Monday, July 13, 2015

Build me Up Buttercup

Over the past little while, I've been privileged to hang out with some really incredible women. Amazing women. Unbelievable women. I don't mean women I'm fond of, or women I enjoy hanging out with. I'm talking about seriously fantastic women. They are each the kind of woman that I strive to be.

Don't get me wrong. I don't want to BE these women. Oh, bless their hearts, they have their own struggles and issues and inconsistencies. We all have our own, and I'll take mine over theirs any day. That's not what I mean at all. What I know about each of these women is that each of them has the ability to make me feel great about myself, and THAT is what it's all about. They don't just make me feel special, they make the other women in their lives feel great about themselves, as well. I want to be the kind of daughter, sister, mother, friend, colleague and associate that makes people feel better about themselves.

Now, when I get together with these ladies, we don't just sit around talking about how pretty and smart and clever we are. (Well, except for my sister and me. We do that - but only because our Daddy told us we are the prettiest and smartest girls he's ever seen. And, if our Daddy said it, it must be true.) No, it's more than that, and I've been doing a lot of thinking about what it is exactly.

I wasn't sure exactly how to determine what it is, so I Googled "how to make others feel better about themselves," just to see if anything stuck out. I came across this list from Happiness Weekly. Turns out, it's a pretty good list, although, for the women I know, I'd rearrange it a little and put Smile at People, Show Genuine Interest and Encourage People When You Can as the top three. And, in that order. These ladies are nearly always smiling, even plenty of times when things are necessarily going their way. They do show an interest in what others are doing. And, they encourage everyone in their lives to do great things.

That list still doesn't really pinpoint what it is that's so great about these ladies. But, I think I've finally figured it out. These ladies rarely say anything negative about anyone else. That's what makes me feel special around them. They are spending their time, thoughts and emotions looking for the good in most people. They aren't trash talking, or putting down, or gossiping about other people they know. And that makes me feel comfortable knowing that they're not saying negative things about me to others. If they're telling me how great their other friends are, and I'm in the same friend category, then I must be great, too!

Unfortunately, I've spent some time with a few people whose main topic of conversation has been the bad parts of other people's lives. In some instances, I've heard terrible stories about people I don't even know! I don't really understand why some people feel the need to tell me about strangers' shortcomings. 

Now, I don't choose to hang out on a regular basis with people who behave this way, so they're clearly not close friends. So, for a while, I thought remaining silent through the conversation would be the way to go. Then, I tried to steer the conversation back to something positive. You know, ask them to tell me more about themselves (most everyone likes to talk about themselves!). But nope, still kept going back to Derogatory City. 

Eventually, I found the opportunity to remove myself from the conversation, but I was left with a bad feeling in my soul. I believe remaining silent was not the right thing to do. I feel like I should have stood up for those poor souls whose dirty laundry was being flown around like kites. And, I suspect I will from now on. 

None of us are perfect, and we all have bad days, and we're all sometimes treated terribly by others. So we'll all slip up and let Negative Nelly take over our thoughts and our tongues. Hopefully, those times are few and far between. I hope you have a group of ladies who can make you feel as extraordinary as my group of ladies makes me feel. And, I really, most importantly, hope that I make YOU feel exceptional, too.

Much love,

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