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Thursday, May 16, 2013

Uplifting Each Other

Something that has entered my awareness of late in a big way has to do with folks putting someone in their place. This happens in various ways but one of the most insidious is when a person feels it's their duty to make sure another person doesn't get too big of a head. I wonder why someone feels they have the right to take on this unasked-for job. For one thing, it assumes that the person who has achieved some sort of success isn't capable of managing their own ego. Who would even want the "knock 'em down a peg" kind of job? And if so, why? 

Here's a story from my own life where I was on the receiving end when someone I loved took on the job described above. Believe it or not it was on the actual joyous day I graduated with a BA from the University of Detroit in Art Education. The year was 1981. 

The only reason I was able to go to college was because there was governmental and institutional help in the form of grants for folks who didn't have the financial resources to go on to higher education. These grants were NOT loans. The funds imparted did not have to be paid back. They were based on need and someone's decision that I would succeed if given half a chance. Soon after the Carter administration, grants such as what I was gifted were booted right out the door, never to return. (Well, I'm reminded to say, "Never say never.") Around the second year of my 4-year college stint, I did have to take out a couple of loans to help pay for housing/books/supplies, but that was nothing in comparison to the debt students are saddled with today. Also, I worked several work-study jobs during the 4 years. Because my parents hadn't the means to help with my higher education, Chris and I paid back these loans over the course of the next ten years.

So on the day I walked down the aisle to receive my diploma...a diploma that stated clearly that I had graduated Magna Cum own Ma said after the event, "Don't think your s_ _t doesn't stink just because you have a degree." I can still hear the tone of voice this was said in to me. The pain is still felt all these years later, even as I type this. What does this say about me? After all these years I can honestly say 'nothing.' What does this say about her? Plenty. No need to dissect that now, but when we are reminded that words can cut like knives, that's no joke.

The proverbial apple didn't fall far from the tree when it was related that my own brother said to one of my sons, upon hearing that my first book, "Spinning Around," was finally published after 5 years of hard work, "Big deal." To this day I have not gotten one word of encouragement or otherwise from this brother regarding my book.

But what about when nothing is said to someone who achieves something good? I can tell you from personal experience that nothingness can be just as painful. Noticeably not acknowledging something, especially when such nothingness is calculated and is not a matter of simple negligence, just because a person feels it's their job to keep the other person's ego in check, is uncaring, hurtful, and can have long-lasting impact in a negative way. Plus, it truly only says something about the person who has taken on this nasty job. It says nothing about the person who has achieved something.  BTW, it matters not if the ego-blasting-person feels that what the other person achieved is truly good or not. What matters is that unconditional love and uplifting did NOT occur.

Please know that if there's any finger-pointing here, I'm not leaving myself out as totally innocent. I, too, have no doubt taken on the ego-blasting job during various moments in this life. However, now that I've come to terms regarding how unkind and unfair such a job is, I shall try not to let it muck up any further relationships ever again. I have no right whatsoever to even attempt to knock someone down a peg.

Let's consider stopping this nonsense and uplifting each other. Let's be happy for others. Let's always find the good in another person. It's in there. Find it! Let's applaud them for their efforts and achievements. Let's do our part to help the other person feel better about themself.  


  1. A painful, but beautifully written post, Jenny. I think the majority of us have a situation which still stings in words and emotion, despite the years between 'it' and the present. How much better to be joyful for one another! And as the years pass, that joy will always remain and blossom.

  2. Hello Nancy ~ You're a living example of one who uplifts and supports her fellow human beings. Thank YOU!