Surround yourself with the dreamers and the doers, the believers and thinkers, but most of all, surround yourself with those who see the greatness within you, even when you don’t see it yourself. — Edmund Lee
Recently, I was in a very contemplative mood about some things going on around me, and a friend posted this quote on Facebook. I had been thinking about how I could help someone who seemed to be in the crosshairs of an ugly battle. It occurred to me that this person doesn’t see the greatness within herself, and she really needs to surround herself with people who believe in her.
We all need to be validated to some degree. Even as little children, we learned that the opinions of others matter. Sometimes we tell ourselves that they don’t; but they really do matter. We all want to be liked, appreciated, validated, and loved. We all need a pat on the back occasionally.
It seems ironic then, that we are so quick to criticize others instead of validating their goodness. We jump on the bandwagon every time someone is dishing out dirt on someone else, when we should be coming to their defense. It behooves us to see the greatness in others, if we want others to see the greatness in us.
I’ve been pretty lucky to have dreamers, doers, believers, and thinkers in my life. There have been a few Negative Nellies, but for the most part, I’ve had excellent supporters. In retrospect, the happiest moments of my life have been those times when I pushed back the Negative Nellies and drew closer to those who supported my dreams. We all need our cheerleaders—those who love us enough to believe we can do anything we set our minds to do.
Those of us who are introverts sometimes have a problem surrounding ourselves with dreamers and doers for fear of being dragged into the doing—not because we don’t want to do—but because doing puts us in uncomfortable surroundings as introverts. Leaving our comfort zone, however, can prove to be interesting and give us experiences that wouldn’t normally grace our lives. When dreamers see the potential of an introvert and encourage that potential, lives are often changed. I wonder if the dreamers and doers even realize the effect they have on others?
I wrote a list of the ten things I most appreciate about the friend I spoke of earlier who doesn’t see the greatness in herself. I am determined to point out these things to her one at a time over the next few weeks as she displays these traits to me. I do see the greatness in her, even if she doesn’t see it in herself. Maybe if I point it out to her, she will begin to realize her own potential for good.
Negative Nellies are all around us. It must be a sign of the times. The internet even makes it easy for them to gain credibility. They band together and gang up on others just for the fun of seeing someone shot down in flames. It appears to be some sadistic sport to see who can hurt the most people in a 24-hour period behind the safety of a computer screen. Sometimes they make me angry, but most of the time the emotion I feel is sadness for them and their sorry lives. It must be a lonely person who resorts to inflating their own ego by raining on others’ parades.
We don’t just find Negative Nellies on the internet, however. They don’t just exist in the virtual world. We find them in the workplace, the neighborhood, the community, and sometimes even in our own families. We can’t always remove them from our lives, as we must learn to live, work, play, and socialize in the real world. We do, however, have agency in whether or not we allow the Negative Nellies to impact our self-esteem. If we surround ourselves with those who see the greatness in us, we will see the greatness in ourselves and pay no attention to anything the Negative Nellies have to say.
I have a friend who rarely has a conversation with me that she doesn’t tell me how good I am, how much she appreciates me, or how much she loves me. At first, it made me uncomfortable because it was totally foreign to me and because I didn’t feel that way about myself. In time, as we became closer, I realized the total sincerity of her words. After many years, I have come to realize that she was seeing goodness in me that I was not able to see in myself. By seeing the goodness in me, she saw the spark of what I could become, and by continual encouragement through the years, she has watched the goodness grow. I have a long ways to go, but then, don’t we all?
Make an effort to surround yourself with good influencers—those who see your greatness—but also be the kind of person who sees the greatness in those around you.
Tudie Rose is a mother of four and grandmother of ten in Sacramento, California. You can find her on Twitter as @TudieRose. She blogs as Tudie Rose at http://potrackrose.wordpress.com. She has written articles for Familius. You will find a Tudie Rose essay in Lessons from My Parents, Michele Robbins, Familius 2013, at http://www.familius.com/lessons-from-my-parents.