I see her sit down at the table
Her bag drops with muffled thump
She reaches for her favorite fable
The bookmark shows she’s almost done
Her hair shimmers as it flows
Her fingers tuck it behind her ear
Her shoulder bare with tilted clothes
She wears it without fear
She pulls one leg beneath the other
Comfort over propriety
She stifles a laugh, her mouth covered
Lost in what she reads
She turns the page and shuts her eyes
To think upon the story
At her own pace, she starts to rise
And makes her way right towards me
My heart stops, my stomach drops
My guilt and shame like sudden death
She smiles at me, greets, and nods
With my name in the same breath!


Being awestruck is not a bad thing, it’s a spectacular thing.

Something done by someone has captivated you in such a way that you are forced to take the time and reflect on what just happened. Your reaction is so foreign to you that it has opened a new depth to your emotion. Your conclusions about what was possible are called into question. We all love to have our mind blown.

Furthermore, nothing quite measures up to the feeling that occurs when the subject of your awe actually recognizes you. This individual that has rocked your foundation, that seemed untouchable, has circled back and acknowledged your presence. Nothing else seems to matter in that moment. Whatever might have been eating away at you is overtaken by a feeling of euphoria that brings you happiness, confidence, and positivity. The source of awe could have come from infatuation, inspiration, devotion, or maybe just immense respect, but the underlying result is the same.

As amazing as it is, don’t let it paralyze you. Don’t let it be so overwhelming that it prevents your own discovery of how to reach their height. Don’t let it lead you to dehumanize the subject of your awe. You will find that no matter how monumental the deeds, no matter how devout your feelings, they are still human. How are they to know you have been awestruck by them? Most likely, they look at themselves in a more critical light, and wouldn’t imagine being untouchable. This needn’t detract from the significance of their presence in your life, but should open the door to understand that not only should they be approached to further learn from them, but that they want to be approached.

On the other side of the coin, a person who has inspired awe in another should never take that for granted. What you’ve done is not amazing on its own. The unique pairing of what you’ve done and the individual it has influenced (whether it happened once or a million times over) is what is awe inspiring. Also know that it is infinitely easier for the subject of awe to initially approach the awestruck. Making yourself actively available to someone else will only compound the respect they have for you. Not only from a distance have you found a way to affect them, but up close and personal, you have proven you are imperfect just like them.

It may be desirable to keep the subject of your awe up on their pedestal and out of reach. To never sully the image that brings you inspiration. It will not be the truth, though. Fiction has its place and provides a medium for lessons that influence how we live, but we should seek out reality for what it truly is. Do not let the idea of someone from afar prevent you from understanding who they are up close. You may end up being disappointed, or pleasantly surprised, or awestruck anew. Regardless of the outcome, it will contribute to the understanding that extraordinary things are accomplished by ordinary people, and that nothing is preventing you from being a source of awe yourself.


Situational Questions

  • Are you overwhelmed when in the presence of grandeur? Is it the lavish objects that hold your attention, or the people behind them? Are you in awe of the purchaser or the creator? Which one would you rather be?
  • Do you shy away from approaching people that have come to mean something to you? If so, do you worry about what their reaction will be? What’s the worst that could happen in genuinely expressing your feelings? If you’re not shy, is the approach done without the expectation of something in return?


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