This is my favorite photo of my friend, Sue.
Captured mid-laugh, unaware photo was taken, doing the double hand grab.
(Ive absolutely no idea why I’m wearing that expression.)
The you matter to me. I’m present with you. double hand grab is a perfect metaphor for Sue’s life.
The first time we met I was newly a Texan, completely friend-free and trying to find where I fit in the land of BBQ and cowboy boots.
I’d been invited by a stranger I met in a checkout line (there are no accidents) to join a new group Sue was organizing.
All varying stages of life and career.
All coming together in an effort to figure it out (whatever our current *it* was).
We each departed that initial meeting feeling heard.
Only later did we realize Sue possessed the gift of making everyone feel understood.
It wasn’t so much she just listened without distraction—when you spoke she was wholly and utterly PRESENT.
The type of person about whom *everyone* said:
Oh you know Sue, too? She’s my best friend!
We all assumed we were her dearest friend because in every interaction she made us feel as though we mattered.
Toward the end of her life—-though we’d no idea it was coming—-Sue began to focus her work around the concept of mattering.
She lived her final bio-sentence.
She was my friend so I encouraged her.
She was my friend so I listened as she explained and defined her new venture.
She inspired me so I, too, tried to define mattering as it applied to my existence.
For me mattering was the extent to which we felt we made an impact on or are important to the world around us.
I strive daily to show others they ‘matter’ to me.
For Sue it just came naturally. Like a reflex.
Sue taught me our perception of how we ‘matter’ impacts everything we do.
- For some “mattering” is how important we believe we are to others/if we’d be missed if we went away. I hear talk of this in social media. Phrases such as “I didn’t tweet for a week and no one noticed” or “I put on Facebook I was struggling and no one commented.”
- For others “mattering” is measured by whether people listen to/act on what we say. I think many bloggers/vloggers can relate to this concept. Do we have influence? Are we making an impact?
- For many being depended upon is an indicator of “mattering.” I see this already in my daughter. She defines herself as a nurturer and feels she matters when others allow her to help and care for them.
My daughter needs to be needed to know she matters.
Mattering has been on my mind the past few months.
I still make a daily effort to show my daughter she matters.
I still consciously—with Sue in mind—place her in situations where she has opportunity to ‘matter’ as I’ve seen how it bolsters her self-confidence.
It was only recently, however, I fully grasped what Sue had talked about for so many years.
I’d understood what she meant, yet having always been blessed with an abundance of the sense I mattered, I didn’t really know what I had until it was gone.
- Lately I’ve struggled with feeling as though I don’t matter.
- Lately I’ve been on the receiving end of texts, phone calls and emails from women-friends struggling with the same thing.
Whether we call it feeling irrelevant, not feeling important, feeling unheard it all returns to Sue’s assertion of the importance of feeling as though we matter.
Mattering and her BFF Hope are crucial components to living a full and happy life.
And, since this misery loathes company (yet loves her some helper’s high), that’s my challenge to you today.
Assignment as a pay it forward tribute to my friend Sue’s life-mission cut short.
- Reflect on a time when you felt you mattered. An experience where you knew you were valued.
- After reminding yourself how fantastic mattering feels— go forth and let someone else know s/he matters to you.
This season can be hard (even to those who appear on the outside to be kicking ass and taking names) and you never know when your words might turn someone’s holidays–and life–around.