Good Morning! Welcome to day 15 of my self commitment to write each day for 15 minutes.
I am currently listening to Christmas Coffee House on Spotify and watching my new robot vacuum run around my house trying to clean up after Billy.
This morning on my way to my first meeting I heard an incredible thing on NPR. They had a local Firefighter from Indianapolis on to talk about their peer support program. He told a story of when he was so overwhelmed by the emotionality of his job that he found himself drinking a lot more after work. One morning his superior came to him to let him know he would be getting a standard procedure random drug test. He made a joke to his peers that he wouldn’t be seeing them for awhile. Part of the drug test is also a Breathalyzer and because of the amount of drinking he had been doing the alcohol he consumed the night before showed up on the test and he was suspended.
He then proceeded to talk about how the peer to peer support program had changed him. You could hear in his voice that tears were welling up in his eyes. He talked about how without the program he doesn’t know where he would be and he has the program and his wife to thank for his recovery. “I don’t know where I would be without my wife, sometimes you just need someone to tell you they are proud of you”,” he said choking back his tears.
I couldn’t help be so thankful for this man and what this entire conversation and vulnerability represents for so many people. And it struck me, “Sometimes you just need someone to tell you they are proud of you.”
This is a man who runs into burning buildings for a living. Of course he needs a peer to peer support system. Of course he needs to find a proper outlet to talk about all of the things he has seen and experienced. Of course.
But we don’t have to be firefighters and local heroes to have the need to be told that someone is proud of us. We all need to be seen and heard and recognized.
Prior to that segment was a discussion about children needing to have people give them their time and attention. It referenced the modern social age of “attention currency” meaning if I post to Facebook or Instagram I will get a few likes and that is the attention currency that I will receive for this work, for showing up as myself and being vulnerable.
But do you know what really keeps me going? When I run into someone at the office or in the city and they tell me that they read my writing and it really helped them discover something for or about themselves. I need that human interaction, I need that real attention currency. And so do our firefighters.
Sometimes when I am texting with my girlfriends about dating I will say, “A like on Facebook is not a romantic gesture, I need more, right?”. I ask this as if maybe it’s time that I accept attention currency online as a replacement for real world attention. Of course I know better, but it is my little nudge to myself and my accountability to yes, expect more than just online attention currency.
We are all just looking for someone to tell us they are proud of us. Think about that, the simplicity.
I am an avid note writer, which probably doesn’t surprise you if you read my blog. I love leaving little notes, of putting personal sentiments inside a card or on a special piece of paper and sending them out into the world to let people know how proud of them I am. But I could do it more, couldn’t we all?
I am so proud of you today. For showing up, for being you, for getting out of bed. I am so proud to know you and to have you read my writing and interact with me. I am so very proud of you today.
And I encourage you to find someone in your life who you can let know that you are proud of them too.