Not frequently enough, but often I reflect on thanks to all the people in my life. No thanks to me. Thanks to them. I am deeply grateful for the many selfless supporters of me, my business, my vision, and my family. I have done nothing noteworthy in a vacuum. That my children have food to eat and a home for refuge is due to the outpouring of love and care from many, many incredible superhumans. From family to friends to clients to peers, I’m astonished at how many truly selfless people have touched the journey through which I still endeavor.
I just thank everybody.
In dark moments, I’ve had friends just show up, traveling across the world, without hesitation or question, to simply be present. I have buddies who had the perspective to anticipate need when I abruptly travelled for my father’s funeral. I’ve had family just open their homes without question. I’ve had clients bend schedules and increase support during my times of challenge. I once had a peer express sympathy for the death of my best friend BEFORE I even knew I’d lost him.
While sadly others pat themselves on the back for empty condolences (ie - them: “let me know if there’s anything I can do;” me: “yes, actually, is it possible to...;” them: *crickets*), I had genuine awesome people step up in tangible ways which they didn’t need to do, weren’t expected to do, and certainly never asked to do.
I thank everybody.
And I realize how dark it must seem for people who have so little support. It can be quite challenging to conjure up a “thank you” when you are in tough moments. When sitting in a dark mental space, I have two thoughts for you:
1.) there are more people willing and ready to be your ally than you realize
2.) there are more people willing and ready to be my enemy than you realize
To the first one, the substance of character in others is greater than you can imagine. You’ve seen it. People want something worthwhile for which they’ll fight. They’ll spend hours on debates and subjects which have nothing to do with them, about which they know little, and for which their efforts have no practical application. Ask those people for support. Ask them to make a real contribution to a real human they actually know in a real way. Give them an opportunity to be more than a keyboard warrior and a caricatured antagonist.
To the second, as much support as I have, 100-to-1, people wish for my failure. They pray for it. Crabs in a bucket don’t rejoice at the sight of one climbing out. Out of jealously and low confidence, there are people I know who not only didn’t give a rip when I had Lyme disease or the many times we almost lost our son in the ER, I get a sense they were pleased, sitting well in their schadenfreude. Several times, to my total surprise, people of whom I’d always spoken highly, just went radio silent or actively worked against me in my moments of great success or great defeat.
And I thank them too. The fakes, the phonies, the many, many broken people with chips on their shoulders, inimical as they are, and as incapable of support as they choose to be - thank you. I don’t mean it tongue-in-cheek. I mean it. You have shown me by comparison how incredible the other people in my life are. And I’ve learned from you that I should not become hard-hearted or indifferent even to you, even to those who choose enmity - for it is the easy path, the common path, the empty path.
That’s the beauty of naysayers and detractors. They make evident just how wonderful your real supporters are. And they aren’t to be hated or reviled. They’re to be pitied, loved, and thanked as well. And I hope people can apply this understanding to all their enemies, to all the indifferent wallflowers, to all the empty words of pseudo-support.