Syrupy sweet, and not true

This was originally posted on my old blog on 16 May 2012.

I just saw this on a friend’s Facebook wall:

When you have faith in yourself, you don’t need others to believe in you.

That’s simply not true. We’re interconnected creatures, we need each other. It’s only the most exceptionally exceptional among us who could keep having faith in themself when nobody else does. We don’t like hearing this, but unfortunately a truth doesn’t become untrue if we dislike it hard enough: you need people to affirm you, to believe in you, to give you positive messages about yourself. Sometimes, it only takes one, but more likely, you’ll be your best if you find friends who see the best you can be.

The flip side is true: we all need to understand just how crucial our role in others’ lives is. You can affirm, build up, encourage, or break down and kill spirit. Which will it be?

I remember watching a documentary about Karen Carpenter years ago, and I wish I could find it now. What stands out in my memory is someone, it might have been her brother, remembering how during her teens, Karen overheard someone say to a friend: “If only she wasn’t so fat.” From that point onward, Karen became obsessed with her weight. Of course there’s a myriad factors involved in a disease such as anorexia, but who knows? Maybe if Karen had heard: “What a beautiful young woman that is,” it might have set her on a different path. So much rests on us not so much believing in each other, but seeing and highlighting what’s good.