Sometimes we base our self-worth on what we see; what him and her and they perceive to be important. Played against the heartstrings of others, the media is direction to our chorus. Splattered images of what success looks like echoes off the tops of dreams we conjure under the blankets of perception. We reminisce on fantasy like the touched up portraits of celebrities. It is the pride of a man serving seven years in the military. His Purple Heart medallion waves and smiles at passerby’s before he does. We know not what beats inside his chest, just the striking forest green of his uniform. It shines like it does on the TV and in the magazines, and our jaws drop with awe. This is a man who could not have received more awards. Could not have been a better example of an outstanding citizen. But when the uniform comes off, and the glory of sacrifice cripples away into the concrete; when the intoxicating fragrance echoes off the numbing high of a man now staggering to the next corner. When the alcohol melts this Purple Heart against the insides of his soul like skin clung to flesh, what is left of the perception now upon him? What of this hero turned homeless Veteran? Does his value weaken like the washed up fade of an army uniform? Or is he now nothing more than another brother worthy of our disrespect?
Today, I encourage you to upgrade your value. Be not limited to the rotting fabric of tangible things. Be not awed by the signs of achievement and circumstance. Hurry not to praise people only when they have accomplished something society thinks is worthy of your respect. Judge instead the content of a person’s character. Judge their resolve, their kindness, and their warmth. For these, if truly possessed by them, will never rot away.