In Others’ Words: Do You Love Me?

The list Brene Brown quote


Ah, the influence of others’ in our lives … the Voices of Authority, if you will.

In recent years I’ve been challenged again and again, asked “Who are the Voices of Authority in your life, Beth?”

And I’ve come to realize some of the voices that held sway over me had no right to do so.  Yes, they had power. Yes, I had even acquiesced to their opinions of me … but I’d chosen poorly when I allowed them to become Voices of Authority in my life.

I like Brené Brown’s approach to how she decided whose opinions of her matter. First, the list is short — she carries a “small sheet of paper in her wallet” with names on it. This is not a looooong list of people, a come-one, come-all approach. No, she’s discerning. Selective. Careful.

And people don’t get to decide to be on that list. No. Brown has established the two requirements — boundaries, if you will — for people’s opinions of her to matter to her: People must love her for her strengths and for her struggles. 

I like those standards. Voices of authority — the opinions that should matter about me — should be steeped in love. And the people on this short list should accept me for who I am, not demand that I be disingenous for the sake of their comfort or to meet their expectations of what is acceptable. I am allowed to be strong … and I am allowed to be imperfect.

I am allowed to be real … and I offer the same back to others.

In Your Words: If you had a list of names in your wallet of people whose opinions of you mattered, who would be on that list? And what would they need to do to be on that list?

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  1. January 7, 2015, 6:50 am   /  Reply

    Well, Beth, you’re on my list.

    • January 7, 2015, 1:43 pm   /  Reply

      Andrew: Your kind words bless me. And you know I am always eager to read your comments on this blog post.

  2. January 7, 2015, 7:05 am   /  Reply

    Love, love, love Brene Brown. And this is something you do well: “offer the same back to others.”

    • January 7, 2015, 1:44 pm   /  Reply

      Brene Brown is fast becoming a favorite resource of mine. I want to listen to some of her TED talks.
      Love you, Brill.

  3. January 7, 2015, 8:05 am   /  Reply

    I like the “accept me as I am” requirement. Encouragers may also apply, as well as those who know how to appreciate effort.

    Well, you know you’re on my list, sweet friend, as well as my husband, some wonderful writing friends, and a few in my little town. I also need to re-evaluate the voices to whom I’ve given authority over my life.

    Thanks for posting this.

    • January 7, 2015, 1:54 pm   /  Reply

      Thank you for saying I am on your list — what an honor. You are one of the kindest people I know. I’ve learned a lot from you.

  4. January 7, 2015, 8:15 am   /  Reply

    Beth, what a thought-provoking question. I never thought about carrying a list in my pocket, but I certainly have one in my mind. As I think through the names, they have all loved me through strength and struggles, and I have done likewise for them. I call them skin friends. You know, those special people who you hold as close as your skin, both as a shield against the world and to remind you to feel when you want to shut down. You are certainly a skin friend to me, dear one.

    • January 7, 2015, 1:55 pm   /  Reply

      “Skin friends.”
      What a beautiful term. I love that.
      And I love you, too — and admire and respect you.

  5. January 7, 2015, 8:25 am   /  Reply

    Love this, Beth! I think I’d have to leave my own critical self off the list. But my list would include those who speak truth to me, and those who are there for me through thick and thin.

    • January 7, 2015, 8:39 am   /  Reply

      Actually, my critical self is on my list. I hate his guts, but the turkey keeps me honest.

      If I can shut him down, I;m doing OK.

      • January 7, 2015, 1:56 pm   /  Reply

        I just love the way you deal with yourself — and life!

    • January 7, 2015, 1:56 pm   /  Reply

      I agree, Mary, we are sometimes our own worst enemies, aren’t we? Which is why we need trusted friends!

  6. January 7, 2015, 8:58 am   /  Reply

    Beth, I’ll be a bit more direct.

    There have been days when I have lived for your posts, and your kind words. I have gone through more than dark nights of the soul – and knowing that you would have something there, that would give meaning to the pain…you cannot know how much that meant. Know this – I turn to your words first.

    You make a difference.

    Just showed more of my heart than I would have thought possible, but the heck with it. You need to know.

    Do not EVER bloody stop writing.

    • January 7, 2015, 2:01 pm   /  Reply

      No words.
      Tears, yes.
      No words.

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