To Love Someone is to Give Them the Power to Hurt You
What consumes your mind, controls your life.
I recently starting following an account on Instagram called @liketoknow.it, which posts photos of thousands of fashion bloggers to advertise the items they wear. It's interesting to me that most of the people they post are just average people who dress really well and have gained a solid following. They aren't celebrities or renowned individuals or even designers themselves, but they have been given authority through the world of social media.
Most of us spend our days trying to figure out how to become worthy of being heard. We read exceptional authors and mimic our favorite celebrities in hopes that our lives will somehow become interesting enough to be copied, too. Over and over again, we are shown that all it takes to become an authority is the endorsement of others. It isn't knowledge or power or even exceptional talent, rather, it's the approval from a group of people to keep on keeping on. Without constant approval from our peers, or anonymous followers, we feel inept to make a difference.
One of my favorite quotes from the book/movie The Fault in Our Stars says, "She didn't want a million admirers, she just wanted one. And she got it. Maybe she wasn't loved widely, but she was loved deeply. And isn't that more than most of us get?" We won't all be given the chance to make an impact on a vast number of people in this life, but that doesn't lessen the impact that we can make on the people we come in contact with.
However, it is much easier to continue to fight for authority from an anonymous pool of social media followers, where we are separated from the criticism of others through our keyboards and screens. It takes much more courage to impact someone on a personal level because that requires giving of ourselves and investing deeply. As Donald Miller writes in his new book Scary Close, "There was no risk in my fantasy life, and risk is what I feared the most. After all, to love somebody is to give them the power to hurt you, and no one can hurt you if you're the only one writing the script."
To be loved deeply, we must stop seeking approval and realize that we don't need conventional authority to make a difference. You may not have the authority or success that you desire, but that doesn't lessen your chance to impact someone's life. Most of the life-changing moments in our own lives were spurred by one individual or one event that took place on a personal level.
What is stopping you from believing that you could do the same for someone else? Even more, who are you giving the authority to in your own life?
Photo via Jen & Chris Creed, Photographers