Who We Respect

Who is your hero? Who do you really respect? Family, friends, historical figures, celebrities, bloggers… me…

What quality is it about that person that you love? I guess most people I admire, is for their kindness and compassion.

When I think of people I respect, I imagine their qualities as miles beyond my own capacity.  There is no way I can match Audrey’s kindness, or dad’s generosity, or Jessica’s ability to draw someone out.

But this is the thing that I’ve noticed. Our heroes are who we are. The things that we love most about our heroes and try to emulate, are the things that we already are.

I feel very small when I try to imagine myself as extra generous, or kind, or approachable. I may not feel that I have achieved their level, but to an outsider it must be clear.

How can I back this up? Get this: people will compliment others on the things they want to be (and probably don’t realize that they already are). When they genuinely compliment someone, they probably already have that quality in spades. That is how they are able to recognize it in another.

For example, my sister Audrey will mention, with some despair, that she wishes she could be as kind and considerate to everyone as I am. But she always thinks to do the dishes and sweep the floor so our parents don’t have to, she is always the first to notice if someone says something cruel, she is the one that animals love. And she says she admires MY kindness, what a laugh, right?

Jessica has complimented me as being a self-assured, eye-catching woman who doesn’t give a shit. Of course, she is this very thing. She turns heads, she has no problem telling people off if they need it, and she is more empowered by her gender than restricted by it.

Dad always seems impressed at my communication skills, how I can spot a flaw in an argument. He thought I would make a good lawyer. Guess who I’ve never won an argument with.

Of course, there are moments when Audrey gets snippy, or Jessica has a crisis in confidence, or words fail Dad. I also have chinks in what I suppose to be my strengths. Nobody is perfect.

I think, when it comes to our personal values, we have higher standards for our own behavior. I am always trying to watch my tongue, because I have hurt people’s feelings before with unthinking, rough remarks. But maybe I am actually very good at not hurting people’s feelings. Maybe I just have such high standards for myself that when I mess up, I am devastated and feel I should redouble my efforts.

Just food for thought. You might not be as inadequate as you feel.

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