I’ve been reading some of Bruce Lee’s writings lately.  And I came across a passage that I agree wholeheartedly with—and have written quite a bit about myself.  I wanted to share it with you.   By the way, the capitalization in the passage is Mr. Lee’s, not mine:

This is a very decisive point:  MANY PEOPLE DEDICATE THEIR LIVES TO ACTUALIZING A CONCEPT OF WHAT THEY SHOULD BE LIKE, RATHER THAN ACTUALIZING THEMSELVES.  This difference between SELF-ACTUALIZING and SELF-IMAGE ACTUALIZING is very important.  Most people live only for their image.

Where some people have a self, most people have a void, because they are so busy PROJECTING themselves as this or that.  This is again the curse of the ideal.  The curse is that you should not be what you are.  Every external control, even internalized external control—“you should”—interferes with the healthy working of the organism.

. . .  The less confident we are in ourselves, the less we are in touch with ourselves and the world, the more we want to control.


Lee was exactly right.

Are you living your own life, expressing your core SELF?  Or are you essentially creating a fictional character who navigates the world, avoiding anxiety, seeking security and thirsting for approval?  If you’re acting out a role, then you can never BE.  You can never be truly creative.  You can never be truly loving.  You can never be truly spontaneous. You can never be truly happy.  And you can never create from your core and manifest the gifts you deserve to.

How can you rid yourSELF of the script you hold in your hands, from which you read lines that aren’t even words from your heart?  You identify the moments and events and forces and people that coaxed you to pick up the script, in the first place.  You rewind the tape of your existence and remove those undue influences—by recognizing them as “other”—NOT SELF.  You purify your core and become real by identifying that which you carry with you that is fake.  And you put down all that weight.

Now, back to Bruce Lee, because his words are so helpful:

A self-willed man has no other aim other than his own growth.  He values only one thing, the mysterious power in himself which bids him live and helps him grow.  The power can be neither  

preserved nor increased nor deepened by money and power, because money and power are the invention of distrust.  Those who distrust the life-giving force within them, or who have none, are driven to compensate through such substitutes as money.

When a man has confidence in himself, when all he wants in the world is to live out his destiny in freedom and purity, he comes to regard all those vastly overestimated and far too costly possessions as mere accessories, pleasant perhaps to have and make use of, but never essential. 

His only living destiny is the silent, ungainsayable law in his own heart, which comfortable habits make it so hard to obey but which to the self-willed man is destiny and godhead.

I know this path, while the only one that moves truly forward, is also not easy to take.  That’s the reason I brought Pain-2-Power into existence—to help you truly exist.

Dr. Keith Ablow


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