There are several meanings, as defined by Merriam-Webster, for the word inspiration. In biology it means “the drawing of air into the lungs”. It can also mean “the act of influencing or suggesting opinions”. It is derived from the Latin word inspiratus meaning “to breathe into, inspire”. What do you draw into yourself that inspires you? What do you breathe into the world that will inspire someone else?
A photographer stops to see the scene around them and captures a moment in time. Their work is influenced by what they see. Who are your influences? What does this influence do or say that creates this desire for you to learn from them or to be more like them or to be a better person because of them? When I think of how I have accomplished goals in my own life and made myself proud in so many ways, some key qualities speak to me as absolutely necessary. I have always felt it important to share my own struggles and experiences with others, as well as the hope of getting through difficult times and even going on to thrive and crush goals. In doing this, I have been told that I am an inspiration. However, the real truth is that I get my inspiration from the people to whom I am spreading hope. When I get discouraged, I look to them and know that I will keep going because they need me to keep inspiring them. As I do, and they crush their goals and become better every day, I am fueled by their accomplishments and the hope they give back to me. We are all connected. All of our relationships will be positive or negative. It is up to us to decide whose energy we allow into our lives, but it is also up to us to decide what energy we will give back! There is beauty in this! There is calm in this! There is a constant hope in this! Sharing what we have gone through and allowing others to gather hope from this helps us all to know we are in this together.
I am also inspired by positivity, transparency, a sense of calm, and teamwork. It is important that the places I look for inspiration will embrace one or more of these qualities. It is equally important that I give these qualities back to the world. Let’s begin with positivity. The real truth is that nobody can be positive all of the time, every second of every day. We can, however, see the positive aspects of situations and life in general. We can choose to see what is good. We can choose not to let one negative or tough situation ruin an entire day or week or year. It is okay to get down. We are suppose to get upset at things from time to time. That’s natural. We won’t know what happiness is if we don’t also know sadness. We won’t ever know true calm if we never know anxiety. Feelings should be felt! We choose, however, if we want to stay in the sad, the anxious, the tough situation or if we want to work through to what is still good and wonderful inside of us and with the world!
The next quality I deem critical to being inspirational is transparency. By this, I mean being who you are, being true to yourself, not ever feeling inadequate about your own hopes and dreams, and, especially, being truthful. When you choose to be truthful to others, to stay authentic, you radiate inspiration. You give others a chance to see that this world is beautiful because we are all different! Just as the ocean and the mountain are so different from one another, but still each breathtaking in their own way, you too are unique and gorgeous for being who you are!
When you choose to see your own uniqueness as an inspiration to others, you radiate a sense of calm. When we accept that we have a solid place in this world, that we belong here, that we are all here to inspire, we allow that calm to fill our souls. It helps us find peace in the storms. It helps send calming energy to others that they too need in their lives. It seems that when we see a group of people or catch a conversation on social media, angers leads to more anger, but calm leads to more calm. We can spread our calm until it takes over! The world needs you! The world needs your energy!
As I have said, I believe that we are all connected. We do not live alone in the world, nor will we ever. We leave footprints wherever we travel. We leave energy to those we see each and every day. Thinking of life in terms of working on a team for the good of the whole can change how we live. A team cannot win a game without working together. A team cannot be cohesive if the members of the team are not checking on one another and making sure they are each healthy, happy, and safe. There are so many ways we can show team qualities every day. When we smile at a stranger, we are helping our team. When we open a door for someone, we are helping our team. When we pick up our trash, we are helping our team. When we give a listening ear or a hug to a friend, we are helping our team.
To inspire, to breathe into…what are you allowing yourself to breathe in each day? What you surround yourself with; what you breathe in, will change what you breathe out and send into the world. What changes might you need to make to ensure that you are breathing out positivity, truthfulness, and calm?
Just as the photographer decides what they will choose to capture and share, we too are decision makers. We too can share beauty. We choose what we see, what we take from the world, and what we give. Will we let someone who was nasty to us in the morning ruin the rest of our day? Will we let the rain outside make us see dark clouds or the beauty in the impending rainbow? Will we stop and think about our actions and our words and how they affect every single part of our being? Know that as much as others have inspired you or brought you down, you have also inspired more people than you are aware. No matter what your past effect has been on others, move forward from here.
Will you choose to walk the path that has always been waiting for you and be the inspiration?
Kelly Guay is a local author, widow and mother of four. She lives her life with humor and positivity in the hope that she can spread this outlook along to others. Her first book, "Refuse to Sink" is available on Amazon & also through Stella Maris Yoga (in-studio or our website).
You can find her blog here: https://refusetosink2016.com