Have you ever felt like no one saw you? Maybe not that no one saw you, but just like no one cared? This irrelevant feeling that’s almost worse than being disliked? This week I’ve felt that way. I’ve felt like my presence in a room was neither liked nor disliked… It just wasn’t even noticed. I didn’t add anything to the situation, but I didn’t really take anything away from it either. I was just a piece of person taking up space or not taking up space. Either way it wasn’t enough space for anyone to notice. It’s a pretty hopeless feeling.
I don’t tell you this to make you feel sorry for me. The opposite, really. I tell you this because I’ve realized something extraordinary. I’m grateful that at this point in my life, I have people that absolutely love me and absolutely notice when I’m not around. But I also have a lot more of people in my life that don’t. And you know what, I have realized this week that that is not okay.
This world is going to tell you that you have to be something in order to fit in or in order to matter. You’re going to feel like if you don’t act a certain way around guys they won’t notice you, or if you don’t wear a certain thing girls won’t talk to you. And in some cases, that’s absolutely true. Not that you won’t matter, but the part about people not noticing you or talking to you. I’m not going to sit here and tell you that by being yourself, everyone is going to love you. The world doesn’t work like that, because people are messed up. But what I am here to say to you is that the people in this world that make you feel like you do not matter unless you pretend to be something that you just are not do not deserve the time and attention that you are giving them. They just do not deserve it. And you do not deserve to be treated like you are irrelevant, because you matter, and this world would be vastly different without you.
You know what you deserve? You deserve the world. You deserve people surrounding you who accept you for exactly who you are, love you for that, and absolutely want to make you feel valued. If the people in your life do not make you feel that way, then maybe you do not need to be holding those people as closely as you are.
All of this is not to say that you should only be around people that make you feel good about yourself. The Bible says, “As iron sharpens iron, a friend sharpens a friend.” A friend that values you and loves you is going to be a friend that calls you out on your crap and holds you to a high standard, but they are going to do that because they love you. Not because you have to be something for them. And you should love people that don’t love you. That’s also completely true. You should not refuse to be around people who don’t make you feel loved, but there needs to be a very firm boundary on how much you let them affect you. You get to choose who you let into your heart, and you deserve people that are going to love you the way you deserved to be loved. This means friends, boyfriends, everyone.
I apologize if this seems angsty. We all fall short and need to give each other grace. But you deserve friends who build you up and make you feel valued. That’s just it. I just get a really heavy heart when I think about the way people make other people feel. It is so unnecessary to put yourself through that, and I wish I would have realized that sooner. I wish I would have known that in middle school. I wish I wouldn’t have tried so hard hard to have the most friends in high school, but tried a lot harder to be a friend that I needed so badly. This goes both ways, guys. I feel like a lot of times, we are so hungry to fit in that we not only subject ourselves to all kinds of judgment and scrutiny and hurt that is unnecessary, but we forget that we may be doing the exact same thing to others. Don’t act like you’ve never sized someone up in your head and decided if they were worth your time. It’s hard to admit to yourself, I know, but I am so ashamed to say I’ve been there and I’ve done it. And you guys, that is not Jesus. That is not why we are here. We are here to love, love, and keep on loving, no matter what. But we are not called to always do that alone.
We need people that are pushing us and people that are encouraging us and people that truly, truly love us. And guys, I promise they are out there. It may take awhile to find… heck, I’ve been at college for almost a full school year and am just now starting to find that. But it is so sweet, and it is worth feeling lonely for a while. Feeling lonely in a crowd is honestly the worst feeling ever, and you don’t deserve that. But you know who else doesn’t deserve that? The girl sitting next to you. In an effort to find people that love you and push you, you have to be that for them. How can we expect someone to love us like that if we can’t do the same for others? You have to demand that of yourself, because if you don’t, you are no better than the girl who just made you feel so small. You are so special, and so is she. Please do not settle for relationships that make you feel like you are less than that. Because if Jesus thinks you’re worth dying for, you are absolutely worth having people that make you feel heard, seen, and loved unconditionally.
I love you guys a lot, and I am just so thankful for this little community. Have a wonderful weekend, and go be a friend!
words and photo by Claire Prather