There’s a scene in As Good As It Gets where Melvin Udall, Jack Nicholson’s character, is sitting across a restaurant table from Carol Connelly, Helen Hunt’s character, and he says “You make me want to be a better man.” It stops her in her tracks and makes me cry every time. The reason being, Melvin Udall is a total prick through the entire movie. He is arrogant and selfish, and yet, there is still something in him that we’re rooting for. There is still something in him that allows us to like him. There is still something in him that we see in ourselves.
Life isn’t about grand sweeping gestures that bring clearer understanding or a deeper awareness in our lives. It’s about paying attention to the people and the moments that happen every day. The instances that we allow to pass us by as we wait for the more momentous occasion to shake us up or the once-in-a-lifetime miracle to happen, are the opportunities that allow us to feel and be better.
Having our antennae raised to become a better person doesn’t mean that we believe we aren’t good enough or unworthy. It’s not about self-pitying or self-loathing. It’s about having the clarity and courage to realize that we are good enough and are worthy enough. It’s our freaking birthright!
We all need someone in our life who reminds us of this and makes us want to be better. Who makes us want to make better choices. Who makes us want to do better deeds. Who makes us want to look within ourselves and see that we have goodness in us and we need to let it out. The majority of us stick to our goals, trek through the storms and celebrate our accomplishments knowing that what we’re doing is for someone else’s benefit, as well as our own. Why? It just plain feels good.
Who makes you want to be a better person? See them clearly in your mind, thank them if you have the chance (or the nerve) and go be it. It’s whoever is in your life and motivates you to see the best in yourself and become it. Your mom? Your best friend? Your grandpa? Your son? Your partner? Your clients? Your neighbor?
As we enter into the holiday chaos, it’s helpful to keep this person in our mind’s eye as an anchor to remind us of the good in ourselves. What happens? We shine brighter, love deeper and laugh easier.
So, thank YOU for making this bold move because, in the end, it helps us all.
“It is better to light a candle than curse the darkness.” – Eleanor Roosevelt