Saturday, February 27, 2010

The "Happy" File

A discussion on Facebook today has inspired this blog post. (And in true circle-of-life fashion, when it posts, a copy will be automatically sent back to Facebook and further discussion will likely take place.)

My long-time friend, in response to an ongoing thread, posted this:
I concur about John--I've always thought he was much more thoughtful than almost anyone our age--even when we were all way younger. Not afraid to stand for himself and others when most other people would not have done so. Not afraid to care about others. Way more caring than most people our age. John is a person people remember no matter how much time has passed. He will definitely leave this world a better place than he found it. And we're all better for having known him.

What an amazing thing to read about myself. It isn't often that we get such direct and heartfelt praise from others. And even when we do, we either dismiss it or (too quickly) forget all about it. I suppose it is our nature to hang on to insults and criticism, their caustic words clinging to us like barnacles on a ship. But the good stuff? It's too soon gone. But it doesn't have to be that way. Because of that thread, I posted this:
John Hulsey is inspired by my friends Cj McKercher Fillmore and Jeremy Ward, so I'm passing this idea along. Whatever the format, create a "when I feel down" file and fill it with the compliments and kind words of others. In dark moments, it will remind you of your own worth and value.

Obviously, CJ's words are going in my file. And there are many others, like this message sent to me last month by another friend.
Today I am thankful for you. I think you are wonderful. And I am lucky to have you as a friend. Not just in the FB world or even just online. I really value you, John, and I hope we will have the chance to actually meet - and hug like crazy - in real life one day. I know this is a random message, but it is from the heart. Just saw you online tonight and wanted to send you some love. You deserve it!

I've edited out only the identifying information, since it was a message sent privately. But it was such an unexpected kindness that it made me feel good for days. And yet, a month later, I had almost forgotten about it. Now, as a second entry in my "When I'm Down" file, I won't ever forget it again. And when I'm feeling like the world is kicking me in the teeth, and my all-too-human nature is seeing only the bad, I'll have my ready-made mood enhancer set to go.

And one last thing. As I'm writing this, I wonder if it will come across as boastful or even arrogant. I mean, I am posting the words of two people praising me. But then I realize, so what if it sounds like I'm bragging? I am. And I have every reason to. Two friends believe that I am worthy of their compliments and kind words, and who am I to disagree with them?

It is no coincidence that good people are surrounded by good people. It's how we all survive a world that is, too often, not good at all.

(Edited to add: And thanks to a bit of feedback from my friend Charish, I'm amending the name of this entry and the file. Instead of a "when I'm down" file, it will be my "happy" file. A slight change, perhaps, but words have meaning and power. So why start by presuming a negative?)