What is a role model? Seriously I’m not really sure what it in entails. I know there have been women that have influenced me in many ways. Am I supposed to be like them, or like myself? Or is it that what’s so special about them is this, I appreciate them because they want to help me become more of myself? Or both? Meaning that I also admire them and do want to be like them, to own some of their character traits, their qualities and the ways they are in the world.
A role model has to be someone that is not distant from me, not someone I watch on TV or read about in the paper. It is someone I have a personal experience with and who personally inspires me to be a better person, as they strive to do the same.
Her value system is something I definitely want to relate to, to strive for and clarify in my own self. Does she have to be perfect, must I like everything about her? Not today but years ago I may have preferred that, I may have needed that.
That is not reality, that is not something I look for now. I look for imperfection and how a person handles that. How do they communicate in situations where they are challenged with me and others? I also appreciate openness and flexibility,
These are qualities for which I strive. Among these qualities there is one that stands out that I have not mentioned. That quality is compassion, the capacity to have deep compassion and care in a gentle kind of way. Without this there is no role model, no possibility.
I have found this over many years in many women, but in one person in particular that I would call a friend. And I have also found this in someone that is my therapist at present.
Maybe one day I can be a role model for someone, maybe I already am. I’m sure I am. We all influence each other, which leads me to think about the Hebrew word for influence, hashpa-ah.
The shoresh or root of this word is shefa, which means to flow upon or shower, possibly with love, with abundance. Someone who is an influencer is called a Mashpia, and those under the influence is found in the word l’hashpoah. In a holy context this would refer to someone who offers a flow of good intent, to help bring ideas into action in a spiritual framework, a benevolent presence in one’s life proactively moving towards the good.
It sounds good to me. May we all find those people that we wish to be under the influence of, for good. And may those who seek us out as role models find all they so need and desire.
Read more by Hinda Blum.