The Most Admirable Qualities

The most admirable quality of a man is his self control.

The most admirable quality of a woman is her honesty.

Men and women are different from each other, so I’m going to judge them differently.  In each there are a number of traits such as friendliness, leadership capabilities, charity, and protectiveness, some which may be more dominant than others.  However, because of the respective natures of men and women, I believe self control and honesty are the most important traits for each.

First the men.  I believe that men are generally less sensitive to others than women are.  They tend to make jokes in jest and roughhouse with each other a lot.  As the oldest of three boys, I know that we tend to bash each other vocally and physically, usually without trying to seriously injure each other, but with the knowledge that we won’t take each other seriously.  With this mentality, we run into problems when we enter the real world, where there are girls.

This may have to do with the fact that I didn’t have a sister until I was 9, but I really didn’t know how to get along with girls as a young teenager.  Being a shy introvert didn’t help either.  Over the last year at BYU I’ve really made up for a lot of that time by being good friends with girls on campus.  Yet another reason why I’m so glad I came to school here instead of somewhere else – you can make mistakes and be socially retarded and people will still love and respect you.  They’ll patiently teach you to be better.  I can honestly say I’ve learned more about how to treat other people, especially girls, in the past year than I have in the entire rest of my life.

A lot of that treatment involves self control.  Now, as far as physical actions go, I think I have that decently mastered.  I’m not a very physical person, so it’s going to be very unlikely for me to injure or advance on someone simply because it goes against my natural tendencies.  Even if I was incredibly angry.  Come to think of it, I don’t even remember the last time I was truly angry.  Just frustrated.  The difference I see there is that anger blames other people and involves hate, while frustration blames yourself or inanimate objects and involves exasperation.  I do think I can cope with either reasonably well.  I let out my emotions by making jokes, doing some form of exercise, or by improvising on the piano, so I can remain in control of my actions.  I find that self mastery generally gets easier as you grow older.

As far as words go, because I am not a very apt conversationalist (which may or may not have to do with the fact that I don’t talk as much in large groups of people), I say stupid things all the time.  Even though I often worry myself about thinking before I speak, sometimes I can’t think fast enough to keep up with the conversation and compromise by talking first.  This works to my advantage when I make a perfectly timed joke, but goes against me when I say something awkward or hurtful.

I often say exactly what I think, but sometimes without actually thinking first.  Doing this has gotten me into trouble on more than one occasion.  Luckily it has always been with people who understand, or with girls who protect me from people who don’t understand with their feminine charm.

Alright, enough about my personal struggles in living up to my own expectation, it’s time to answer why I think this applies to all men, and not just me.

I can honestly say that a majority of the escalation of problems in the world are a result of men losing control of themselves.  They let their emotions and lusts rule them instead of thinking out their decisions.  This leads to them making rash choices in the face of problems, which creates further conflict and provokes retaliation.  The end result is the expanse of wars, tyrannies, and crimes which have been observed and recorded over the course of history.  Most of the time I find it is men who are at the lead.  I’m not saying this to belittle the amount of influence women have on the world or blame men for all of the world’s problems, but rather to bring to light the fact that if men had better self control, a lot of this probably wouldn’t happen.

Because of this, the men I respect and admire the most are the ones who have the most self control.

From a religious perspective, the greatest person who ever lived was so largely because of His self control.  While living on Earth, Jesus was perfect in His following all of the laws and commandments as well as in His treatment of other people.  He did not resist His suffering, poor treatment by enemies and captors, or even His crucifixion, not because He didn’t have the capability, but because He chose not to.  If every man had that self control, or even anything close, the world would be a much safer and happier place.

Now the women.  I find that most of the time the women in the world don’t need to tone down their excessive violence or domination of other people.  Yes, there are cases in which they do, but these cases are not nearly so numerous as those involving men.  Instead, I ask that they tell me the truth.

I think generally women have less flaws in their personalities than men.  They are naturally kinder, more helpful, and more presentable than the opposite gender.  Of course, I may have this perception simply because I have lived in close quarters with boys more than I have with girls and have therefore experienced more fully the extent of their imperfections.  

Despite the fact that women may have less room for improvement in personality than men, they still aren’t perfect.  There are many qualities which they could add to.  However, if I could choose but one trait in magnify in all women, that trait would be honesty.

Included with honesty in answering questions truthfully (or choosing not to answer, either is better than being misleading) is the will to talk about difficult things spontaneously.  It really pains me when something is annoying or hurting a girl, especially if I’m the one responsible, and she refuses to talk about it if the person at fault is unaware.  No, we don’t want to hear it in the moment, but ultimately it will do both of us good.  I promise.

The main reason I ask for this honesty is because I’m not very perceptive.  I’ve lived a rather sheltered life and don’t have as much experience with other people (especially girls) as others may have.  Because I don’t have the wisdom to pick up on how people feel or how I should act, I need people to tell me.  Girls especially.  Boys I can empathize with more, seeing as I am one, but it is much more difficult to know how to act around girls.  If they tell me explicitly what I should do and say, rather than wait for me to figure it out (or not) I will be much more likely to act better around them, simply because I know how I should act.

I have a lot more respect for girls that tell me the truth, even when they let me down by doing so.  I would rather have someone disappoint me honestly than misguide me into being happier only for me to discover later that it was all a fabrication.  This implies that they don’t trust me enough to be told the truth, even if the purpose of the lie was to make me happier.

The classic example of this the DTR talk.  Some girls may think that making excuses to dodge the truth of them not liking the boy involved is a good route to go.  They may also say only some of the truth with phrases like “It wouldn’t work out.”  Honestly, if you’re not interested, tell him directly.  Yes it hurts, but it’s good for him.  It prevents him from missing the point and it helps him to get out of the post-DTR denial phase a lot faster.

I know this by experience.  I know the pain associated with someone telling you no.  But I gain so much respect for girls who can talk to me honestly about our relationships.

I understand that boys may do many of the exact same things I just mentioned that girls do.  They can improve in these aspects as well; I only value honesty in women more than I do in men because there are more times in which the honesty of women affects me.  I can get over the fact that my roommates might be stealing my food a lot more easily than I’d be able to get over a girl creating false hope in a relationship that leads to my eventual shame or disappointment.

Because of this, the women I respect and admire the most are the ones who are the most honest.

Understandably, there are times when it is good to lie, and I respect the judgment of others in identifying these times.  However, I hope that for the most part, people can be more honest in their dealings with others.  Speaking with honesty conveys a feeling of trust toward those who have truth shared to them.  The honest are highly respected for this trust.

I am one person, so as usual, the thoughts on this blog reflect only one perception.  I am constantly learning.  My opinions are constantly evolving.  If you have similar or conflicting views, please share them.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on the matter.

–Brandon

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