A Facebook friend posed the question on her status update today: “Someone else’s faith in you can be like ignitor fluid. Do you know this feeling?”
I sure do. In fact, there are days when all I have is someone else’s faith in me. Do you know that feeling? When you feel like you’ve done everything you can, but it’s not enough, and you’re not enough, and none of it really matters anyway, and everyone else has more important stuff to offer the world than you do, because all you’ve got is your tiny little insignificant offering, and there are already a million other people offering the same thing, only better, faster, cheaper.
And just when you’re ready to throw in the towel and quit, your dear friend sitting next to you at the sushi bar suddenly lights up with something you just said. “Where did you get that from? Or did you just make that up yourself?” And then she tells you how brilliant you are, and suddenly an idea you thought was just idle chatter actually means something to someone. It’s not just a lame idea in the back of your head.
When I sit at home alone long enough, I lose my perspective. Ideas spin around in my head and go nowhere. There is no sounding board, no audience, no one to tell me if it matters. And then I write this blog, and fire a bunch of words out into the intervoid, and I don’t know if anyone reads or appreciates this, or if any of it matters. But then a friend tells me he’s read it and loves it. He didn’t leave a comment. All I got was a number on my site stats. But then he tells me that it meant so much to him, because he had never thought of it that way before. I had put something into words that he didn’t know how to express.
So, it matters.
Going on faith in myself only gets me so far. How do I know that I have a realistic self-assessment? How do I know if anything I do really matters? If I’m belittling myself or if I’m overly optimistic? I don’t know until people tell me.
I’m not saying we should devalue faith in ourselves, and only listen to what other people say about us. That is a slippery slope, and frankly, far too much like junior high to be of any use.
On the other hand, my friends have done a lot to help me out of depression and distorted self-images. My friends have helped me by bringing faith back that I did not have myself.
We can’t do this alone. At least, I can’t. I realize that I need an audience. Does that make me weak in self-esteem or weak in my faith? I don’t know. Maybe. But I have to say that I really appreciate it when I get positive feedback about my contribution to the world.
And I believe that community is important, and we need to promote community connections and support. Needing each other can’t be such a bad thing. Especially when it brings more love into the world.
So here’s your homework: Tell your friends and family what you most appreciate about them. Remind them about what they do well. Let your friends know that their presence on this planet really matters.
Oh – I almost forgot. Here’s the clip that inspired the title of this post. Be warned it has coarse language: