A few weeks ago I had the strangest of dreams that was both disturbing and illuminating, and while I don’t remember all the twists and turns and details, I will tell you the main point of it that affected me for days after having the dream. I’m not sure how exactly I got there, or what the set-up was, but somehow I ended up in a bar / night club with all of my friends, and it was open mic night. However, it appears all of my friends had matching outfits, and were putting on a collective (and rehearsed) show, where each of them was showing off their particular talents. They were all very good, and very entertaining, but it was bugging me that they didn’t once offer for me to join them in their escapades. I was very impressed with each person’s talent and presence, and yet I felt excluded and unappreciated. It was an ah-hah moment in humility, to realize (or at least I was realizing this in my dream) that I am such a stage hog that I hadn’t really ever given enough screen time to my friends for them to shine like they can, and it was an awakening realization to see what my friends were capable of, how beautiful and powerful they are, what strengths and talents they have, and just how much in the end of the day they don’t need me to survive — they are self-sufficient.
Now, I know this is all going on in my head while I am dreaming, so not only is it the constructed reality of my mind, but it’s also one blissfully divorced from the constraints of rationality and experiential input. This isn’t really happening. All the same, it gives me pause to think about whether or not I give my friends enough credit for being who they are and being as powerful and capable as they are. Of course, I value them, and I don’t make friends with lesser people — I’m sort of a friend snob that way :). But it appears that part of me thinks I take them for granted, and I tend to be a pretty perceptive guy, so I’m paying attention to my own self-criticism.
All of my friends — I love you, and I see you for the beautiful amazing people that you are; this is why you’re my friend. The last five or six years of my life have been about learning humility, and learning to take the back seat when my impulse might be otherwise. I need to get comfortable being in the audience and not getting my hand called in class. I guess part of me is always seeking approval, always looking for validation, and I learned in my teens and twenties how to demand attention in order to get that validation. Now, in my thirties, as a parent and a full-fledged adult (hah), I’m learning to accept my own value through the fact of my having so many friendships with such amazing people, and most importantly because I feel worthy and complete. I didn’t make friends easily as a child, I was very sensitive and socially clumsy, so more often than not I’d stick my foot in my mouth, get laughed at, and run away crying. Part of me is still like that, but you all know that. I don’t run away, but I blush and laugh at myself. I still (often) stick my foot in my mouth, as glib and smooth as I might pretend that I am. Being articulate and being smooth are not the same thing at all. And all of you know I’m still pretty sensitive — a blessing and a curse, I suppose.
Anyhow, I just wanted to tell you that I’m learning to let you have the lime-light, and I’m really really enjoying the show. You guys rock.