I think there is a type of person everyone should be friends with. I think this friend should be adventurous, virtuous and above all very, very blunt. This friend would be easily delighted but difficult to content. This is the friend everyone should have because this friend will push you to be better than you are.
This friend would tell you that you are a worm and not a worm. You are a being wholly endowed with dignity, capable of beautiful creations and loved beyond all measure. But you are also riddled with imperfections, vices and the basest inclinations. As humans we are double-sided; we have this power to love those around us or shun and ostracize them, and we are often inclined to do the latter.
To be a worm and not a worm. It is a paradoxical concept. We should not necessarily view ourselves as worms; however, we should also be aware of our faults. I think there is a tendency to brush away our vices. To say we are only human, and no one is perfect. These statements are true; however, they express the attitude that we should be satisfied with our faults and be comforted that everyone we meet is equally imperfect in their own way. I would ask, however, why we should not strive for the unattainable? What do we gain by wiggling into the road or turning back the way we have come? We claim that striving for perfection will leave us dissatisfied and unhappy because we can never make it to the end. But does earnestly pursuing goodness ever leave us worse off? No, we will never reach perfection, but who will we meet along the way? How will we grow? How will our striving towards goodness and truth affect those around us?
I am not a humble person. I desire praise to the extent that, though it’s humiliating to admit, I get envious when people are chosen over me. When my peers are set apart from the class with our teacher’s compliments. I crave praise. Like Smaug under the mountain, I sleep with my gold. I keep the treasure that falls from people’s lips, or I steal away into the murky lake to fish it out of them. Compliments and affirmations take up space within my heart. This is a vice of mine. How easy it would be to say that I am only human and that I cannot be blamed for wanting to be recognized. But where do I turn when this seemingly innocent desire is so strong that I am gripped with pain when it is not satisfied? Yet if I were to pursue humility, even to seek perfect humility, my pain may be replaced with levity and true joy at the success of others.
It is right to be proud of yourself when you succeed. Be gladdened by your victories but watch that that pride does not come to stop you from appreciating when others succeed, even if their success outshines your own. It is said that one should shoot for the moon that they might fall among the stars, for if they shoot for the stars, they may only reach the hill tops.