This week I sent two separate emails to two different friends.

In each email I told that friend a story about something they said several years ago that meant a lot to me and I thanked them for it.

Even though the stories were not at all similar to each other, and both friends are very different from each other, they both had a similar reaction.

Both friends enjoyed the stories but said something like, “Oh no, I shouldn’t have said that!”

They responded this way even though I had made it clear how much I had appreciated what they said.

It occurs to me that listening to a story about yourself is similar to looking at a photograph of yourself.

When someone hands you a photograph, isn’t the tendency to look at yourself with a critical eye and notice your flaws, even if the person handing the photo to you says they think it’s a great photo?

I guess it’s because a photo can make you feel vulnerable and exposed, even if it’s a fantastic-looking photo. It’s hard to look at yourself with the same uncritical eye that the other person does.

Stories are the same way.

The next time someone tells you a cool story about you, go easy on yourself.

It’s more than OK to enjoy the fact that you’re the main character in the story and that you made a difference in their life.


Filed under: Listening


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