Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Lesson Learned, Whitney: Be Someone Else's Biggest Fan

Here's essay #8 by the lovely and brilliant Whitney Roberts Ehle.

As a teenager, I remember several older people at church who would ask me about all the details of my life: my favorite school subjects, crushes on boys, my life goals, etc. These mentors would also tell me that I could take my talents and interests and use them to reach my goals. Their confidence made feel confident that I would be a Broadway singer, a heart surgeon, a famous novelist. I invited my mentors to my high school plays, and they came. After I sang a solo in church, they always made sure to tell me how well I had sung. They encouraged me in my desire to live a Christ-like life by praising me for the good decisions I made. Above all, their interest in my life made me feel insanely fascinating and exciting. I felt good about myself and my abilities when I was with them.

When I left for college, I found myself living in an apartment with six other girls who were all amazingly talented, intelligent, and beautiful. I loved my roommates dearly, and we were really good friends. But I found myself feeling mediocre. My ability to sing or play the piano was no longer anything out of the ordinary. After all, every Mormon girl can sing and play the piano, right? For a long time, I tried to do anything that would bring me the praise and confidence boosts I missed receiving from my high school mentors.

One day when I was singing slightly louder in church, so that the person sitting next to me would compliment me, I realized how ridiculous I was being. Yes, I was being plain ridiculous! The girl sitting next to me had a beautiful voice, and she probably liked it when others told her. After the song was over, I told her that her voice was beautiful, and I learned that I didn’t need to begrudge others the compliments that were their due. Rather than diminish my self-worth by complimenting my neighbor, I had actually increased my confidence. No, I didn’t necessarily feel more capable of conquering the world with song, but I felt more confident in my ability to love.

1 comment:


Oooh.. I totally relate to this. Thanks!