Much of my life has been spent in the endeavor of bettering myself.
I have read and implemented, however temporary and incomplete, innumerable self-help books on many topics. I have made lists, and plans, throwing myself into everything from those elementary school years of memorizing encyclopedia facts, reading the dictionary and giving myself a “word for the day” to following organizational methods and pop psychology solutions.
Let’s add to that the diet and health, relationship and spiritual improvements made mandatory by the appearance of defects that can no longer be denied or swept aside.
A recent meeting with old friends brought another way we better ourselves. It is perhaps a more organic way, but certainly it is one that has quicker ignition and spurs us to put that inspiration to work.
The influence of better individuals on our lives.
Some of those qualities are those who are kinder, those more accomplished, those with sharp intellects, or depth of thinking. Some qualities are those of practiced and gracious service to others, characteristics of perseverance or diligence, dependability and loyalty, mental and emotional flexibility. The list is a myriad as human beings themselves.
As we rub shoulders with individuals or groups of people with these characteristics, the skills and motivations rub off on us… or at the very least, the desire and vision to rise to a higher bar.
We are spurred and sparked. We become better.
This isn’t to say that there are “classes of people”, although I think we often have the perversity of mind to think so. It is the appreciation of what other individuals have to offer us in light of their unique qualities, and a reflection on what we contribute to those around us.
My level of thinking is raised by conversations, reading, hearing whatsoever is of value. It reminds me of the focus of this blog:
Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true,
whatsoever things are honest,
whatsoever things are just,
whatsoever things are pure,
whatsoever things are lovely,
whatsoever things are of good report;
if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
One place I believe we find these things is in the friendship and relationship to those around us that exhibit the better qualities we wish to have.
Connection is that most basic of human needs, but we have a wide variety of ways and people to whom we connect.
I believe, now, that there are two ways to connect in ways that we can better each other. One is in finding those individuals that bring out the best in us, and that tends towards an exclusiveness in our relationships. The other is in finding the best in each person we encounter. That inclusive factor is not the more superior way, but it will certainly be the more common of our experience.
I do think there are times we need to steep ourselves in positive relationships and atmospheres. Times when we creatively brainstorm with those who engage with us creatively. Times when a peaceful and supportive atmosphere is necessary.
But whatever the need of the moment may be, it is my thought that we should most highly prize those whom we have found to be an inspiration and encouragement to us to better our lives, our selves.
Cherish those in your life, appreciate their contributions … especially when they have helped you to become a better person.
Whom have you found, and why do you think knowing them makes you a better person for it?