Become who you are: Credo (#6)

by Daniel Murphy on February 18, 2007

Share Button

The Inner—paints the Outer—
The Brush without the Hand—
Its Picture publishes—precise—
As is the inner Brand.

—Emily Dickinson, #451

Dickinson’s poem reminds us that what we do (“Outer”) arises from what we are (“Inner”). Only people of duplicity appear other than they are. People of integrity strive to match outer and inner.

Fundamental to our inner self is what we hold to be true—our beliefs and our core imperatives for action. While we gain much of the substance of our beliefs and core imperatives for action from our environment and culture (e.g., parents, teachers, coaches, ministers), we have ultimate personal responsibility for directing our actions.

Freedom of personal belief and action defines us as persons. Our capacity to discern, decide, and act distinguishes us from the rest of visible creation.

“I believe . . .”

Belief undergirds our choices and our actions. It is made up of both “I” and “believe.”

“I” am created unique, free, and responsible. I have the capacity to think and to love (or use) others. No one can do what only I can do: discern, decide, act as co-creator of my life.

“Believe” suggests content that I have evaluated and found to be true and worthy of my personal commitment. I believe what makes sense to me. Belief will guide my actions.

“Therefore I will . . . “

“Therefore” shows a connection of logic and determination. I believe these things to be true, therefore I will act accordingly.

My capacity to act freely most precisely defines me as a person. I act as my conscience directs me. I strive to match individual actions with core beliefs and imperatives. This alignment between belief and action continuously challenges me; experiencing this alignment brings a sense of satisfaction, of rightness.

Through a few reflective exercises, a personal credo comes into focus. Like vision, it needs regular review and updating. But, the credo becomes the guiding light, sort of the litmus test of decisions. It summarizes the values that direct my awareness, attitudes, and ultimately acts.

And one key phrase from my credo becomes my mission statement: like a call-out quote from a feature article that someone might write about me. My mission statement guides my role in the world. It might be my “face” towards others. It answers the question: What is my specific purpose in the world?

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: