I saw this quote on Pinterest some time ago and it struck a nerve. Not a “yeah, that’s right!” nerve, but an “Oh, shit. I don’t do that and I should” nerve.
A few days letter I read a post by Kim at MissZoot.com. She was talking about the unequal distribution of attention given to ‘haters’ compared to supporters.
From her post:
“…when you take a moment to address a hater? It hurts my feelings because they don’t deserve your attention. They’ve done nothing to earn a response from you. Especially not compared to your fans which I’m certain are in greater quantities than your detractors.”
That same nerve hummed.
As I said in Kim’s comments, this is something I’m guilty of in real life even more so than online. My mom cheers me on relentlessly, and I’m sad that my grandparents don’t seem to approve of me. My girlfriends tell me I’m brilliant, and I wonder why a practical stranger doesn’t “get” me. My husband thinks I’m beautiful and sexy, and I worry that I don’t fit some imaginary definition of attractiveness.
Why do we do this?
Why do I do this?
Why do I so quickly dismiss those who love me fiercely and chase after recognition from others who are reluctant to give it? How hurtful that must be to those who stand by me, to those who’ve earned not only attention, but to have their opinion valued.
I don’t want to repay love and encouragement with disbelief.
I don’t want to send the message that the character of those who have believed in me is questionable.
I want to honor those who love me by accepting that they are right about me, by acknowledging that what they say about me matters.
So, yes, I am beautiful, because my husband says so, and what he says matters to me. I am brilliant and brave and talented, because Faiqa and my Mom believe it to be true, and they are two of the most brilliant, brave, and talented women I know. And I am lovable and worthy of all good things, because Becky and Megan and Lisa know a thing or two about loveable people and they have chosen to love me.
I’ll keep listening to their words — keep repeating them until they ring true — because the people who love me have earned the right to be heard. I owe them that.
I owe myself that.
What do the people who love you say about you?