Philotimo (or filotimo) is a Greek word with no real English translation. The literal translation is “love (or friend) of honor.” I like the Urban Dictionary definition, “ones responsibility to himself as a human being to always act in accordance with righteousness and honor.” Greek is a big part of my heritage. I can only speak a few words, but grew up listening to my mom’s family speak the Greek language and have great respect for some of its words.
Over the last few months, I’ve done some reflecting. I’ve evaluated priorities because of celebrities’ and regular people’s reactions to the political landscape in America in contrast with real, life-threatening situations friends and family have had to struggle through. When I heard the word philotimo recently, I realized how well it sums up what’s most important to me.
Another website explains philotimo further as more of a virtue. “The filotimo in a Greek makes him stand tall in all of life’s good and adverse circumstances. It makes him feel: I am a person, a free individual and no matter who you are, no matter how powerful or how low, I demand and without asking your respect. And then not to take himself too seriously, a Greek says, I have the humor to prove it!”
America is full of people whose ancestors or themselves emigrated from nations around the world. We pride ourselves in being able to think freely and practice our cultural and religious beliefs. We are largely charitable people who don’t point at others, but rather are willing to help those in need. We see that charity in action all too often with the recent wildfires and other natural disasters.
As long as beliefs and practices are legal, I strive to accept every culture. I also try to never judge, and equally expect the same from others. It’s American to embrace and celebrate our differences. To take pride in our own sense of honor. It’s what America’s made of, and my philotimo.
Pride and honor makes us great, and that’s what I’m thankful for.