Everyone has admirable qualities. Everyone has something special about themselves, exclusive to themselves – even if they do not think so.
Now, to direct the reference to a rice ball. This post is inspired by a scene from the anime series Fruits Basket. So much inspiration can come from the simplest of things. Even a japanese rice ball (otherwise known as Onigiri).
It’s not always easy, finding the confidence in knowing there are qualities about you, that others can be inspired, or impressed by. It is especially difficult, when you look at those you know – friends, family, acquaintances, mentors – and can so easily see the things they are good at; the things that draw others to them, or inspire an obvious crowd. Then you try to look at yourself, but all you can see is … ordinary, uninspiring, or someone whose talents are all mediocre.
When you can’t see any of your own good qualities, or you do not think you have any worthy of admiration, it’s easy to feel unremarkable in yourself, and jealous of other people. Or perhaps you look at someone who shares in a similar talent as yourself, but who seems far greater and more capable and admired in their gifts than you. It is easy to make comparisons, when you think that what you have is not worth the time or attention or love of others, since it appears to fall so much shorter than the gifts of the other person. Or perhaps you do think your qualities have potential … but how can they possibly compare to those of such-and-such. “The renown for that quality is already given to someone else … They are so much better at it than I am, it’s clear they deserve all the praise. I suppose that means that what I have isn’t really admirable at all …”
But that sort of thinking is wrong, and simply not true!
I will quote a portion of a conversation in the story, Fruits Basket. The discussion happens a few days after an incident at school where the main character, Tohru Honda, has the realisation that one of the reasons why two of her classmates and close friends, Kyo and Yuki Sohma, are so hateful and embittered towards each other, is because they are jealous of certain qualities they see in each other (something neither of them would admit, even under pain of death, lol) It is Kyo who is in the darkened, moping mood, and Tohru tries to cheer him up by word of encouragement, and upon doing so has her own realisation about ones personal qualities and the qualities of others.
Tohru: Wow, Kyo, that’s amazing! The way you make rice balls, you’re really talented! Incredible, I had no idea!
Kyo: Well, when I was training, I had to make all my own meals and stuff. I just make the plain kind, nothing fancy.
Tohru: Even so, I bet if we found someone who devoted their whole life to the art of rice ball making and asked them, they’d still say they admire the way you do it.
Kyo: Where the hell are you gonna find someone like that?! I mean, come on, that’s gotta be the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard. The art of rice ball making… (walks away into the other room)
Tohru: That still doesn’t change the fact that it’s admirable. Why can’t he see that himself? (Tohru follows Kyo into the other room, walking behind him. Staring at his back she gets a sudden inspiration). Maybe the reason that you don’t see it is because it’s stuck to your back. What I mean is: a person’s admirable qualities. They’re just say, a pickled plum on a rice ball.
So all over the world you could have rice balls made with all sorts of wonderful ingredients, all different flavours and shapes and colours, but since it’s stuck in the middle of everyone’s back, someone could have a plum and not even know it. They’d look at themselves and say, “I’m so plain, nothing but white rice,” even though that isn’t true, because turn them around and sure enough, there it is … there’s the plum.
So if someone is jealous of somebody elses then it’s probably because it’s easier to see the plum on someone elses back than your own. Yep, I can see it, I can see it very clearly. Kyo, you don’t know it but you have a great big plum on your back. Yuki is admirable in his way, and you’re admirable in yours.
Kyo ends up rebuffing her explanation by way of sarcasm, but then quickly realises what she was trying to do for him and he comes back around with a small, coy compliment of his own (saying that she has a plum too “although it’s tiny, like a baby plum” – he’s not the type to know how to express his feelings properly and is very quick to compress any sort of deepness as a means of emotional self-defense).
But, I am sure you all understand the depth of meaning behind the slightly comical illustration. For anyone, and everyone, the struggle is universal. Trying to find and believe in yourself and what you have as unique to offer to the world, whilst fighting to keep from comparing yourself to others and the qualities that they have.
All of us have admirable qualities. All of us have something unique to grow and share. A thousand singers can stand in a row and claim the same talent, but every single one of those had a different perspective, a different tone, a different approach, and a different sound. No one can replace the exactness that is in you. The qualities that you have, as an individual, are rare and special. No two rice balls are exactly the same – and yet they all have flavours and colours and shapes of their own.
Embrace your good qualities. Seek them out. Determine to nurture them. Encourage others in their own. Your world and everyone within its influence will be enriched and enhanced if you do so. You can deny it all you want, or turn a blind eye to the possibility, but when it all comes down to it, it’s true – you’re a rice ball too!
i love this conversation… i think fruits basket is really great with giving readers bits of wisdom such as this one… love the way Kyo said he can see the filling in Tohru’s onigiri too.. ^^