As it states in my About Me section, “I receive daily opportunities to debunk my irrational thoughts and live to the measure of my full potential.” This past Sunday was one of those days, when I noticed a trait in a friend that I wanted to work on in my life. She is a woman I know through church. Joy is written in her countenance and it’s amplified through her energetic smile and engaging eyes. When speaking with her, it’s clear I have her full attention. Not only do I have her full attention, but she appears genuinely interested in what I have to say. Even more than that, she showers me in compliments when it seems there is nothing compliment-able about me. In short, she makes me feel like I’m the coolest person in the world every single time I talk to her. I admit, it’s pretty good on the ego. Here’s the catch though, if I were to ask someone else if this friend left them feeling uniquely wonderful as well, they would all answer yes. So, does this mean that she is not sincere? The sincerity of such a friend, has always left me in question. If someone makes everyone feel like they’re the coolest person ever, who really is the coolest person ever? I think I finally found the answer to my internal debate this past Sunday, when I came home from church feeling uniquely wonderful.
Before I share my answer, I think it’s important to give some background information so that you know that I truly have struggled with this for years. It all started with my Grandpa. Every time that I arrived in my grandparents’ home, I would give both my Nana and Grandpa a hug. And every time I hugged my Grandpa, I would ask him how he was. And every time I asked him, he would always respond, “I’m better now.” Every time. I immediately felt like I had made my Grandpa’s day. He was better because I was there. It took years before I realized that he said that to everyone that went up and hugged him and asked how he was. Everybody made him better.
But, how could that be? Wasn’t I the best? That’s probably the real issue in this debate, is that I somehow need to know where I land in the ranks of someone’s love and devotion. Somewhere along the way, I came to believe that if I was not the best, then I wasn’t really enough at all. Woah. There’s a personal realization that I wasn’t expecting to stumble across while writing this post. I digress.
So, my Grandpa was the first person I noticed that has this ability, and my church friend is the most recent. But there are others that I have crossed paths with that have this knack. I’m sure you can think of such a person in your own life. They’re the type of person that makes everyone they come across feel perfectly okay being exactly who they are. They celebrate you every time they are around you so that you walk away feeling uniquely wonderful.
As I’ve come in contact with more of these people, I’ve decided that they are completely sincere. My Grandpa really does feel better with each embrace he receives from a loved one. My friend genuinely enjoys when I teach a class at church. Other friends with this gift, really do find me enjoyable to be around. They don’t say these things just to say them. They see the positive in people. They recognize the joy that others feel when they know they’re loved and appreciated. They, in turn, feel joy knowing they have brightened another’s day by expressing their uplifting remarks.
As often is the case, I have discovered something about myself through the exercise of writing a post. Where I was originally planning to share how I would like to become better at uplifting others, as these type of people do, I now want to remove this subconscious thought process of ranking myself in other’s eyes. For instance, let’s say that someone tells me that I’m a good cook (keep your laughter to a minimum, please) and I hear that same person tell another person that they’re a good cook. Can we not both be good cooks? What is it about me that needs to know what level of “good cook” I am versus the other person? Oy vey. I’m flashing back to my post Stop Comparing and Reclaim Joy where I referenced Theodore Roosevelt’s quote, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” This need to compare and rank truly is the thief of joy. It’s caused me to take the kind remarks from a friend and question their sincerity and my worth. How sad is that?
Well, it seems as though I’ve got a bit of debunking to do, if I want to rid myself of this ridiculous need to rank my level of awesomeness in the eyes of each person I meet. If I do slip up and get this insatiable urge to rank myself, perhaps I’ll have enough wisdom to recognize that I am #1 to one spectacular husband and four incredible children! It really is no wonder I struggle with insecurity when I’m subconsciously filing myself in a particular category for each person that I know. Oh man. Why do I feel like I’ve opened a can of worms with this realization?
Before I freak out anymore, let me answer the question I originally posed, “If someone makes everyone feel like they’re the coolest person ever, who really is the coolest person ever?” My answer: All of us. All of us have the right to be around people who leave us feeling uniquely wonderful. And my heart’s desire is to make sure I am better about leaving people feeling just that way. I’m certain that the more I accept the compliments given to me as being sincere and the more I strive to show my love and appreciation for others, the better suited I will be to live to the measure of my full potential.