Monday, 13 June 2016

How Loved Ones See Us

Holding HandsIn general, people don’t see themselves very clearly. We put ourselves down, suffer with self-doubt, or just don’t think very highly of ourselves. But when this happens, our friends and family rally behind us, feeding us positivity and encouragement. This is because they can see us for who we truly are. They see us, whereas when we look at ourselves, it’s through the reflection of a distorted mirror, like at a funfair, that our negativity becomes.

For today’s group post, the friends and family of Jo, Jess, Faye and Ray will introduce you to the people they see, know and love, with our responses; compared to their description of us, how distorted is our view of ourselves? And how does it feel that these people they see are actually us?

Jo’s Best Friend Adam (who calls her Red due to her hair colour):

Red is a very close friend of mine. She's smart, funny and a lifelong reader. She loves the occasional drop or two of tequila. Always there if I need to rant a little, or a lot, and doesn't judge.
She's a cool geek and we can talk about everything from Doctor Who, to classic literature. She puts herself down a lot. But I suppose we all do. I've always thought she has no reason to, though. She's kind and loyal and I don't hold the fact that she's English against her [Jo: He’s Irish *eye roll*].
Mainly though, she's my friend. I trust her with anything. And I can't imagine life now without her in it.

Jo’s Reaction:

So I read what Adam wrote and mostly smiled. The tequila, the cool geek, the English comment. Things we've joked about quite often in our six year friendship. I was surprised to read I put myself down a lot. I actually thought I was doing pretty well in how I talk about and view myself. Perhaps I put myself down more than I actually realise, unconciously, without even thinking. Perhaps it's becoming habitual, that I don't even consider it putting myself down, and rather just something I do - or something that's not considered at all. That's really, really sad. I intend to be more aware of how I talk about myself, the words I use, and my thinking behind them. It might be hard, but I really think I need to do better.

But... that very last line made me pretty emotional. And I guess here is where I see Adam's point about me putting myself down, because, well, I've always considered that in our friendship, I benefit more than he does. I've had a tough time over the previous couple of years, and to be honest, I don't know how I would have got through them without leaning on Adam. I've leaned on him a lot. I've had a lot to cry and rant about, and a lot that scared me. It left me feeling our friendship was unbalanced, that Adam wasn't getting as much from me as I was from him. I put down my ability to be a friend, and although I knew Adam valued our friendship, I couldn't help worrying that maybe our friendship would peter out when he got tired of me leaning on him and having to hold me up. So reading that last line... it made me super happy, but there was this huge sense of relief. 'He does want to be my friend!' I thought. It sounds pathetic typing that (there I go again, eh?), but it's what I thought. I had no real reason to feel our friendship was rocky, but that last line reassured me of how solid our friendship is. But even without how I worried about our friendship, that last line is pretty amazing, huh? 

Jess’ Best Friend Ray:

How do I even begin to describe Jess? Eight years ago we were two Twilight fangirls who started mutually stalking each other on various bookish threads and now here we are – best friends, soul twins, Threadsisters (ask me about that reference), two peas in a very weird pod who can’t imagine life anymore without the other. I could reel off an enormous list of superlatives that still wouldn’t cover who she is to me. Kind, generous, whip-smart, passionate like you wouldn’t believe, supportive, loyal like only a Hufflepuff can be, STRONG AS FUCK- I’m not messing she is cuddly and wonderful on the outside but ruffle this Hufflepuff’s feathers then you’re in some serious shit and you’ll know it.

Jess pours so much of herself into her work online and sometimes when doubt creeps in and makes her question whether all that time and effort is worth it, I want to snatch those thoughts away so they won’t bother her because she works incredibly hard and *so* many people love and appreciate her for what she does. She hauls me back up when I’m feeling crap and I do everything in my power to do the same for her. Jess will also boss me around like a long-serving spouse in such a way that I can’t ever get mad at her. Which she totally knows and is proud of because she is living that Hermione Granger life like a BOSS.

Jess – you know me better than I know myself half the time and I am endlessly awed by your magnificence. You are magic.

Jess’s Reaction:

Wow, reading this was very emotional and by the time I reached the end I had tears trickling down my cheeks. I’m going to have to get this printed out and framed to put in my bedroom so that I can look at it on days when I’m feeling sad or doubting myself. I think that what I love most about what Ray has shared is that as well as all of the good things she sees and loves about me, she also loves the not so great traits just as much (I am bossy as HELL) because they make me me, her best friend. It’s so nice to know that I have someone in my life who sees me so clearly and who loves all of me not just the good parts.

Faye’s Best Friend Michelle: 

I met Faye through twitter when I started my book blog at the end of 2014 and we have become good friends ever since. I feel like I have known Faye for years and years. All my life. This is a credit to her kind, caring and welcoming nature. I see Faye as loyal and loving to her friends and family. She is always there to listen and to give you a hug when you need it in real life or a virtual hug. Faye listens and gives good honest advice when needed. To me Faye’s smile and laugh brighten up any room and her snuggles make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside. I also know Faye in a professional capacity. She is organised and enthusiastic about everything she is involved with and her ideas are always bright and imaginative. I also see that sometimes Faye can lack confidence in the things she does, but everything she does is amazing so I am going to take this opportunity to say Faye, you are a brave and wonderful human being, believe this and carry on being you! I love you very much!

Faye’s Reaction: 

First of all, I have to say that this paragraph about me made me cry. Because I would never have said any of those things about myself. I know that I care deeply about others and that I’m loyal, it almost physically hurts when someone I love is hurting and there’s nothing I can do to help. But I would also say I’m hard to get along with, shut off from the world, and can be a very infuriating person. I also feel like I go over the top with enthusiasm and that my laugh and hyperness is annoying and I’m so self-conscious of how awful my laugh sounds. But I do admit, I love big bear hugs. She definitely has it right on about my professional self, I definitely lack confidence, and even as I read those compliments I am still sitting here doubting they’re true but appreciating that she sees me that way. Maybe one day I’ll believe that it’s true.


Ray’s Boyfriend Mark:

Rachel is a person of two halves.

The first, a backseat driver. Happy to stay in bed late; put things off as long as possible; avoid responsibility whenever possible; and downplay her own achievements.

The second, a practical superwoman. She reads at the speed of light; is incredibly intelligent; absorbs knowledge like a basking lizard; and picks up new skills first try, aiming to master them instantly. She is incredibly empathetic to those in need around her, always ready to lend an ear and shouldering the burdens of others. She can be incredibly active; happy to go on long walks, camping, swimming, climbing (potentially) and generally open to wacky and wonderful activities such as indoor sky-diving.

Rachel's biggest flaw is that she has a tendency to leave her superwoman costume in the closet, happy to take the path of least resistance. With a little dusting of the costume she could achieve pretty much anything she could ever want. A little more confidence and faith in her abilities and she could have her own army of fans.

Ray’s Reaction: 

Hoo boy, there was a few emotions leaking from my eyes just then. Wow. I would be the first person to agree with everything in that first paragraph, there is no denying how much I love my sleep and if my tweets from the last year were used as evidence I’d be convicted of extreme procrastination in a heartbeat.
The second paragraph is what got me misty-eyed, I have never entertained the notion of me as some kind of superhero so having that said about me is incredibly moving although I have to work pretty damn hard to stifle that voice that seeks to deny every wonderful thing mentioned.
I’d like to try wearing that superwoman costume more often, I might just need a reminder every now and then that I still have it.


I think all four of us learnt something about ourselves through this experience. How about you take the leap and ask how your loved one see you, too? If this is something you'd like to do, but feel nervous or don't know how to approach it, take a look at Danielle LaPorte's Ask-a-Friend Survey, and maybe send the questions on to someone who loves you. I hope you learn to see yourself in a better light, just like we did.

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