Friendship · Mental health · Mindfulness

“We are good people before we ever write a word”

Writers get confused. We think writing gives us an excuse for being alive. We forget that being alive is unconditional and that life and writing are two separate entities. Often we use writing as a way to receive notice, attention, love. “See what I wrote. I must be a good person.” We are good people before we ever write a word.

– Natalie Goldberg

I am invited to a friend’s birthday party after a week of being sick. I’ve spent the week at home with my kids, cuddling with sick boys and caring little about my appearance. When the day of the party arrives the peace I had been experiencing all week is shattered as I all of a sudden begin to worry about what I will wear. Nothing I own is good enough, I am no longer enough. Where did all of this come from? I was just perfectly happy in my own skin and now I am convinced that my entire value as a person is placed on how stylish I look for this party.

I go to the party and have a fun time. Not because of the new shirt I wear but because I am happy to be there with good people. Although I do catch myself occasionally comparing my outfit to the others in the room. When we leave I think to myself “Andrea, did the clothes make any difference?” No, they didn’t. I would’ve been just as happy, I would’ve had just the same conversations that evening had I been wearing a hoodie and yoga pants. My friends do not talk to me because of my pretty clothes or how great my hair looks, or anything else I might use to try and place value on myself. No, I am worthy of friendship because I am good. And not because of anything I’ve done. I just am. I just am enough. And so are they. Though I wouldn’t be surprised if I am not the only one struggling to believe this.

As humans we get confused. “See what I’m wearing, I must be beautiful.” No. We are beautiful people before we ever chose the shirt.

I love this scene in Little Women, when Jo March shares a similar message:

I find it poor logic to say that because women are good, women should vote. Men do not vote because they are good; they vote because they are male, and women should vote, not because we are angels and men are animals, but because we are human beings and citizens of this country.

We are good, we are beautiful, we vote, we write, we deserve friendship, we deserve love. Not because we are successful or talented or smart or funny or kind or dress sexy. But because we are human. Before we ever close that deal or write that book. Before we ever say that joke or give that speech. Before we ever buy that car or wear that shirt. We are worthy, we are enough. You are worthy, you are enough. I am worthy, I am enough.

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