A fourth lesson that I have learned from Ranier Maria Rilke is trusting in oneself and in your own growth. Rilke writes “Always trust in yourself and your own feeling, as opposed to argumentation, discussions, or introductions of that sort; if it turns out that you were wrong, then the natural growth of your inner life will eventually guide you to other insights. Allow your judgments their silent, undisturbed development, which, like all progress, must come from deep within and cannot be forced or hastened.”
So often we let doubt, ridicule, judgment, and fear guide decisions that we make. We do this because, like the young poet, we are seeking outside approval for what we do and who we are when we should be looking for that approval from within. We feel that if others validate who we are then we are worthy when in fact the opposite is true. Who you are is not based on how others view you and think of you, it is how your view and think of yourself. If you respect yourself, others will respect you. If you love yourself, others will love you. If you value yourself, others will value you.
We make mistakes, we make bad decisions, we don’t always do the right thing, but those things do not define who we are. What defines us is what we do when we realize we have made a mistake, a bad decision or have done the wrong thing. We are defined by how we treat ourselves and in turn treat others. We are defined by the lessons we learn when we struggle and the help we give others when we succeed. All of these take time, and we have to be patient enough with ourselves to allow ourselves the time to grow and learn. We want to be perfect from the very beginning and that isn’t how life was made to be lived. We, as human beings, are forever changing, evolving, growing and learning. It is the beauty but also the struggle that is life.
Go forth trusting yourself, knowing that you have what it takes to be successful, the willingness to learn from your mistakes, and more importantly to love yourself through it all.