I remember an exercise I did at a church youth retreat in 9th grade. We broke up into groups and were assigned names of people from the other groups. We had to come up with a list of things we liked about that person, you know- thought were funny, kind, described them. Anything. And then share them with the big group all together for them to hear.
What I didn’t expect was how I would feel hearing the affirming things that the group said about ME. I was floored. People think THAT about me?? I mean, so often, we know our friends hang out with us, like us, or maybe we don’t know if someone likes us. Hearing things like, “she always makes us laugh”, “she makes these funny facial expressions that crack us up” (hmm, we know about this don’t we?) was a total game changer for me. I always felt awkward, unattractive, klutzy. Now, I realized, people liked those silly qualities!
I came away from that feeling so full. What a great exercise. We need affirmation all the time. Some people are shy of compliments. Some people are compliment whores (ahem, I don’t know what you are talking about!). But whether it is a spoken word, a written note, or an action, affirmation is what gives us that feeling of, “yep, I’m worth it”. Not in a L’Oreal kind of way folks.
When I started this blog, I was hungry for affirmation. I wanted to be told all the time- good job, ooh funny, you are so talented…. blah blah blah. And I did get this. From my mom. From a few friends. It was great.
Now folks are reading that I never imagined would read. I have been mentioned on the Huffington Post for gosh sakes! I’ve been given kudos from a blogger I so greatly admire, People I Want To Punch In The Throat, listed me as one of her top 10 funny bloggers on Babble.com. And even sometimes on Twitter, I’ll get a compliment from someone in the biz, or whatever, that makes me gush.
There’s several blogs and writers out there I admire. Kind of, look up to, like the cool kids on campus. When they share my work, I am overjoyed. Like when my son says something sweet to me. My heart takes wings and soars.
Affirmation feels good when I’m given a Blogger Award from another blogger out there. These aren’t like ones that come with plaques and statues at award ceremonies, non blogging folks, they are like chain letters of the Internets, but in a good way. My first award came from Heather at B(itch)log. I was stunned! She’s all snarky and bitchy, and is a WRITER, that likes little ol’ me. ME? It felt good, let me tell you.
And then when others came along, I couldn’t believe it.
It feels good to be told someone likes you. Likes what you do. Or what you write. That they were moved, or changed by it in some way.
I want my children to feel affirmation every day. I want to smile to them when I walk in the room. Or they come home from school, I want them to see me happy to see them. I want my husband to walk in the door after a long day at work, and know that I appreciate him.
I want bloggers to know how much I like their stuff. How much I revere their writing and their talents. How so many of them help shape me in my posts. It’s like they unlock a little treasure chest in my brain for what is possible. All those things floating around in there that were suppressed with yoga pant wearing Gymboree runs, or serious, studious college days. ( I was such a square.) Now I get goofy ideas, and I think, ‘hey that would make a great blog’. And usually you guys embrace the goofy with me and it makes me super happy.
So my point is, share affirmation whenever you get the chance. Tell your children, your spouse, your mom, what you appreciate them for.
Share writers that you love. Pieces of work that touch you. If you think they are ‘too popular’, ‘too big’ to care- not true. I look at pages with thousands more fans than me, and I know that they too, enjoy compliments.
What I love about blogging, and people who don’t blog seem to always ask me WHY I blog if I’m not getting paid, is that it opens up my world and relationships to people out there dealing with things I may never have been exposed to otherwise. Getting my news and updates from Yahoo or CNN or EOnline is fine. But reading what people have lived, struggled through, overcome; that is what sticks with me throughout the day and shapes me. Not only that, but reading about other people’s episiotomy horror stories or embarrassing things their kids say at Starbucks, can be incredibly entertaining!
So with that, I will mention some big blogs and little blogs that inspire me, entertain me, and make me want to keep writing.
I Want a Dumpster Baby
This girl gets the Miss Congeniality award. Everyone loves Katy! AMIRIGHT? She is pregnant with twins, but her road from addiction and depression, to her struggles with infertility, inspire me every day to be a better me. She chooses happiness and is the most furkin’ positive, hilarious creature. I’m amazed by her.
The horrors this woman has come back from and kicked ass through, amaze me. Her perspective and truth about dealing with an abusive ex, will compel you to make a choice each day to be who YOU want to be, and never give up.
Mary Tyler Mom
MTM will grab your heart and change it forever. She has lost her daughter Donna, to pediatric brain cancer, and now, she is chronicling her story of trying to adopt a baby. Her writing weaves in and out of your psyche and doesn’t let go. You will wonder how she gets up in the morning with all she’s been through. But like so many out there, she faces the day with purpose and intellect and soul.
These are just a FEW, I mean, there are SO MANY others. People write of their failure, their fears, their triumphs. I am moved, humbled and enlightened every time I open up one of their posts to read. I hope you will be too. You’ll notice the trend in their writing is their gratitude. Not in a sappy, drippy, make you sick way, but in a ‘wow, if they can find it, so can I’ way.
Remember to smile, give a compliment, tell someone how great they are. It can make a HUGE difference. Just think of what our world would be like if more people felt their worth, their affirmation from those around them. It would be AMAZING.
Practice rather than preach. Make of your life an affirmation, defined by your ideals, not the negation of others. Dare to the level of your capability then go beyond to a higher level. ~Alexander Haig