Marcus Aurelius opens his Meditations by reflecting on the qualities he admires in others. It’s a Stoic technique for understanding your core values and cultivating behavior that will help you become the kind of person you aspire to be.

I wanted to share this with you because I think this simple exercise in positivity can compensate for at least some of the negativity in our lives right now.

In My Father…

In my father, I admire his thoughtfulness and regard for the situation other people are in. The way he seeks ways to remove himself from the equation during problematic situations. And his eye for details and nuance.

In My Mother…

In my mother, I admire her unbound joy of living and her capacity for positive emotion. How she is the kind of a person that helps others before helping herself, and at the same time, the kind that would be able to sell sand on the desert at a high-profit margin. How she can drive a hard bargain with never-fading charm. I admire her simple strength of character, her self-acceptance, and the ability to stand up for herself unapologetically.

In My Wife…

In my wife, I admire the resilience of her character. How she’s been dealing with a serious illness for years without complaint, but instead with calm acceptance. I admire how her positive spirit and outlook on life has never waned, even when faced with the kind of hardship that no person should be subject to. How she has never lost her cheerful manner, and desire for adventure, and manages to find a bright side to any situation. Watching her is a lesson in how to be alive, and not merely live, letting the days go by.

In Michael F…

In Michael, I admire his ability not to treat anything too seriously, and how unafraid he is to share his unique perspective on life and people without apology.

In Andy…

In Andy, I admire his ability to help others solve any problem by merely asking good questions, so that people think they solved it themselves. How little he assumes, but instead how much he tries to understand. How he leaves space for people to open up and be themselves without the fear of judgment, and how this brings out the best in them. How he knows when to talk and when to listen.

In Michael H… 

In Michael, I admire his limitless reservoir of praise that he is not afraid to offer to those around him, giving them a reason to strive to be better people. 

In Patryk…

In Patryk, I admire his dedication to his loved ones, friends as well as family. His energetic nature and being able to make people laugh in any circumstances. How he does all that, sometimes, at his own expense, as someone who is truly unafraid of judgment. His bravery in showing affection, unconstrained by social norms, and his willingness to challenge any and all assumptions.

In Mikołaj…

In Mikołaj, I admire his self-mastery without self-control. How he reigned in his nature and his habits to serve him, rather than being a slave to his desires and vices like the rest of us. His intelligence, insight, and reason that he can apply to problems both big and small. His nonjudgmental nature that makes his company so easy and positive.

In Erynn…

In Erynn, I admire her dedication to mastery. Her energy of youth that she managed to preserve, and keep out of harm’s way, so it never dulled. How one moment she will be pouring her heart and soul into her writing, and the other looking at what she did with the cold detachment of a surgeon, removing what shouldn’t be there and stitching up the rest. Her lack of attachment to her work. 

What Do You Admire?

Go on, try reflecting on what you admire in others. And make sure to share it. With them, if you’re brave enough. It might make their day.

And, if you’re shy, start by responding to the newsletter, or leaving a comment down below. 

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