I learnt a new word recently - which as a writer is such a joy - that word was magnanimity. It was uttered by the irrevocably talented Judi Dench in a random TitTok I scrolled past. I knew vaguely of its general intention, but not its purest meaning or use.
A quick google got me the goodies. Magnanimous comes from Latin Magnus "great" and animus "soul," so it literally describes someone who is big-hearted. A person can show that oversized spirit by being noble or brave, or by easily forgiving others and not showing resentment.
To do something with magnanimity is to be generous, and kind-hearted towards something, or someone. Now we have all learned a new word together - I have a question for you;
When was the last time you showed yourself some magnanimity?
Knowing what I know about the type of person who reads my words, I know you are often in the business of offering magnanimity to others - which is lovely. But, when it comes back to reflecting that kind-hearted behaviour back onto yourself - are you so generous?
Let’s go about this question in a slightly different manner. To be human is to be anxious in some way. This, to me, sums up human nature. Anxiety, for many of us, manifests in recollection of our worst actions, reminiscing all the awkward blunders, and sticky situations.
These moments replay on a loop as I try to fall asleep, and I am sure many of you can relate to this. Making us cringe over moments we would rather forget than relive to regret over and over thanks to our anxious overactive brain.
This is where we need the warm embrace of magnanimity. Magnanimity doesn’t act as a cure, but more as a salve. A salve to soothe frayed nerves caused by the wear and tear of human existence. Think of magnanimity as a hot bath on a cold November evening, soothing tension, and easing the aches and pains we accumulate over the day.
Offering yourself compassion, forgiveness, and generosity is the power of magnanimity. Magnanimity offers you a route to less self-criticism and less self-flagellation over things you can no longer control. In a sense, this is the same as offering an upset child a hug when they have a tantrum.
Magnanimity allows us to be there for ourselves, offering an open hand to lead us all to a more compassionate existence. So, don’t you think it is about time we all offered ourselves more magnanimity?
Shot by Ruth Pechey