Below, I have copied the dictionary.com definition for inspire. It contains many variations on a single theme: to inspire is to put spirit/breath into someone or something. It is close to metaphors like "putting the wind in your sails." Breathing into someone inspires them - it gives them the most immediate stuff of life so that oxygen will circulate throughout their body, nurturing and maintaining their cells and giving them the capacity for action.
The length of the list of definitions suggests that most of us could use a little inspiration now and then. While we usually have air to breathe, often it feels like that air lacks the spirit that maintains and motivates us. We need someone else to add to our oxygen supply so that we can find our optimal state. You need inspiration and so do the people around you. You cannot inspire yourself (just imagine trying to add to your breath without breathing and you'll know why this doesn't work) but you can seek out people who will inspire you - and you can inspire other people.
Read through the list. Then pick one or two definitions that are really important to you. Take a deep breath as you reread those, allowing your mind to fill with memories of time you were inspired in that way. Then every time you need the wind in your sails today, you can take a deep breath - and be inspired.
Dictionary.com Unabridged (v 1.0.1) - Cite This Source new!
in?spire? [in-spahyuhr] Pronunciation Key - Show IPA Pronunciation verb, -spired, -spir?ing.
Â–verb (used with object)
1. to fill with an animating, quickening, or exalting influence: His courage inspired his followers.
2. to produce or arouse (a feeling, thought, etc.): to inspire confidence in others.
3. to fill or affect with a specified feeling, thought, etc.: to inspire a person with distrust.
4. to influence or impel: Competition inspired her to greater efforts.
5. to animate, as an influence, feeling, thought, or the like, does: They were inspired by a belief in a better future.
6. to communicate or suggest by a divine or supernatural influence: writings inspired by God.
7. to guide or control by divine influence.
8. to prompt or instigate (utterances, acts, etc.) by influence, without avowal of responsibility.
9. to give rise to, bring about, cause, etc.: a philosophy that inspired a revolution.
10. to take (air, gases, etc.) into the lungs in breathing; inhale.
a. to infuse (breath, life, etc.) by breathing (usually fol. by into).
b. to breathe into or upon.
Â–verb (used without object)
12. to give inspiration.
13. to inhale.
[Origin: 1300Â–50; ME inspiren < L insp?r?re to breathe upon or into, equiv. to in- in-2 + sp?r?re to breathe]