It’s been a long week at the office.
You’re standing at the desk of your supervisor, because she called you there, and you nervously pick at a stray cuticle behind your back as you wait for her phone conversation to end.
You are exhausted. All of your energy has been spent completing this project on time, and you have worked countless overtime hours this month to make it happen. You take a deep breath, hoping to calm your nerves.
The conversation wraps up, and you compose your face into the hopeful pleasantness of someone expecting good news– certainly not bad news.
Please be satisfied with the work I have done. Please notice my extra effort. Please tell me “Good Job.”
Your thoughts ring loudly in your ears as the all-important authority figure in front of you finally replaces the phone on the receiver.
You hold your breath, and wait for her to speak.
Your girlfriend finally leaves the apartment, seeking groceries or some other necessity, and you can finally breathe.
She didn’t notice! Amazing! You think as you race into the bathroom and resume scrubbing the bathtub, pausing to throw aside the hastily-dropped laundry you had placed over the cleaning supplies.
You have roughly forty minutes before she returns. Forty minutes in which to complete your master plan: to scrub the home inch by inch until it shines.
This is crazy. Smiling to yourself, you wonder how to work the special toilet-cleaning wand that she just purchased. You’ll figure it out.
She has been so stressed lately. You recall her restlessly moving from room to room yesterday evening, sighing as she searched for a misplaced skirt, disgusted by the state of disarray that she was living in. She never lets it go this far without taking the time to clean. Something is wrong.
You effortlessly locate the broom and separate it from its dustpan with a flourish, ready to tackle the crumbs of doom coating the kitchen floor. You jab at an unseen enemy with your crumb-covered light saber, thrilled with the outcome sure to arrive shortly.
Please love me for the work I have done. Please notice the effort I put in, especially and only for you. Please tell me what a good job I have done.
You hang up the phone, tears still in your eyes, and stare forlornly at the carpet in front of your curled toes. Sitting on the floor always makes you feel better. Why isn’t it working?
You reach for a tissue and blow your nose again, mildly curious at the sheer capacity your sinuses contain. The curiosity passes. The cloud returns.
It’s all your fault. He left you, and you know without a doubt you had everything to do with it. You weren’t good enough. Smart enough, funny enough, engaging enough, serious enough, beautiful enough, sexy enough.
You try to bat away all of those awful, irrational, untrue thoughts– but right now, you’re quickly losing ground. You don’t have the energy left to fend them off anymore. After one last feeble effort, you collapse into their swirling web of lies.
You cry until exhaustion forces a halt, and you climb up into bed. You yearn for someone, anyone, to be there.
Please tell me I’m good enough. Please tell me it’s not my fault. Please tell me I’m still worth it.
What is it that you are longing to hear today? This week? This year?
What message do you desperately miss?
What words would make everything better, make you stronger, make you able to take on the world again?
What do you need to hear?
This week I realized my own ability to tell these things to myself.
I don’t need anyone else to hold me up, to tell me that everything will be alright, and that I’m still doing the best I can. Even though it can be wonderful to hear these things, sometimes they are hard to believe.
These things are much harder to ignore when they come from your own mouth.
If you need validation from a job well done, celebrate yourself. If you need kindness after a hard week, provide it.
What do you need to hear today?
And, if this is too difficult– and trust me, sometimes, it just is–read them here. From me, to you.
You are good.
You are loved.
You are enough.
You have done as well as you could have possibly done.
Your effort is noticed and appreciated.
Someday, you may be able to say these life-giving words to yourself, softly, in the comfort of your own silence. And when that moment comes, you will have incredible power.
“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.”
― Leo Buscaglia