For nearly four years now (can't believe that!), many mornings find me typing quietly away on this keyboard. Taking random ideas, in random order, and trying to wrestle them into words and sentences that make sense.
I do so mainly in the hopes of encouraging someone who reads it.
But in the past week, I've received two messages from readers telling me that some of my words have had the opposite effect--that they have proven themselves discouraging instead. This always saddens me to hear--because I have felt the same way when reading in the blogosphere.
When I first discovered the plethora of blogs in the online universe, I loved reading what everyone else was doing--with their lives, with their children, with their homes. But at times I left the computer with a gnawing sense of dissatisfaction or discontentment.
Four years later, I don't have that feeling nearly as often. The reason is that I've learned and internalized a phrase that has given me confidence when I read the words of others, and here it is:
"That's just not for me."
Rarely have I ever read someone's words, in a book or a post, and thought that their mission was to purposely discourage others. Most writers are not in the business with that aim!
We can enjoy each others' work without feeling the pressure to imitate what someone else has done. When you begin reading--either here or elsewhere--and that gnawing feeling, the one of not being or doing "enough" comes, may I give you some advice?
Close your laptop--that message is not for you.
It's lovely that some mamas at home knit with their children--but it's not for me.
It's wonderful that we back out of our driveway like this--but that doesn't mean you have to.
I enjoy baking with my children, but you might hate it. That's okay!
We'll never find the good life through words that make us feel bad or discouraged. Yet the good life is always on offer, and we step toward it by connecting and following the right messages--for us.
"Words - so innocent and powerless as they are, as standing in a dictionary,
how potent for good and evil they become in the hands of
one who knows how to combine them."
~ Nathaniel Hawthorne