We all have things about ourselves that we don't like. I know, duh, right, Mal? That's like saying the sun shines during the day or it's hot in Texas. Just go with me here, go with me.
Lately, I think I've been spending way too much time focusing on the things about me that I'd like to change that it makes me lose focus on the pieces of me that I actually like.
This realization came to me earlier tonight. I spent a good portion of the night Facebook chatting with a friend of mine (nobody important, just a guy I met through the CDA Convention last year and have kept in good contact with) who has just been having a really rough couple of days. He needed someone to vent to, so I was there, at least as much as I could be through class and work and tutoring and stuff. Throughout it, he kept thanking me and telling me how much he appreciated my support and loved having me in his life and stuff like that. And I, of course, told him there was no reason to thank me, that this is just what I do for my friends, or really anyone I care about.
Well tonight, when I got back to my room after work, we talked for a bit more before I had to get in the shower because I'm absolutely exhausted and plan on going to bed as soon as I finish this post. But before I signed, he told me that my encouragement was such a gift and that it meant a lot to him and had really brightened his day, and then he asked me to please never change.
And while I was in the shower, I just got to thinking about that. (Side note: Does anyone else do their best thinking while they're taking a shower, or is it just me?) Especially in the past week, I've spent a lot of time beating myself up over things, and tonight I had someone in-my-face call me out on what they saw as a beautiful quality.
And I agree with him.
I love the heart that I have for people. I love that I empathize so deeply when the people I care about are hurting. I love that putting aside my own junk to help someone else out feels like the easiest thing in the world to do. I love that, somehow, saying what is on my heart in my best attempt to comfort and encourage the people I love almost always ends up being "exactly what they needed to hear."
But most of all, I love that I put 100% of my heart into every relationship that I make. Do I sometimes choose to do that with people who don't deserve it? You bet. Does it get me stepped on sometimes? Yep. Do words get misconstrued? Yep. Do people make something out of nothing and accuse me of things that aren't true? Yep. My heart has been abused and bruised more times than I can recall, and broken a few times, too, yet I never stop putting it on the line when I know I care about someone. A very dear friend told me once, "The fact that you are still willing to put yourself out there with people after all the abuse you've gone through, it's a real testament to the kind of person you are and the heart that you have."
A lot of times, usually in the immediate aftermath of a hurt or betrayal, I find myself wishing that I didn't love people so deeply, but in all honesty, I know in my soul that I was made this way for a reason, and I wouldn't change it for anything. This heart that I have, I think it's played a big part in bringing me some of the most beautiful and loyal friends I could have ever dreamed of. It helps me to be there for the people I love in the way that they need me to be. That's enough.
So from now on, I'm making a pact with myself to not only start trying to focus on the parts of me that I actually like (because we all need a little self-affirmation now and again), but also to stop wishing I didn't love people like I do. This is a part of me, a gift I can share with others, and I don't want to waste any more time wishing it away.