“You are important.”
“In the grand scheme of things, you are not really all that important.”
It can be fun to play ‘Devil’s Advocate’ and argue the other side of any argument that might come your way. I can either maximize or minimize, depending on the initial statement:
- What happens next pivots on what I do now vs. 10 years from now, who will care what I did today!
- Everyone is doing it vs. if everyone jumped off a bridge, should you?
- It’s my day, shouldn’t I have what I want vs. it’s just one day – is it worth going into debt for a 4 hour event?
It can be hard to know sometimes, where you stand on something because both arguments hold water and can seem so right.
How can you know which is right for you?
Many years ago I was struggling with a family issue and found that I could argue both sides of the argument so well that I was unable to make a decision. In talking it over with someone I had gone to for some guidance, he asked me a question:
Who does it hurt if you do this and who does it hurt if you don’t do this?
My route became clear. While it wasn’t really what I wanted to hear or do, it was the best course of action. I’ve remembered that and used this reasoning often since that time.
My February birthday this year fell on a weekday. Winter birthdays can be a challenge to celebrate so I was happy that on that specific day, I had work planned, it was sunny and not snowing, I received a request for a new piece of work and was asked to submit twp proposals. I got a few calls from family and friends, some lovely cards, and lots of Facebook affection.
It made me reflect that while I often think wishing people ‘happy birthday’ via social media is goofy and a little superficial, it might not be to the person getting the message. Every ‘Happy Birthday’ message brought with it the memory of that person. It might be how we met, or a recent conversation, or a time we shared together. But it mattered. Each card and call mattered. Because it made me feel like I mattered to them. Maybe just for that day – maybe even just for that moment. But it mattered.
I felt the same way when my parents died. It mattered that people came to the service. The cards and calls mattered. The Shiva visits mattered. The boy scouts who are now grown men that came to my father-in-laws memorial service made a difference to the family.
When you can’t be with your parents but you remember them on an anniversary, birthday, or holiday – remembering them matters and if they are alive, letting them know, makes a difference to them.
When someone is touted in the news for an achievement, reaching out to congratulate them makes a difference.
When someone has a challenge in their lives – an illness, a job loss, a divorce, a death in the family, or a hardship, connecting with them and letting them know that they are in your thoughts matters.
It may be easy to think that in the grand scheme of things, these little things don’t add up to much. Perhaps you think that other people don’t even notice your absence.
And they might not. Some people do not focus on who doesn’t come through, show up, or connect. They focus on the people who do.
Because it DOES matter, it is remembered, and it makes a difference.