Updated: Feb 5
“Feeling important isn’t about stroking your own ego or making yourself feel like you’re above everyone else. It’s about valuing yourself and recognizing your own self worth and strengths! It’s a really positive way to feel and we wish more people felt like it.” Browsing through Netflix in search of an interesting movie, I came across a documentary on tragic endings of well-known celebrity actors’ lives, including that of George Reeves, the actor who played the original Superman on television. After watching the first half-hour, turning off the movie became necessary. It was pitiful to watch former ‘stars’ who, due to aging or typecasting, lose their relevance, fading into the dark recesses of time. This same pity is felt when noticing how former sports, political, and other public figures work hard at maintaining their relevance.
An epiphany blew through my mind like a boulder fallen from a mountainous edge! Innately, we need to feel significant and know that we matter. This moment of enlightenment lingered in my mind. Knowing that I couldn’t have been the first person to have experienced this enlightenment led to my researching our inherent shared need to feel important. Finding scientific verification for this proposition was easy.
Authors of one article found that childhood trauma could lead to a sense of insignificance, anxiety, and depression. It certainly can! Do you recall the first time that you felt insignificant? I do. On a Saturday afternoon in the summer before fourth grade, I was walking to the Top Store for candy. The path required me to pass by the parsonage of our pastor - someone who had been a family friend for three generations. The reverend and his wife had adopted their only child, Beverly, as a baby girl, and they gave her much of what her heart desired. She was only a year older than me.
From the parsonage’s backyard came sounds of children’s loud laughter and frivolity. My, they were having globs of fun! Peering into the yard I saw Beverly surrounded by select 8- to 11-year-old from our church, elementary school, and neighborhood. Stopping dead in my tracks, a queasiness flooded my stomach and thoughts of candy disappeared completely. Crying, I turned and ran home to ask my mother why Beverly hadn’t invited me. I saw Beverly as a friend and thought that she felt the same. She obviously did not.
Furious after learning the reason for my upset, Mama took me by the hand, and we walked back to the parsonage. There, she spoke to Beverly’s mother, who immediately invited me to join the kids still in the backyard. By then, the party was winding down. Having thoroughly spoken her mind, Mama graciously declined the Mistress of the Church’s offer, and, frankly, I had no interest in staying. The other children would know that I hadn’t been invited. To this day, it remains unclear why Beverly didn’t invite me to her 10th birthday party. Her reason for excluding me doesn’t matter because on that day, I learned that exclusion hurts badly! Having experienced this pain at the ripe old age of 8 has caused me to not consciously pass anyone without acknowledging the individual's presence. In fact, family and friends will say that I even scurry over to chat with those standing alone at social and professional events. Click below to read the referenced article.