Growing up my dad always told me, “You can take a golden nugget from everyone.” A ‘golden nugget’ is a good and admirable quality, characteristic, or habit a person exercises. Whether its a basketball player that always boxes out the moment a shot goes up, a clerk that always smiles and looks the customer in the eye, or a student that studies days in advance for a test, we can find pieces of gold in anyone’s behavior. Also, as humans we can consciously choose to emulate these qualities and expand ourselves. Fortunately, I am incredibly blessed to be surrounded by outstanding people in my friend groups. I look around at these people in awe of their talents, gifts, and selflessness. When you hang around people of such a high caliber, you begin to see aspects of your ideal future self. You recognize how your friend handles her frustrations with her family in a healthy and honest way. You see the fruitful effects of your friend’s rigorous diet and exercise regiment. You notice how your friend makes incredible homemade gifts for everyone on their birthdays. The thing is that we notice something different. This difference is detected particularly because we do not find it in ourselves. We lack the something that the other exemplifies. However, we can choose to adopt those behaviors we lack to become a more well rounded person. This is a skill that I have been trying hard to work on. Learning from others. My pride fights me every step of the way, but luckily I live with two of the best guys I know… and a cat. I’m allergic, but we make it work.
I struggled in the past with roommates because I am quick to point out other’s flaws and continually harp on them in my mind. I always had guy roommates of outstanding character and talents, so this all says more about me than about them. It could be something as minor as leaving a dish in the sink or trash on the kitchen table, but for some odd reason I love to nitpick the faults of others instead of recognizing the good. Probably because if I focus on their bad qualities then I stay above them. I have nothing to learn from them. I am the best. However, if I recognize their good qualities, then I consequentially recognize that there are ways I can learn from them. Pride versus humility. Fantasy versus reality.
This semester I knew if I started to let go of my pride in this particular way and allow myself to enjoy living with others that I can continually learn from, I would begin to taste the freedom of not taking myself too seriously. What a personal struggle (and it continues) but what a gift. The gift of an open disposition towards my roommates and their witness to living life in their unique way. In a way they will never understand, they are helping me grow. They are concretely showing me aspects of my future ideal self. Letting down walls of “my way” and perceiving the beauties of “their ways” allows me to learn and adopt the golden nuggets they possess.