This time of year makes me consider my values. Lately, I've been thinking about characteristics I admire or don't admire in people. I'm going to make the negative stuff pretty general, so if you see yourself here -- think about that -- and, don't assume that is how I see YOU... maybe your reaction is an indication of how you see yourself.
Admire: people who are passionate and actually DO things to make the world a better place.
Great example... I have a couple of students, who may end up to be close friends -- these people are actively working to improve animal welfare. They go to great trouble and personal expense to help animals who can't help themselves. They don't sit around and complain about the world, they go out there and change things IN the world. She is going to school for a law enforcement degree so that she can be an animal welfare officer. God help the person she finds abusing or neglecting animals... she'll kick their ass.
Don't admire: people who plan to change things later -- when it is convenient. Sometimes I can be that way -- but I want to be more like my animal saving friend.. I should spend more time with her, and less with those who complain but don't act.
Admire: people who are loyal and who are good friends.
Hubby is very loyal. It takes a while for him to bond, but when he does it is permanent. The time is necessary because he's trying to make sure you really ARE worth his trouble. When he makes that decision, he'll think and fight for you to the end.
Don't admire: people who attack on behalf of others, even when it isn't necessary. They are pretty busy looking for offense so they can come to the rescue of the people on their list and perpetuate the us/them dichotomy. I suppose if this makes them happy, they can do it -- but they should realize that blind loyalty is stupid -- and not worthy of time and effort. Keep me off that list...
Admire: people who are honest -- with themselves and others. I have several friends and colleagues who are honest -- and diplomatic at the same time. They can and do tell the complete truth, without hesitation or apology for telling the truth. I can't be friends with people who can't hear me tell the truth. I decided a long time ago that a lie to a friend isn't an acceptable part of my life, and I won't do it. This doesn't mean that I'll go out of my way to hurt people, but I also won't pull punches or apologize after telling them what I think.
People who are honest with themselves are also able to look around and decide that what they are currently doing isn't a good idea and they need to change things -- they do this for themselves and while they consider the impacts on others, they also know themselves well enough to be sure of their decision and not apologize.
My friend DJ is like this. She is a great teacher and has a reputation for being a hard grader. She is only being honest with students when she tells them that she thinks they can write better. God love her, she needs all the support she can get.
Don't admire: People who play games with themselves or others. In most situations, it doesn't matter that some people are being dishonest with me (as long as their lies don't impact my decisions..), it is those who are dishonest with themselves that bother me. Maybe I'm seeing more self-deception than is really there -- but, when it is clear to me, it is bothersome.
Admire: people who set goals and reach them. Those goals may be to make money, do good hair or start a new organization to fix an existing problem. All of these are acceptable goals. As long as they can do so while maintining the other characteristics above, they are good in my book.
The list here is way too long to post, suffice it to say that I know people like this from all sections of my life.
Don't admire: people whose goals are always changing, or who make excuses for not achieving them. Sure, life changes your plans or you realize that isn't your gig -- fine.. but if it is a pattern or habit, think about what you really want.