Posted in Motherhood

How important are you?

I was responding to some work emails when my ten year came by and asked if he was important. I smiled and told him to that he was. Then he said, “No Mom. I mean, like you.” I told him that I did not understand. He told that people come to me for help in both my legal job and my arthritis advocacy position and he told that that made me important. I just smiled and told him that I never saw myself as “important.”

I also told him that he was important to me, to his baby brother, to his grandmother, his step-dad, and his friends. He responded by telling me that was different. I told him that it wasn’t any different. I reminded that he was the most helpful and most well-behaved kid I knew and most parents wish that they had kids they were and to me and his step-dad, that was “important.” Moreover, he was a big brother and all he had to do was walk in a room and his baby brother’s face would light up because his brother thought he was “important.” Further, he is always very happy to help with grandmother and that is why his grandmother thought he was “important,” and that his cousins were not always as helpful. Last, he was “important” to his friends because he was always there for them when they needed him and he always stood by them. My son smiled and said, “Wow, I did not realize how important I was.”

Often, many of us forget the value that our lives bring to others. I went into the legal field because I wanted to help others and after awhile, I forgot because it became routine. There are times where I am on the phone with a client who feels like their problems are bigger than they really are. The conversations usually end with “Thank you, I feel better now that I understand” or “I feel much better now that I talked to you.” I don’t think about it much, but my son’s right. I am “important,” whether I know it or not. The same goes for my advocacy work and to think, all I wanted to do was brighten just one person’s day. Further, after awhile, it becames second nature to provide support and understanding and often, I am doing what I am supposed to do without the consideration that I am “important.” I know that my words make others feel important, but I often forget I am “important” because of it.

Everyone likes to feel important or valued. Even those who do not like the limelight like to be complimented on a good well done. The problem, however, with wanting to feel important is that we often work towards trying to feel important instead of doing things for others to make them feel important. We can try as hard as we can, but we can’t make ourselves feel important – that is something that others can give us. Often, we look at celebrities and despite the fact that they have crowds of followers, they still feel miserable about themselves. The ability to be important does not come from being in the limelight, it comes from the very people who are important to us, including our spouses/significant others, our children, friends and family, our bosses, teachers, etc. Perhaps, that explains why I have never really understood that I am important to others working in the legal field. To me, I am just doing my job and I have never thought of that as “important.”

Too many people spend so much time trying to be “important” and they don’t realize that they can never be important, unless they make others feel “important.” Those who make others feel important are the most well-liked people. It is not rocket science; merely common sense. Think about your favorite teacher when you were high school or elementary school. What do you remember about that person? Most likely, you remember that your teacher made you feel important by noticing your work and accomplishments. Moreover, that person was interested and invested in your success. When you think about famous people, for example, your favorite celebrity growing up, do you remember him or her as you do that teacher?

Importance is way people are valued and they are valued because they make us feel like we matter. The people that we remember are those that show interest in what we do even though they do not have to. In my view, the more importance we show to others, the more importance we get back. Moreover, you cannot give yourself importance but what you can do is allow others to feel important and in turn, they will make you feel important.

And there were always be arrogant individuals who think they deserve attention simply because of who they are. (The good news is that no one likes them anyway.) At the same token, do not let those people discourage you because there are people who will return the attention you paid them. So when my son tells me that I am “important,” I just might be but I’d still rather focus on making others feel important. I don’t get the reward from feeling important; I get it from making others feel IMPORTANT.

So, how important are you? You are only as important as the people that you make feel important. I hope that all of you will work to brighten someone’s day by making them feel important.


2 thoughts on “How important are you?

  1. Very in-depth. You are important. You helped me, and countless other folks online, not to mention all of the people you have helped in the real world.I admire and look up to you. I do know what you mean by not feeling important though.

  2. Your son is too smart (kinda like his mama-right?), you are important. Thank you for the research, insight and for occasionally poking humor at this ugly beast we carry around with us everyday.I'm not important, nor do I think or try to act like I am. I'm content with just being me though.

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