It’s a simple phrase but carries with a much more complicated meaning. My mom’s wife, beth, has proudly spoken these words to me after every single time we talk. These words didn’t mean much to me as a child. Frankly I was too busy knowing everything about everything to soak in such a phrase. But inevitably I grew up and in doing so realized I didn’t know anything. But what I did know was that simple phrase, “Be Good”.
In light of recent events in Orlando, I thought it would be more useful to try and inject some good in the world with this weeks blog rather than try and pitch you our most recent home for sales. I won’t begin to offer up solutions for our fight against terrorism or weigh in on either side of the gun control debate…if you want my thoughts on this you’ll have to treat me to a beer. What I can offer is something I’ve carried around with me for several years now. I can’t remember where I found it but I’m glad I did(If anyone knows who came up with these I’d love to give them credit…and meet them).
To go along with my “Be Good” mantra, reading this list of 17 Universally Admirable Qualities seems to help provide a little guidance in these times when it is most needed.
- The ability to be humble in the most earnest sense. People whose accomplishments don’t come precedented by declarative sentiments of why they are deserving and able, but those who have so honestly worked for what they have and in that work have displayed such intimate parts of themselves that there is no other way to feel but human, not superior.
- Complete selflessness, whether or not the situation calls for it. People will usually provide for those who are desperately and honestly in need, but it’s the people who are selfless in their day-to-day lives, without the expectation that they’ll be praised for their loving hearts, who are most admirable.
- Those who retain awareness of themselves and how they could be perceived in light and in acknowledgement of other people’s feelings, intentions, desires and motives.
- The willingness to learn and the willingness to be wrong. The strength of mind and heart to be open to possibilities that may debunk whatever their sense of peace is resting on. That is evidence of the truest strength a person can have.
- The ability to express genuine happiness for other people without being resentful or bitter. To be able to remove themselves from their own frame of reference and experience the joy someone else is and understand why they want to share it with them, rather than succumb to the knee-jerk reaction that people only live to make them feel bad about themselves.
- Genuine confidence, especially in the face of uncertainty.
- Honesty even when it portrays them in a less than flawless light. People who can be completely upfront about the ways in which they are human, normal, flawed but trying, deceptively deep but honest and hurt but healing are those who understand that what’s greater than proving to others that they’re perfect is bonding with them over the ways that we’re all not.
- Unconditional empathy. Those who throw doubt and inhibition and question to the wind and honestly feel for another person as though they were the ones having the experience.
- Knowing that they don’t know it all, and probably never will.
- A sense of personal style. There’s just something so admirable about people who have their own sense of self that they express outwardly for other people to see and understand. It’s easy to be stylish and attractive in the socially-normative sense. But there’s something endlessly fascinating and compelling about people who are unapologetically themselves, inwardly and outwardly.
- Unforced gratitude; a curated mindset that everything they have is a privilege and blessing. People who are always thankful for things done for them, no matter how small or insignificant, because they realize that there is nothing more off-putting than those who don’t acknowledge what another person went out of their way to do for them.
- Respect for that which they don’t understand.
- Respect for people just because they are also living beings who deserve it innately, regardless of what they’ve chosen, done, believed or said.
- The ability to hold a great conversation, one that does not revolve around berating someone else or complaining about themselves.
- Those who don’t take stock in appearances, not theirs and not other people’s. Too often, upon meeting someone we feel the need, almost the social necessity, to describe them physically and backup their imperfections with but they’re such and such a thing. People who see beneath this don’t do that.
- Admiration, not jealousy, for those who can do that which they are incapable of.
- Understanding, especially in the face of those who act out against them. This is probably the most important one, because most people (myself included) forget that what people do to them and against them has much more to do with that person than themselves. Understanding that is understanding people at a very basic level, a level that is too largely ignored, and such ignorance results in a growing inability to acknowledge one other as anything other than enemies we should be slated against as opposed to fellow humans who are swaths of intentions and motives and defenses we will probably never understand completely.
Be Good everyone.