I was watching the final episode of the Blinds on The Voice, and one of the contestants said now they wanted to do something important. You see, they had been singing in bars and such prior, but now they had the opportunity to sing for a large crowd and, finally, the multitude of television viewers – that was important. Well, it kind of ruffled my feathers. Not that what they said was wrong. It just brought up an issue I have been contemplating lately. Again.
Importance. Subliminal and not so subliminal messages are tossed at us several times a day (from childhood to death) about what constitutes importance. You must have significant bruising for So-n-So to be concerned. You must be significantly bleeding for the injury to be deemed important enough to break societal norms and sob in public. To be important in society, you must provide significant contribution or significant disturbance. You care about So-n-So’s character on TV because he/she has 10 other people/characters that care about him/her, or because you know about some terrible thing they have been through, or because you get to follow them around like a pup with a video camera (there’s a cute image). But you don’t know about this other So-n-So’s struggles or even much about their personality, so you don’t have to care about them – they haven’t given you enough reason yet, nothing truly important or significant.
Everyone is important enough, and more. Everyone is significant enough, and more. And the beautiful thing about it is: it takes nothing from anyone else. Yea! We can stop being threatened by someone else’s recognition of importance. Everyone can be equally important without jeopardizing anyone else’s importance.
Importance is not dependent upon the perception and recognition of others. What you do is important in and of itself. Even if only (and I mean that in a singular way, not belittling) because it is an expression of you. Be it an expression of a perfection or a flaw, or a combination of the two. Every single action is bits and pieces and layers that combine to show who you are – even mistakes and bad decisions (not just to illuminate your flaws but to illuminate what you deem perfect). Who you are is important.
So let’s remove the cracked and distorted lens that says real people have to prove their importance, their worthiness to have some of our time, to share their story – to have a story, like a character does in the first pages of their book or the first episodes of their show. Everyone is worthy of our attention and our care. Just think of how much time we give ourselves. Let’s give some of that focused attention to other people every day. And remember, that action of attention is important – even without Oprah congratulating you on national television for being molto wonderful.