We all have that one friend who doesn’t seem to have any idea of their value. That person with a couple of amazing skills and talents, the one who is always there for you when you need them. The person who tolerates unacceptable romantic partners because they’re afraid no one else will want them. The person who stays at a shitty job where they’re not appreciated–because who knows what might happen at a new place? The person who believes every terrible things asshats say about them because they sound like things they already fear about themselves. That person.
And you, as their friend, think things like “How can they not know how awesome they are? It’s so obvious.”
Let me ask you something. How often do you tell this person how amazing you think they are? In fact, how often do you tell anyone how amazing they are–for reals?
Personally, I’ve been known to say things like, “That guy is an asshole, and you can and should do much better,” when I should be saying something more like, “Can you help me understand why you think [X, Y and Z behaviors] are okay. You would never do that to someone, and I’d never do that to you. So why is it okay for him?”
I say things like, “Don’t you know how amazing you are?” I could be far more specific, like “You’ve always made time for me when I needed to blather on about nothing, you listen without judgment, you always make me feel listened to and cared for.”
Kids, I don’t think most of us know our true value. Part of that is from fucked up parenting, a lifetime of being bullied or shamed, mental and emotional issues, or just being surrounded by assholes. But the result of us not knowing our value doesn’t just make our lives worse–it whispers in our ear that no one cares what we think anyway.
We don’t tell each other the truth about how we feel for a variety of reasons I won’t bother to list here. But fear–the fear that we’ll be mocked, that no one will care what we have to say, that we’ll sound stupid–that’s one of the big ones. We’re afraid of how we might look to others, so we keep our heads down and our mouths shut about our feelings–even our feelings for good friends. As I’ve said many times–I’m really good at telling people what I THINK, but what I FEEL is mostly saved for close friends.
So I’m making it a point to tell people not just that I love them, but why. I want the people in my life to know all the ways they impress me. They should know how much they have meant to me over the years, and how much they continue to mean today. I want valuable people to know their value. Or at the very least–to have told them how valuable they are to me. I mean, you can give people information but you can’t make them believe it.
Anybody interested in joining me as I embark on what could end up a journey into embarrassment and silliness? This week, pick out a few people and tell them everything about them that you find amazing. It’ll make them feel good, and probably you’ll end up feeling good too.
Kindness: It’s gluten free, low in calories, organic, and readily available.Tags: sociality, the crazy, thinky