The real you is already inside you

Five hundred years ago, Michelangelo was going about his business creating some of art’s most enduring images: extraordinary icons, such as his statue of David, on display in the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, and as a full-sized plaster-cast replica in London’s Victoria & Albert Museum (the latter complete with a nearby half-metre-high (ooh-er) plaster fig-leaf, used to cover up David’s nether regions when official visitors of a blushing and nervous disposition came to call).

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When asked how he went about producing sculptures such as his David, Michelangelo suggested, of course, that he didn’t find it that difficult:

‘In every block of marble I see a statue as plain as though it stood before me, shaped and perfect in attitude and action. I have only to hew away the rough walls that imprison the lovely apparition to reveal it to the other eyes as mine see it.’

In his mind, he wasn’t creating something new, just simply releasing what he believed already existed there inside the stone.

Maybe this is a helpful metaphor when it comes to viewing who we are now, and who we want to be? While some may approach this with the view that we could be literally anything we choose, perhaps it’s more helpful to be comfortable with the thought that our ideal form is already there, and simply waits to be revealed?

Be comfortable with who you are, fig leaf or not.

6 thoughts on “The real you is already inside you

  1. Paul mckenna also uses this metaphor to promote self esteem. After many years of trying to please other people it is time to change the rule book and first please myself. Worrying that your boss doesn’t like you can have a big influence on your life….i know. I decided a few months to not fight this but to stop trying to please others and to start behaving like my real self. I’ve never done this at work. The results have been incredible. I am 100 times happier. I’ve also noticed happiness is contagious to those around you. There are still those that glare and hate but that is their problem not mine. Starting to be genuine, doing and saying what I really feel is one of the best things I’ve done, shame it took me so long.

  2. I spent a long time living apart from my father because of my parents splitting up, when I did see him a few times a year, I was kind of on my best behaviour which led to an emotional rift over the years. It took a while (20 years or so) to work out that just relaxing and being myself and not expecting him to be on his best behaviour would allow us to get to know each other better. I am glad I got to know him better before he passed away.

  3. Kathryn…well done on being you, for your sake.
    And you are correct – the glare and hate is someone else’s problem. Keep being happy!

    Me…how wonderful you were you when you needed to be – not expecting too much from your father. I’m sure you were both so glad to have got to know each other. Sorry he is no longer with you.

  4. Lovely post. I’m a student of Buddhism and this fits so much into the philosophy taught there. In each of us there is the “rea”l us. it is not outside ourselves and as soon as we realize that, we can get to work on removing all the outer garbage that distorts our views and ideas, and begin to lead our lives from that pure us within. It can be hard work, but the old “fake it til you make it” can be very helpful.

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