Last night I had a dream that I was hanging out with a friend of mine from high school that I haven't seen in years. Well, actually, I dreamed we were on a furniture dolly being pulled behind a car, but we were able to talk and everything. Shut up, dreams are weird.
Anyway, after we got to where we were going (and I don't remember where that was) he handed me a piece of paper with a list of the nicest compliments about me on it. I can not for the life of me remember what any of those compliments were, but I remember that they made me very happy. I don't think this particular friend would ever say anything quite that nice about me in real life unless I died and he was feeling nostalgic or something. Who knows?
While I was thinking about that dream this morning, I remembered that when I was a teenager, our youth group minister gathered us together one night for some event and gave everyone a piece of paper with our name at the top of it. We passed it to everyone else in the group, and each of us anonymously wrote one thing we liked about that person on the paper. Once it circulated around, we got our own pages back so that we could read what everyone wrote. I kept that piece of paper in my wallet from that night until I'd been married almost 10 years, and I only put it away because my new wallet didn't have a place I could safely keep it. I suppose it sounds really narcissistic (oooh, spelled that right on the first try!) to keep a list of compliments about yourself within easy reach, but I didn't keep it for that reason.
As I got older, I sometimes felt (and still feel, at times) like there was nothing good or admirable about me. I didn't really do any of the things I thought I'd do, for one reason or another. Not that life has been bad, but I sometimes felt like I didn't take as much advantage of it as I should have. Especially now with social media, we get to see how awesome everyone is and everything they accomplish on a daily basis. I know that we can't compare ourselves to those people realistically, because for every degree they earn, or every promotion they get, or every trip to some exotic or amazing place they post online, there are just as many disappointments or lost opportunities that they don't tell us all about. Sometimes it's hard to remember that we are seeing only what people want us to see, and it's difficult not to judge ourselves against that. Well, it's difficult for me. I don't know about you.
So really, I kept that piece of paper because I wanted to remind myself that there were people out there who liked me and thought well of me, even if they never said it out loud. Even though I'd lost touch with those people a while ago, at one time, even at my teenagery worst, there were people who could see good things in me, even when I couldn't. I think maybe I had that dream to remind myself that it's still true. Even if I'm not particularly successful, or doing really awesome things that I can post onto Facebook or whatever, there are people out there who can still see the good things in me even when I can't see them myself.
In case your interested, this is what my paper had listed on it. I will spell everything correctly, though! Haha!
-She's good looking (-Oy Vey)
-She's a good friend
-She's got a good sense of humor
-She's always perky!
You know, now that I read that list again, I'm not altogether certain they were talking about me after all! ; )