I recently had the privilege of spending time with a friend named Robert. Robert also goes by Rascal. Though I don’t think the man he is today would have earned him such a nickname. So I will refer to him as Robert.
Robert looks very different than I do. Our backgrounds, families, and life experiences differ in nearly every way. Regardless, we share a deep connection. Robert has spent every year in jail for the past 18 years. A roadmap of his choices printed in dark ink on his body and face. But when you listen to Robert talk about his goals for the future, it’s clear what a kind and caring man he is. He has become.
Admittedly, Robert has a history of making bad choices. Of benefiting himself at the sacrifice of others. Even though his conscious, his true self, wanted to do good. When I pressed him on the difference between his past life and his current, he answered that it is my enduring belief in him. Even though he said he’s had plenty of opportunities to mess up, he chooses not to. Just as I am committed to him, he is committed to staying on the straight and narrow.
I will get back to the best part of the story in a minute. The entire purpose of my commitment to Robert.
When Robert attributed his success to me, I immediately thought, “Asher, you fraud!”. It was a reflexive thought. It took no effort for me to invalidate my own good-doing. The underlying belief is that I, a flawed human with his own set of weakness, couldn’t possibly give Robert hope and inspiration. Usually, I buy into this belief. But yesterday I chose to pause and thank the higher being in me. The part of me that, like Robert, is uncompromisingly good. That defends me against such destructive evaluations of myself so that I can get back to the good stuff. It is my belief that together with God, I will continue to recognize and foster the most valuable, compassionate parts of myself and others. Which always exist.
You see, if I had bought into the fraud part, that I had no real value to give this man, I would have missed out on this miracle. Of seeing this father, in a great expression of selflessness and love, wholeheartedly commit to the daughter he once abandoned. To see her accept his love and support. And help them to repair such a beautiful and important relationship.
This week, the next time your mind belittles your value, resist! Such thoughts are undeniably false. No matter how strong your doubts, your value never leaves you. It’s always there, waiting to be called upon. Do yourself and this world a favor and lend out your gifts. As a mentor, a supportive friend, a helpful co-worker, or a loving parent. Express these human talents each and every day. You are not a fraud!
Unconditional Love, Accountability, Community
-Asher Gottesman, CEO & Founder of Transcend Recovery Community