The Psych Central Report

This Above All:
To Thine Own Self Be True

Tomi Inglis
May 2005

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There's a tiny gift box sitting next to you. You don't know where it came from, but you know it's not yours. You see others carrying around a gift box that looks very much like the one sitting next to you. Some are bigger than yours, some are smaller; all varying sizes. You wonder what it is, where they got their gift and wonder who lost or left the gift box that sits next to you.

You notice that everyone that carries a box has a matching smile on their face; big boxes, big smile, small box, small smile but everyone with a box has a smile. You neither have a box nor a smile but you can't pick up the box next to you because it's not yours. It belongs to someone else.

Sometime during your lifetime, someone took your gift away. You were born with it, to be sure, but now it's gone. Someone, somewhere, sometime took something vital to you. It was done with words or acts. It may have been one solitary act or years and years of consistently stripping you of your gift. Maybe it was one or both of your parents, maybe it was a family member or a so-called friend, maybe even a teacher or preacher.

Inside of you somewhere, there is a small voice, a barely perceptible feeling, something that lets you know something is wrong. Something isn't fair. There is something missing that you'd give anything to have.

Coming out of your reverie, you notice that the tiny gift box has been growing just a bit. Someone walks by, puts something in the box and tells you "Take it" with a smile on their face. You just shake your head a bit because the box isn't yours. This happens from time to time but you can't pick up the box to even see what people have been putting in it.

Finally, someone walks up to you, puts something in the box, picks it up and actually hands it to you. "Take it. It's yours." You tell them "I'd sure love to, but it's not mine. Thank you anyway." So the box is put down next to you. You sit in your misery and shame because so many people have these gift boxes except you. You want what other people have. What's wrong with you that you don't have one of these gifts of your own? You must not be good enough, good looking enough, healthy enough, smart enough to have one. But WHY? What's wrong with you? Where did these people get their gift boxes? Who gave them their box? What is it that you have to do to have one of your own? It's simply not fair that you don't have one.

Suddenly your realize that you've been watching people pick up boxes that seemed were just laying around. Some people have even been surprised to find one in their shopping bags or their purses. If you only knew what was in those boxes! If you knew, it would help to satisfy your curiosity, at the very least!

You look at the box that has been sitting next to you all this time. Others have, from time to time, put something in it. You've been told that you can take it. If someone else would only come around and open it so you could at least see what was in it. Then it would surely be yours! Unbelievably, someone sits next to you and scoots the box right up against you. They ask you if you know what's in it. You say "no," because you can't bring yourself to lift your arms and hands to open it. It feels as if something is weighing your hands down. The person encourages you to at least make the effort to lift up your hands, heavy as they seem. In their excitement, the person rips open the wrapping, opens the box for you and tips it in your direction so that you can see into it. What you see is a mirror, a red heart and a rose bud. Again, the box gets held out to you to take. You're afraid. What could those three things mean? Your fear makes you shake your head in refusal and the box is put down next to you again.

Here are the meanings to the objects in the box: The rosebud is "Self-Acceptance." The heart is "Self-Love" and in the mirror you can see your True-Self Reflection. If only you pick up the rosebud and the heart you'll see all the wonderful things that you are and have been from the day you were born; the you that was always meant to be.

Only your hands can reach out and pick it up. It can be put on your lap, but it's not yours until you take it for yourself. You have to reach out and take it if the contents are going to be yours. Everything inside you screams at you to pick it up. You want it more than anything else in this word. That sense of unfairness screams at you to pick it up. That little voice that has told you something is wrong, missing, screams now and tells you to take it. Then Fear whispers in your ear…

What do you do with your Gift? Do you pick it up… or do you leave it? Will you "be true to yourself" and do what you know you need to do… or will you still that voice and allow Fear to control you?


Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 28 Apr 2005
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Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul.
-- Emily Dickinson