As I watched episode upon episode of Oprah’s Where Are They Now, one particular moment in the episode pulled me up short. Oprah replayed a moment during her show where a young French Canadian named Bernard LeChance had the opportunity to sing on her show.
Now this in and of itself was not that remarkable; y’all know how Madame Winfrey has the blessings of God flowing through her and she seems to LIVE to bestow the blessing on others. No, it wasn’t this young man (named LeChance) getting the chance to share his gifts through Oprah’s show–it was the follow up that slayed me.
In his interview for “Where Are They Now”, Bernard recalled watching one of Oprah’s life classes where she said something like this: “We all share one desire–to be validated. We all want to know that you see me; you hear me.”
As she spoke those words, I felt the tears burst forth even as I chided myself for being so soft. How many times had I said this to myself in frustration–Does anybody truly see me? Does anybody hear what I am truly trying to say? Do I really matter–or is it just what I do and how well I do it that people care about?
And just as strongly and swiftly as those tears sat shining in my eyes, the response resonated in my spirit: But you don’t need anybody to validate you. Validate yourself.
Every new year brings a thousand empty promises in the form of fruitless resolutions designed to be broken once the high of New Year’s Eve champagne and crystal balls fade into the reality of day-to-day living. The weight we fight with such fervor will win after the third week with no carbs, sugar or fats. The yoga mat will be rolled back up and placed in the closet. The house will remain half painted and the shelves half built. Not because these aren’t worthy projects and ventures–we will fail because our reason for beginning them in the first place is for validation from others rather than manifestation of our truest being.
Do you know what manifestation means? It means “appearance” and “emergence” and “actualization”. That’s a mouthful of holiness and conviction. That’s living life to the fullest. That’s being all of who you are at every second, even as you evolve into something greater, into the blessing instead of being the one that’s always needing to be blessed.
And it’s a sad revelation because even as we weep and gnash our teeth in protest against the purposeless and mundane lives in which we toil, we shrink away from the truth found in chasing down our dreams…we take two steps back from the Oprah Winfreys and Bill Gates and Stephen Jobs of this world as anomalies because…
No One Really Wants To Walk Down That Lonesome Road.
No one–not one–of us wants to do it alone: yet that is precisely the way that it must be done.
No one can co-write your life story. No one can lay half-claim to your success. No one can share the cost of the glory that comes from fulfilling your purpose. And no matter how many friends you have, no matter how deep the support of your family, no matter who is on your team, until you are willing to walk down that lonesome road all by yourself, you will spend your days on the earth seeking the empty, short lived thrill of validation…rather than experiencing the beautiful never ending metamorphosis of validating yourself.
Will you go into another year making false promises to yourself–or will you take the challenge to become the “you” that you were born to be?
I dusted off my hiking boots this past year. And I started walking…