Have you ever had someone say something to you that forced you to entirely re-evaluate everything you’ve thought about yourself? It’s only happened to me a couple of times in my life, but it has been life-altering every time.
35 years ago or so I met this person. We’ll call her ‘Nancy’. We moved in the same friend circles. We knew all the same people, shared many friends, etc. We did not get along. I knew she could see right through me, and that she didn’t like what she saw. She terrified me because of that.
Fast forward to about 10 years ago or so when I reconnected with a bunch of those old friends, and we started moving in the same circles. We ended up being forced to spend time together. She could tell that I was not the same person, and we ended up becoming friends.
Believe me when I say that it was not something that I ever saw happening.
And now …
I was having a celebration of sorts down here in Florida at my friend Pat’s house. I invited ‘Nancy’, and another friend and her husband. (I actually invited a few other people, but those were the only ones that could make it.) It was a big life-event for me, and we all had an unbelievably wonderful time.
That’s ‘Nancy’ in the middle, and she’ll likely hate me for posting that picture. They brought me cards and some thoughtful – and hilarious – gifts to celebrate.
But then ‘Nancy’ gave me a card. To her, it was just a nice card she found, as one does. When I opened it, it brought me to tears.
I realized that this is how ‘Nancy’ saw me. This was not how I had ever seen myself. And this person, who had become one of closest and dearest friends over the past 10 years, saw me this way.
It made me re-evaluate my internal narrative of myself.
That card has been sitting on my nightstand down here for the past 2 weeks, and every time I look at it I get hit with this wave of emotion. It hits me again that this is how other people (at least this other person) sees me.
I have to entirely shift how I see myself. To ‘Nancy’ it was just a card. To me, it was a watershed moment. A life-altering moment. I have to try to see myself as that person, not the way I have always seen myself.
Thank you ‘Nancy’. For being my friend. For being there for me. For changing me.