If I am not for me, who will be for me?
role models aspire us. they can shape our lives, our careers, our ambitions, and our destiny. with birth, we encounter our first role models; our mother and father. siblings, as well, can be role models. with time, the role model universe expands to teachers, friends and peers. with entertainment and social media, actors, athletes, musicians, characters and influencers can serve as role models. religious training and participation may offer additional role models.
with this essay, i wish to twist rabbi hillel’s famous quote “if i am not for me, who will be for me?” in a direction perhaps not intended. i contend that being for oneself should include using oneself as a role model.
over time, with experience and religious training, we may be the greatest fund for self-guidance. with our religious training, we gain an understanding how human nature as well as the rules and regulations for proper conduct. with our personal experiences, we know much of our own potential. we have seen our capacity for personal goodness. likewise, we are aware of our own personal deficit. we, in a large part, know how we “tick.” there is a point upon which we possess enough data to be our own role model.
with the personal knowledge of ourselves, we can use it to increase our capacity for goodness. with our knowledge of shortcomings, we can work to limit them. everyday, we can improve upon ourselves to become a better person.
unlike other role models, we know our skeletons, our faults. we will not suffer a cognitive dissonance as when it is revealed that a role model is revealed to be problematic.
thus, everyday, by using ourselves as our role model, we can work on being a better self, we can be our own inspiration to achieve.
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