"A mensch is a person with whom you would be happy to befriend and associate, because you feel genuine in a mensch's presence - a highly evolved human being. Menschlichkeit (the art of the mensch) has nothing to do with looks, with wealth, with success or with intellect. A mensch exudes a certain magnetism that attracts us, whether or not words or glances are exchanged. A person is a mensch because he simply makes others feel good." (The Art of Being Mensch)
"As you learn to accept and to listen to other people's suffering, while developing as a mensch, you learn to accept yourself as well."
The Joys of Yiddish, defines mensch this way:
"Someone to admire and emulate, someone of noble character. The key to being “a real mensch” is nothing less than character, rectitude, dignity, a sense of what is right, responsible."
This one blew me away! After all these years (I'm a grandmother now!) this guy sought me out to thank me for a kindness I never remembered - but he never forgot. So, I could add "kindness" to my newly found list of qualities I apparently exuded at one time (and strive to still). It meant a lot to me to learn this. How amazing that he would take a moment to make me feel good now with a compliment. It also made me want to show more gratitude for the random acts of kindness shown me.
I'll admit, in high school, nice, kind, and smart would not have jumped out at me as desirable traits. (Weren't those things just expected?). Why couldn't I be considered cute, sexy, or beautiful?
It was also food for thought. After his note I prayed that anyone I might have been inadvertently unkind to or who had witnessed my more heathen side would not have such a good memory. Heaven forbid I ever acted like the snobs he had also observed!
It also made me want to be more kind, nice and smart. Sometimes I think I am. I'm not easily offended but I'm definitely hurt sometimes. I don't give up friendships and relationships easily. As my 8-year old grandson, Josh said, "it makes me cry - not the kind where I throw a fit; just where I get tears in my eyes"
Recently I read some stuff by some relationship expert who said that men aren't looking for nice, smart, nurturing, or sexy - not really. Hmmmm, no wonder I was having trouble in that area. It appears genuine is also something some of my extended family doesn't value in me.
Values... I want to do what is right in every circumstance. But, as humans, we all fall down sometimes. I would emulate Jean Valjean (Les Miserables). I would hope for respect in so doing, but as with Javier, some people hate you for standing up for what you believe and being the best you can be. But, in the morning, I have to look in the mirror so it can't be about what others think of me; only what God thinks of me.
Be who you are. Or in the biblical, translated verbage - "I am I am". This phrase has a lot of meaning in reference to Jesus Christ, but one meaning we use today might imply, "I am genuine" - the Real McCoy.