We last left off on our path of finding our True Selves with Jealousy. This week is about a nobler emotion: Admiration.

Part One: Make a list of people you admire.

My list includes people like Eleanor Roosevelt and Maya Lin, Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King, Jr.

Make your Admire list.

Part Two: Make a list of people you secretly admire.

What’s interesting to me about this second list is that it changes. While my admiration list is fairly constant, my secret admiration list is not. Sometimes, as I’m listing names, I’ll write a name that surprises me.

Names that have shown up on this list over the last twenty years include Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bruce Willis, Brittany Spears, and Lada Gaga.

Make your list. If there is any name you start to write but then hesitate—you wouldn’t want anyone else to see it—that’s a clue the name absolutely belongs on your Secretly Admire list.

Part Three: Formulate one question that you will ask these people.

You don’t need to ask everyone on your lists but it would be good to ask at least five of them—pick the names that ‘pop’ as you look at your lists. Be sure to include at least one name from your Secretly Admire list.

The last time I did this exercise, my question was, “I’m thinking of closing the door on my corporate career. What do you think about that?”

I sat in my big chair and imagined each of these people sitting on my couch, one at a time. I asked my question and wrote what my mind imagined as their response.

Here’s what some of them said:

Brenda Ueland: Oh dear, so much drama and struggle. Just breathe. Breathe and let your mind do what it naturally wants to do. It is much easier to be who you are than to contort yourself to be who you are not.

Grandma Kucera: In our family, lack of finances had serious consequences (my father’s death), but so did fear of lack of finances (your uncle’s birth). Try to take a more moderate approach.

Lada Gaga: (NSFW language warning) Why in hell anyone would want a corporate job is beyond me. Fuck that. You did it for thirty years? That’s a hell of a long time and if your artist is still alive inside you, still pounding on the door to be let out, then that’s a hell of a strong artist. Time to let her the fuck out.

In Lada Gaga’s comments you can see why it’s so important to include someone from your Secretly Admire list. This is the person who will say things to you that you don’t give yourself permission to say to yourself.

It’s your turn. Go!

Chewing the Cud of Good

Snow in the sunlight and shade

The sun. And from living in Minnesota, knowing that the gift of a cold snap is sunshine.

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