If he was not true to himself, he was nothing, – Gore Vidal, Washington, D.C.
Gore Vidal is quoted fairly regularly here at The Thought for the Day. For our money he is one of our species preeminent men of letters and one of our finest historical novelists. His insights into our human experience – which is what you pay us writers to provide – are unsurpassed.
Today’s Thought seems pretty obvious, but how many of us give a good effort to being true to ourselves?
Everyday there are a hundred little things trying to tear us away from the life we were meant to live: earning a living, demands of family and friends and, in my case right now, a lawn that needs to be mowed. It takes courage and diligence to remain on our path, to follow our heart and trust our instinct.
We talk about that a lot, here, too. What else are we supposed to with our time on this planet? Ignore what we are born to do? We do so at our peril, because our heart will tell us where to go and our instincts will tell us how to get there and to ignore those two things leads to an unsatisfactory life. It’s a life spent well off our path, a life that is not as much use you or to me as it could be.
We have to ask ourselves every day: our we being true to what nature is telling us to do?
And only we can answer that question; nobody can do it for us. If we are true to ourselves we are something. By definition, too, because if we are true to ourselves, if we are living the life we were meant to live, we are being the most use to ourselves and our fellow beings.
If we are not, we are nothing. We are merely marking time on this planet, instead of making our time serve us.
It’s a question we must ask ourselves every morning when we wake up. It’s one of the few questions that really matter, and to answer it with a yes is life’s great prize.