At 37 years old I just came to two realizations. I just realized that there are two kinds of people; the ones who evaluate their living and the ones who don't. The second realization is that I tend to gravitate towards the ones who do. One of the reasons I love Oprah so much (yes, even though she had Michelle Rhee on her show....I'd forgiven her) is because she is the most famous reflective person I know. Who else do you know who is world-famous and has exposed so much about her past; even the bad parts. She is who she is because she has taken control of her own narrative about her life and bared her soul to her public and in doing that she has allowed us all to feel better in our own skin.
My oldest friend, Jenna, is also a self-reflective soul. I can recall spending hours with her talking about life lessons, spirituality and all other aspects of living fully. My general rule of thumb about friendships is you have to show me who you are. I want to see the soft, mushy, even ugly side. Opening up this way allows not only you to be you, but me to be me. In flipping that rule and applying it to myself, I find it incredibly important to be openly self-reflective in my public life. When I feel stupid I admit it, when I feel excited to get visibly giddy, when I feel hurt I get sad. Ripping the separating walls open in ourselves and sharing the stuff we all tend to hide from everyone allows people around us be less harsh to themselves and to allow their own walls to fall too.
I just watched an interview last week with Ricky Martin on Oprah. He came out as gay on the show and Oprah had several gay Latinos come on the show and express how Ricky's coming out allowed them to come out to their families. I was a mess watching this, it was such a powerful message. These people who would have otherwise lived a lie for many more years, yet, suddenly made a decision purely based on this famous person's decision to come out himself. What an incredible gift we give ourselves and others when we allow ourselves to shine from within and to trust that who we are on the inside is valid and important and essential for others to grow. The mere act of purely loving ourselves unfolds into a gift for all the people we touch.
For all these reasons, openly self-reflective people bring me to a higher level, they feed me with soul food and allow me to search further within myself. It's like living at a different, a higher frequency. I am reminded of my mom's age-old words that go something like, "tell me who your friends are and I'll tell you who you are." What do our friends say about who we are and most importantly about where we want to go?