Be Your Own Valentine
The ChickieNob and her friend have branched out from their original magazine idea to include a bunch of book spinoffs that they work on after school. They use up a lot of my staples. And a lot of paper. It’s almost as if they hate trees and are attempting to single-handedly fell an entire forest-worth of trees by consuming more paper than thought humanly possible. But this is not a post about how trees are clearly not the ChickieNob’s valentine. (Of course not; she also sent out dozens of paper valentines to friends. And beyond that, it would be cruel to send a paper valentine to a tree, you know…)
It’s about how much she loves her work.
It is amazing to watch someone who is unabashedly in love with their work. She should be in love with her work. She has invested care and time and energy into producing these stapled-together books, and they are the best ChickieNob-produced stapled books. She doesn’t look at them and say, “they don’t look like the books on our shelves.” She isn’t comparing because there is no comparison: only the ChickieNob can make a ChickieNob-like book, just as whoever writes the Magic Tree House books is the only person who can write Magic Tree House books in the way that she writes Magic Tree House books. The ChickieNob brings her stapled-together books into the kitchen where I’m baking and tells me that they’ve made yet another fabulous book, and I may want to get an envelope ready so we can send it out to publishers.
It is very easy to be someone else’s valentine. It is easy to see their good qualities and want that person in our life. It is easy to describe why I love Josh or the twins.
It is much harder to be my own valentine. To see my good qualities and want to celebrate them. It is hard to describe why I love myself, if I love myself at all. Maybe it’s more like than love. Or maybe, on some days, I just endure myself.
It is very easy to be impressed by the way another person does whatever they do that you do too: say they are a great doctor, rock climber, wife, student. It is easy to see where someone else excels in their work or the way they lead their life. Frankly, it’s easy to see it because we look for it, trying to find the comparisons to ourselves. Sometimes we notice these things and feel like the other person deserves more accolades because they have something we don’t have, and sometimes we are confused as to why that paper got an A when ours only got a B.
An aside: I love the way A Half Baked Life says it: “I can do this when people experience joy in things that I don’t want; now it’s up to me to practice joy even when the achievement is something I would have wanted, too.” (See, easy to be a valentine to AHBL’s words.)
It is much harder to be impressed with your own work, to say that I’m a great doctor, rock climber, wife, student. (By the way, I’m expecting in this space that you are filling in whatever actions or roles are important to you.) It is sometimes hard to write a resume without wondering if you’re boasting; if everything you’re saying is true. I mean, yes, you know you can lead a team because you’ve done it before… but… are you really a good leader? See, it’s easy to second-guess yourself.
It is very easy to love someone else’s blog posts. To highlight a turn-of-phrase or suck in your breath over an a-ha moment of having similar thoughts explained in a perfect way. To state all the reasons why you love someone else’s writing. I’ve done it every week for almost seven years with the Friday Blog Roundup.
It is much harder to love your own blog posts. To sit back after you write something and say, “well that sure as hell is perfect.” To state all the reasons why millions should check in daily to see your thoughts. To state why you love the way you write.
I’m going to ask you to do something hard today. I’m going to ask you to look at your space and say, “hey, I wrote something worth reading this week.” Because I promise you; you did. It may not be the most fantastic thing you’ve ever written; it may not be the post you’ll pick next winter for the Creme de la Creme, but there was something you said this week that is worth a person’s time to look at. Because they were your thoughts; just that. And your thoughts have value, even when they’re not perfectly polished.
I’m going to ask you to be your own valentine and choose one of your posts written between February 8th and February 14th (and if you haven’t written this week, it’s fine to whip something up, post it, and submit that). I’ve already picked my posts for the Roundup tomorrow, but this list will take the last slot; a collective effort of the ALI blogosphere for a week when more than one person has said they feel disconnected.
A catch: so that the list can go up on the Roundup tomorrow, it will close to submissions at 10 pm EST tonight.
So fill out the form below (don’t leave the post name and URL in the comment section) and check back tomorrow to see the list.
The submission form is now closed. Check here tomorrow to see the list.
Happy Valentine’s Day.