Erica sent me an email as a follow up to our visit. I wanted to share a section of it with you all (I hope that's OK, Erica):
I meant to mention this earlier, but off the top of my head, there is one artist I get give-up jealous over who lives about 45 minutes from me, down in B-----. She does this collage work as well as pastel and photography that is stunning, and she has this relatable and fun social persona I will never ever have. But I'm so glad she does, it suits her particularly well. And the way she combines art and people... and art with art... and people with people.... And did I mention the barn sale and workshops she runs every year? To share her artistic joy? Yeah. I feel very privileged to know this person. Very.
So I'm reading the first sentence and thinking, "Oh good. An artist referral. I need a few more people for the show. And how convenient she lives in my same city."
By the second sentence I was getting a little nervous, and maybe a hair jealous. Now my thoughts were somewhere in the neighborhood of, "Hey! Those are my mediums! And we already HAVE another photographer. I mean she sounds really great and all, but what if my work can't compete with hers? But Erica does have a really good eye..."
I seriously didn't connect until the end of the third sentence, when I read about the barn sale and workshops that Erica was talking about ME.
I have been thinking about this all day. Granted, I immediately started laughing when I realized what a dolt I was. Being jealous of myself? Really?
As I reread the message, I had to agree that I do have all those qualities and I do do all those things, but it caught me off guard to have them pointed out with such praise and exception.
Now I am not usually someone who struggles with self esteem. I have been accused of being too arrogant on occasion. But even I didn't recognize my own worth when it was spelled out, line by line in front of me. Yet aren't we all like that? I wonder why it's so much more innate to think that we are nothing special, that our talents are just pedestrian, simply because we are used to having them? In fact, it almost seems like bad manners to embrace the excellence that is unique to each of us.
But I think that just like me, we are each greater than the sum of our being. That our lives are filled with continual acts of kindness and personal sacrifice for the greater good. That we are daily exceeding our own estimations of who we are and what we have accomplished that day. That we radiate a light from within, only visible to those in the world around us.
Please pretend today that someone wrote an email to you just like the one Erica wrote to me, full of praise and wonder about your details. Know that someone out there sees your greatness. They see your love, talent, and sacrifice. It is easy for them to recognize that you are so very much more than enough.
Because you are exponentially more than you think.
“What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.”― Ralph Waldo Emerson
*quote and RWE photo source here