Be Light and Healthy

Heroes

Posted on: May 29, 2011

“What we truly and earnestly aspire to be, that in some sense we are.  The mere aspiration, by changing the frame of the mind, for the moment realizes itself.”  Anna Jameson

Memorial Day is traditionally observed on the last Monday of May in the United States.  For many people it signifies the unofficial start of summer; however, more importantly, it is a day when we pause to remember the many heroes who died serving our nation.  I admire and am grateful for the individuals who serve in the military and are a part of something bigger than themselves.  Without their contributions, this country would not have been created and continued to thrive as an oasis of freedom in the world. 

When asked if we have any heroes, larger than life personalities may immediately come to mind, such as John F. Kennedy inspiring the nation to put a man on the moon by the end of the 1960’s.  Heroes are people who we admire and inspire us, and they come in all shapes and sizes.  Upon further consideration, we may realize that there are many people in our lives who have unassumingly influenced us by sharing their unique gifts.  Anyone can be your hero, even a fictional character. 

I believe that everyone has qualities worth admiring, but sometimes they are deeply hidden.  Though not everyone chooses to serve in the military, there are many other opportunities to share our unique gifts with others enabling us to be a part of something bigger than ourselves.  As the world appears to get smaller in the technological era of social networking, it is more apparent than ever that each of has the capacity to affect the world.  We go through life without realizing the impressions we make on others with our words and actions.  A simple act of kindness or cruelty extended to one person can reverberate to others without us even being aware of it. 

Because human beings have such difficulty seeing both the negative and positive aspects of themselves, the prominent traits we observe in others provide a clue about our own qualities.  When we react strongly to a quality in another, it is often a sign that we recognize the same feature in ourselves and in essence are seeing a glimpse of our true selves.  Contemplating others’ traits that appeal or repel us may lead to a deeper understanding of ourselves.  When I find someone’s actions annoying, I take a moment to pause and consider why their behavior irritates me.  Often, I’m surprised to discover that they are more like me than I care to admit.  Conversely, this is also true of positive traits.   When we think about the people in our lives that we admire, it’s easy to verbalize why we think highly of them.  Different people admire the same person but for different reasons.  When you think of someone you hold in high esteem, what is the outstanding quality that immediately comes to mind?   Could it be the first characteristic that surfaces is one you are attracted to because it is an attribute that you possess?  It’s possible that it is currently latent, but you have the ability to nurture it.  When you see a quality in another that resonates with you, it’s life’s way of helping you see something in yourself. 

Our heroes are not meant to be put up on a pedestal or worshipped.  They are living examples of the potential we all possess.  Though the number of people you consider heroes may be small, there may be many people in your life who have characteristics that you aspire to emulate.  Sometimes the most difficult people in our lives teach us the most valuable lessons and turn out to be unexpected heroes when we pause to consider them holistically.  If you get annoyed with someone who is stubborn, pause and reflect on the positive aspects of that trait.  What at first glance may appear to be stubbornness may truly be a strong commitment to their beliefs.  Maybe you don’t share their viewpoints, but you may admire the person’s authenticity in expressing their opinion.  Or maybe you have trouble expressing your opinions with confidence and deep down wish you were more like them. 

People also unknowingly and subtly influence us by the examples they set as they live their lives.  Prior to losing 100 pounds, I recollect always taking note of people’s healthy lifestyle habits, such as healthy relationships with food and consistent exercise.  Though at the time, I didn’t think I was capable of this type of lifestyle, I always filed the information in the back of my mind.  At the time my mind didn’t believe I was capable of transforming my life, but I believe somewhere deep down in my heart I knew that I had the potential to do it.  When I decided to try incorporating some healthy changes into my life, the examples I had stockpiled in the back of my mind gently floated to the surface inspiring me and helping me cultivate my belief in myself. 

I can also remember occasions where a few words spoken in kindness have greatly influenced me.  I’m sure the people speaking the words had no idea of their impact and were simply sharing a genuine part of themselves and their wisdom.  If we’re open to others’ views, the right words spoken at the right time can heal and introduce us to new ways of thinking.  The power of encouraging words spoken enthusiastically to a child can build self-esteem; whereas, negative words can foster doubt in their abilities.  Words are very powerful, and choosing to speak with compassion and encouragement benefits you, the person you are addressing, and quite possibly, the world. 

I invite you to pause on Memorial Day to remember the heroes who gave their lives so we can live in freedom.  Spending some time reflecting on the people who inspire you and the qualities that resonate with you may reveal a clue to your hidden potential and what you aspire to be.  The simple act of living by example and extending kindness and compassion to others empowers us to give our lives to something bigger than ourselves.  Like a pebble thrown into a lake that creates waves that ripple outward to the entire lake, small acts of kindness reverberate around the planet affecting all of humanity.  In addition, I invite you to forward this blog to your friends and sign up for weekly e-mail updates at www.belightandhealthy.com to get informed and inspired to Be Light and Healthy.  When you sign up, you will receive an e-mail requesting you confirm your subscription.  After you confirm, you will begin receiving weekly updates.

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