Last week I received the following email:

Hi Christine!

My name is Ann and we were on the Self-Directed Learning call this morning.  I hope you don’t mind me writing.  I looked you up on the discussion board and really wanted to reach out and let you know that hearing your story in class today was very inspiring to me.  You seem like a very courageous person who knows what she wants and isn’t afraid to shake things up and make your dreams a reality.  I admire you!

–“Ann (from Pennsylvania)”

Thank you, Ann, you made my day. I wasn’t having a bad day, but this little note sure kicked my day up a notch. It was a nice reminder to me that (forgive me for using an rather over-used phrase these days) being authentic is often appreciated by others.

I couldn’t help but love being referred to as courageous. Moi?! Weird, independent, heck, even crazy often fits. But courageous? Is it silly to say I don’t often think of myself that way?

But this email got me to thinking that we often fall into patterns. Patterns of how we view the world, ourselves, and maybe even life in general. Without input from others, our interpretations of who we are often remain static. It takes someone else’s input to shake things up. Hopefully for the good. I find it is the little things, like what my mother once said:

Well, someone once put that couch together, you can figure out how to take it apart. (This said to me when I was fretting over HOW could I reupholster the thing)

Or the bigger stuff, like my Dad saying:

I am really enjoying your book. You are such a good writer, the book just pulls me in. It has generated a lot of reactions in me, but as of right now, the overriding feeling I have is that this book is so real. You have formed your characters as very believable, three dimensional people. And the world in which you have placed them in is totally natural and familiar. Though you have created a rich tapestry of details, it is not the details so much as the way you have seamlessly and, apparently, effortlessly integrated into the story without having them call attention to themselves. You have really hit your stride.

Or simply the words of Mom again, years ago when she said:

Christine, you inspire me.

These are the words that echo in my mind when I am faced with trying times, moments of self-doubt and fear over what tomorrow will bring. Mark Twain once said, “I can live for two months on a good compliment” and he was right on.

It is often those thoughtful words said to others that change lives and open up new worlds of possibilities. All that we are, the endless possibility and potential that lie within, are awakened and pushed to exist with just a few simple words of encouragement. Whose life can you change just by a simple note that reminds them they are unique, worthy of love or respect, and are cared for?

Something to think about…