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The Love Challenge - Love for the strong and special people who lift us up by example

Now that's a love that has become quite rare nowadays, where everything seems to be about cutting people down to size, and jealousy has become something to be celebrated, not something to be ashamed of, but I think we may be really missing a great gift here.

I have, like everyone else, felt the need lately to point out my accomplishments, as society relegate us to the dirt beneath the floor if we don't stand up for ourselves and point out that we have actually done something useful or important, which doesn't just affect the way we are treated but our potential income. The temptation is not just to defend ourselves and point to our accomplishments and how they compare to others, but to also minimize someone else's accomplishments, to be able to compete in an ever uglier rat race.

However, I also remember a time when it wasn't this way - when I didn't have to point out that I was good at something because it was readily admitted and I was praised for it, and in turns I would easily feel able to praise and admire others, and not only that, I was inspired by those that were better than me. They didn't make me feel bad, they showed me what's possible, gave me a vision for the future, gave me useful tools. Watching them created joy, and excitement, and a sense of adventure for my own future, and tearing them down would have just damaged my own vision - there was no point in it. You build up your heroes, not tear them down, otherwise, what is there to hope for?

And the heroes were kind, and took me under their wing, and helped me up, they did not see me as a threat and tried to keep me down. There was nothing better than a sparing match with one of the trainers or older boys in Badminton, because there was no shame in losing, but playing with them raised my game and produced exchanges that I could never had with someone on my level. The same applied to playing football or volleyball with the older boys, or later playing tennis with the leader of the men's team, who was my then-boy-friend's mate. It was exciting, and I learned something every time, and if I got a ball in past them occasionally, what a thrill!! I had no chance in hell ever winning, and oftentimes they kindly took balls that were clearly out, or played a soft ball that I could recover, but still, it was such excitement to try and get to their level just for a second!

There are still a few heroes left who genuinely want to raise us up, instead of just pretending to, to make a profit, people who by their very presence raise our standards and make us want to become better people. I sometimes see people trying to take them down, as if tearing them down would make the attacker a more important person. What an illusion. Dimming someone else's light doesn't make our own light brighter, it just makes the whole room go darker - for everyone - and we miss the opportunity to combine our light with theirs and share a bigger light for a while.

Respect has become a somewhat abused word, which is often used to over-exaggerate one's own significance and cement one's power, but when used in an old, beneficial sense, it is little less than the love for someone who lifts us up. And as with all love, if we withhold it, we hurt ourselves, because we don't feel it, but if we give it freely, then we may enjoy the feeling of this love ourselves.

I still love to admire my heroes, and what a thrill when they occasionally allow me to play!

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