Archive for April, 2011
The other day, a good friend of mine wrote just about the kindest words I’ve ever had written about me. Not only did they move me, but they made me feel proud of myself…for about four seconds, before I started to feel guilty and conceited. And then I stopped to think, why? Why is it so hard for me to accept that others might see good, even great things in me, or to think that I might even see them? Be proud of them?
Every time a friend compliments me; whether it be my hair or something I’ve done, my first response is to deflect the compliment. In my head, accepting gracefully is tantamount to saying I agree which therefore means I think I am full of myself and entitled to compliments. Which is weird, because when I compliment someone else, I would rather they take the compliment than deflect, because I if I say it, I mean it and I want them to feel good.
So for the sake of posterity, here is what was said about me-
“I have never met anyone with so much ability to adapt and love unconditionally as you… and those are two gifts that always seem to return to the giver with twice the impact.”
And you know what? I am honored that Emily sees me this way, and more, honored because in these words I can see a leagacy that means far more to me personally than others might ever realize.
My father was an amazing man, and what he is often remembered for by others is the generosity of his love, the depth of his ability to forgive and love those he cared about. It was a quality I never really saw or understood until I was older. When he passed, it became clear to me just how much he touched others, just how loving and selfless he was in life, and how much I admired that about him.
I never set out to be like my father, and I’ve never worked at loving someone unconditionally because of any external praise or reward I might feel I “deserve”. I’ve always just tried to follow my instincts and give to others what I hope they might give to me. Support, friendship, and forgiveness. But to see that someone has seen in me something that I so much admired about my father- it is a wonderful gift. And when I think about it, dismissing it, or worse, convincing myself that it is wrong to feel good about it would be counterproductive.
I’ve always tried to live my life by learning from others and from my own mistakes. By evaluating the things I have done that I am not proud of, and by trying to be the best version of myself that I can be, at that moment. And at this moment, I think it is ok to say, if I can learn from my mistakes, I’d better learn from my sucesses.