Life has confirmed with me that I live better when I am treated as though I am trustworthy, good, and essentially---important. I'm not trying to explain that everyone should treat me as though I am all that in a bag-a-chips. I am explaining what it feels like to be around people who treat you with Christlike love, the kind that makes you feel special, the purest, sweetest trust and respect that exists in this world. It can be shown in small and simple ways--but it's effects last forever.
A while back now, I had a dear friend a few years younger than me---okay a LOT younger (still in high school)...confide in me. She shared with me her confusion about her situation with her parents. She was 18, not graduated yet, and she was ready to move out. And her parents were ready for her to be gone too. (Or so she claimed). I asked her outright, "Have you done anything that would cause them to stop trusting you?" I wasn't looking for stories that were none of my business, and thankfully she didn't tell any. She understood my question and in a round about way she explained that yes, she had done some things that had frustrated her parents. And they only knew a fraction of what was really going on in her life.
Knowing that I could not rely on one side of the story, I tried to stay neutral, and understanding. She also told me about how she was truly trying to be a good person, but she felt like that part of her life wasn't seen by her parents, or anyone. She felt comfortable with her friends even though they enjoyed participating in activities she knew were inappropriate. She was sitting on the fence. She felt better on the outside with her friends. But inside, she yearned for closeness with her family, and mutual understanding with her parents. Sound familiar? I think we all feel this way at one time or another. I know her parents are wonderful people, and they were trying desperately to get through to their daughter. But they were trying to get her obedience by treating her like she was a bad child through and through. She had lost sight of the good in herself, but she knew deep in her heart what was right and she was trying to find a reason to get back on that path. The world was telling her to follow her friends, move out, give up, do what you want, and let go.
So there we were. I didn't know what to say, or how to help her see the path she needed to take. I asked Heavenly Father's help so many times. And I believe he told me to tell her what I've learned in my life.
* My parents trusted me. This phrase can mean so many things. To me, it meant they loved me, they respected my decisions, and they believed I was good.
So I told her, what I believe in my heart of hearts, that she is a wonderful girl. She has a strong testimony. Sure it was being tested, but she held on to what was true and good. I tried to remind her that she is important. She has a Heavenly Father who sees her as a choice daughter of His.
This was when she started to cry.
Satan wants us to believe that we are useless. We have done too many bad things to ever be good again. He wants us to give in to the world's philosophies. And at the bottom of the worst of the worst is that belief that we cannot be trusted, loved, or important.
He is a liar.
I bring up this story because in a different way I've re-experienced this life lesson. Sometimes it can be our parents, (even parents with the best of intentions) sometimes it's our dearest friends, and sometimes it's just someone we have to see everyday at work. But sometimes there's a person who makes you feel like you are scum. Worse than scum. Like you are just a bad person with bad intentions who wishes bad on all around you. Sometimes we believe them. Unfortunately. Recently, I started to do that. Someone expected the worst out of me and in trying to constantly defend myself I found myself questioning my intentions and the intentions of others. So I caught on today. And that's just not a game I want to play.
I am good. I am NOT perfect. But my intentions are good, just like pretty much everyone else. The people bad-to-the-core are really not as common as we sometimes think. Often we go about trying to get along in life and somehow we communicate but quite often it's awkward. And in our efforts to understand others we often misconstrue their intentions. But we must remember and believe that people are good. Even the people who are manipulative or negative nelly's or whatever, they are still on the same path we are of trying to do their best.
The people I love and respect and look up to, are the people who make me feel worth it. I feel comfortable around them with my imperfections because they make me feel like I am still good, important, trustworthy, and lovable.
I think it starts inside ourselves, understanding that we are children of Heavenly Father and we are inherently good. If we hold on to that belief it becomes a knowledge and then we start to see it in other people. It's so hard to constantly reassure someone who does not trust themselves. But we have to. Because if they can see they are important then they can become closer to our Savior and that's when changes happen.
I know that the Savior Jesus Christ knew that each one of us is worth it. Clearly he proved that by suffering for our sins, and being resurrected so that we might live again. Life experience and the choices we make leave us scarred and battered. But the Savior sees the good in each of us and He makes it possible for us to be whole again.
-Myra Brooks Welch, quoted in General Conference by President Boyd K. Packer, found on lds.org.
The good news is, my sweet dear friend chose to change her life for the better. And I know, I know without a doubt that it started with a tiny seed of belief inside that she was worth more than the life she was living. Sin did not have to burden her forever, she could turn to the Savior and give Him her burdens in exchange for a pure heart and clean hands--hands that are now doing His work and living righteously. She is an amazing example to me. She showed tremendous courage and strength---she is one of those inspiring people who makes me feel worth it.