February 27, 2010 § Leave a comment
Am I a “mean girl”?? Seriously. I ask myself this. What do I say to people? Do I bring joy to their lives? It’s weird to think about how much the things we say to people matter, but they do. I know what you’re thinking, oh geez, shut up, I know. But, bear with me. I’ve been thinking about this alot in the past few days. It’s so easy for us to find flaws in other people and some people seem to find pleasure in pointing these things out. And while those people are always laughing (mostly because they’re laughing at other people) they never really exude a joyful spirit. The room can be full of their laughter, but somehow it’s a laughter we want to run from instead of the kind of pure, joyful laughter that makes people wonder “Who is that girl, and why aren’t we friends?!?”
Illustrations: 10 months into dating my first boyfriend, we’ll call him “Hank” since that’s what he named the dog I gave him for Christmas (did I mention I’m the best girlfriend ever!?! Oh, and I like the nicknames because it makes this blog feel a little “sex and the city-esque”), and we were on one of our daily phone calls. He mentioned that dating me was one of those things he just did without thinking about or having a reason. HOLD UP…wait a minute (ok, I need to stop there before I burst into song). I’m pretty sure that a guy should know why he’s with me. Just sayin’. Needless to say, that convo didn’t go so great. But a couple weeks later we went to dinner, specifically it was our 11 month anniversary (I know, alert the papers. 11 months! oh, high school…), and he wrote me a note; the first note he’d written me, which was kinda a big deal in high school. In it, he apologized and gave this list of things he liked about me. The thing that struck me was that they were so well thought out, so beautifully said, and things that I didn’t even expect him to say. I expected “your smart, I think you’re pretty, you make me laugh….blah blah boring.” Instead one of the lines read “You find the good in people before you’ll even acknowledge the bad.” WOW! I still have that letter, but I can recite that line from all those years ago without even having to look at it. Am I still that girl? That girl sounds so happy, joyful, loving. That is the girl I long to be again, or, continue to be, or whatever. Thanks, Hank. You’ll never know how much that little note meant.
The other day, I went to the gym in town, hopped on the ellipitcal next to a girl in my class and we had a great chat. Now, we were never “friends” before my little sabatical, but I never felt like I disliked her, just never really got to know her. But, we had a great talk. It was great to find out what was new and what I’d missed. A week later, my school had a social, and she found me at the bar and told me that that conversation had been one of the things she treasured most in her time thus far in law school. She said it was one of the most genuine, honest conversations she’d had with a girl here. Oh my goodness! Talk about making your heart smile! I was beside myself with the joy that I found I was able to give her, just by listening to her and not being a “mean girl” to her as I feel like a lot of girls are. And honestly, while its so easy to feel better about ourselves by putting others down, there is absolutely nothing in the world like the sheer, pure, joy of knowing you made someone else’s day! Nothing compares to that.
I still have a box full of letters from guys I’ve dated, people I’ve met, friends on retreats just full of people saying that they love me. I treasure that little box. And when I just don’t feel good enough, I open it up, read a reason someone found to love me, smile, and feel better. I remember the times people have said things to me about what I meant to them that just took me aback, because I wasn’t expecting them. And while I can tell you all day the horrible things mean girls have said to me (the put downs, the snide remarks, the stink-eye looks), those things don’t hang on when compared with the good things people say. One genuine, uplifting remark, smile or action weighs so much more than any angry comment. The really meaningful words of kindness stick with us, and inspire us to continue to be better. We don’t want to let go of that element of goodness someone else found in us; we want it to grow and become that person who lights up a room with a real, joyful smile.
People don’t want to be around mean girls. I want to be the girl that finds good and beauty in people constantly. I want to radiate joy! Somehow, I feel like even just choosing to try to be joyful, makes me more joyful. Just the simple choice. I can’t help but be far too honest of a person; eventually I acknowledge faults in people, but I think the key is that if we already have seen good in them, the faults don’t matter so much. We can still put our focus on some good things. It doesn’t mean everyone is supposed to be our best friend, or even our friend, but we can at least try to see some element of good instead of being mean girls.
Anyway, enough of that little rant. Its enough to think about. I’ll give you the run down on what I cooked for dinner soon. It was a huge hit and probably one of the easiest things I’ve ever cooked in my life! In the mean time, I’m working on an Ode to Pain and Suffering. I know, you’re on the edge of your seat. But, I promise, it will be good. Stay posted!
“Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless.” Mother Teresa