I am currently reading Harriet Reisen’s biography of Louisa May Alcott. I was given the book by my aunt and I am greatly enjoying it and learning a lot. I am also remembering how much I enjoyed Little Women, Little Men, and Jo’s Boys when I was younger. I am named after Beth. (She dies you know, which devastated me when I read that part at the age of twelve. Thankfully I survived past the age of fifteen despite the fate of my namesake.)
Anyway, her parents were idealists and the part that I want to ruminate about today is something that the author mentions had an effect on Louisa – falling short of who you should be. I am taken with this concept. I’m not sure which thought thread to follow first.
Who decides who you should be? What criteria do they apply if it is someone other than yourself, such as your parents? What criteria should you apply to decide for yourself who you should be? Who is to decide if you are falling short of this ideal of who you should be? How long should it take to get to who you should be? Maybe you are just still on your way to this end point.
From an ethical standpoint, I do agree that there are aspects of self that you should be. You decide what this ideal ethical self is like, where your ethical barriers lie. And life is all about falling short of this ideal of who you should be, in small moments and less than ideal circumstances, and then striving even harder to be it.
What do you think? Are you intrigued by this notion of falling short of who you should be?
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