I was asked today to name someone I admire. And I responded with the first thing that popped into my head: “Me.”

It came out without any filter or thought, from the deepest part of my gut. I certainly wasn’t raised to think this way 😱

After I said it, I was taken aback. Immediately a little embarrassed at the words that came out of my mouth and feeling the need to retract the statement so I wouldn’t sound stuck-up or full of myself.

But I didn’t. I didn’t back track. I didn’t talk around it. I just went with it. Because here’s the thing — it’s impossible for me to truly know or wrap my brain around what another human has overcome to be where they are. Admiration of another is a judgment made while from the outside looking in, only seeing part of the story.

But I know where I came from, every detail of an entire lifetime of failures and success, struggles and joy. And I know what it’s taken to get where I am now.

It’s true — I admire my tenacity, my strength, my resilience, my courage, my drive, my compassionate heart, my steadiness in the face of chaos, my adaptability, and my desire to find meaning in everything.

You will never have a clearer picture of any person or life as you do of your own. I promise you that if you look for reasons to admire yourself, you will find them. And, in doing so, you give others around you permission to find their own self-admiration.

But if you think you aren’t worthy of admiration, then that is what you reflect out. In order to create a world of admirable people, you have to start with the person closest to you … yourself.

Photo credit: Giselle Williams @photography_by_giselle

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