you can be forever content to aspire to nothing much at all.
Most of the world lives this way, and hardly finds fault with it. It’s called being average.
This particular lifestyle is a routine echoed around the world, where people go to work and come home to their families and TVs or go hang out night after night at the pub with their pals. There’s nothing intrinsically wrong with this; it doesn’t mean that you’re a bad person or frittering your life away. Unquestionably, you may be content and enjoy the love and camaraderie you’ve established. You just aren’t invested in self-improvement.
The value of being inspired is that it gives you an opportunity to get out of a tightly-fixed routine of mediocrity. It gives you an opportunity to taste new challenges and disciplines. There are things you could be doing, ways of being a better person, that you may not even know about yet. It might just be that exercising certain muscles, both physical and spiritual, can bring you a happiness you’ve never known before.
It doesn’t have to be this way
If you choose to become champion of personal growth and spiritual refinement, take the matter of inspiration seriously. If you find you are having negative reactions to genuinely impressive people, work on that. It isn’t a healthy response.
If you opt to do so, you can successfully neutralize your negative response. Just because your initial reaction was critical or suspicious doesn’t mean you are doomed to stay forever with that impression.
The rigidity that comes with stubbornness often prevents you from seeing another point of view. But growth by its nature allows you flexibility and room to shift. Once you come to terms with what is really going on in your head – why you were so turned off – it’s possible to experience a change of heart and let go of your unhealthy original response.
At that point, try to open yourself up to appreciation. Once you let go of your resistance, you will see that impressive people are enjoying the efforts they make and it pleases them to conduct their lives this way. The results speak for themselves.
Eventually, you can even take this as a learning experience and investigate what it took to achieve what they did and how you might follow their lead.