You Already Have a Name, Long Before You Go Out to Make a Name for Yourself


You know that saying, “I’m going to make a name for myself.” It came into my mind today when I was reading an article that featured several bloggers and their personal views on the same subject.

I was impressed by the article and thought, “Blogging can be a way to make a name for yourself out there.” I was imagining having tons of readers for my blog and my yet-to-be-published novels and what that would feel like. I wanted to make a name for myself.

Suddenly a deeper part of me burst out. “But I already have a name!”

My name is Jessi, and no amount of professional success could essentially change my identity.

Here is why.

Think about babies and the way their parents feel about them. They don’t have to accomplish anything or be little geniuses or set world records to be loved. The very fact that they exist makes them worth loving.

When you were born, I can almost guarantee that your parents thought you were the most beautiful little creature they had ever seen.

Actually you were a squashy, splotchy crying thing that couldn’t focus its eyes. It took you weeks to learn to roll over and months to start crawling.

But your parents loved you the entire time, even when you couldn’t do anything. And I bet they weren’t loving you for your future-impressiveness either.

What kind of mother says, “I’ll love her when she becomes the CEO of a Fortune 500 company” or “I’ll love him when he is signed onto an NFL team”? Your parents loved you before you could say, “Mama” or “Dada.” So they could not possibly have based their love on what you were capable of doing.

It just was.

That’s why the idea of gaining some kind of self worth from “making a name” for yourself is just silly. By virtue of living, you already have worth. Impressive achievements and public recognition can’t give you what you already have.

It’s already there.

I don’t want to imply that achievements are worthless. They’re not. You certainly grow from hard work, and it is nice to be admired. If you can prove to yourself that you are capable, that is even more valuable than proving it to anyone else.

But try to remember that making a name or not making a name is beside the point. You already have a name!

People are a Burden, but Being Alone is Even More Burdensome


Why does it hurt so much to be alone?

Being alone hurts. I don’t necessarily mean being physically alone, either. What hurts is not having people in your life, not having friends and family that you can count on. That’s what it REALLY means to be alone.

Why do we need people so much?

At a certain point in my life, I tried to convince myself that I didn’t need people. Or at least I thought that if I could rid myself of the need for others, I would be happier.

I got to that point my second year of college when friendships were just not happening for me no matter how hard I tried. The burden of not having people in my life was infinitely heavier and more horrible than any burden that having people would bring.

People are burdens, after all!

When you have people in your life, they weigh you down. You have to deal with their problems. Your life isn’t completely your own, and sometimes the people in your life will need more from you than they are able to give back.

I call it “getting in the trenches” when my friends or my husband or my sisters (I count quite a few women as my sisters, even if we’re not technically related, by the way.) are really counting on me to get them through something.

Getting in the trenches means staying up later than you want to or talking someone back from the brink of a personal disaster. It means asking the hard questions and waiting until you get the hard answers. It’s letting your heart fill up with their sorrow until you weep. It’s work and it’s painful sometimes.

So if people are such a burden, why would I say that having them in my life is LESS of a burden than being alone?

Because I have found that when I get in the trenches, my life starts to take on meaning. When I reach out beyond myself, I can forget myself a little and start healing.

We need people in our lives so that we can learn to see beyond our own tiny microcosms. The tiny world of just ME is crushingly small, but every time I love someone, it expands and takes on new dimensions I never could have imagined.

I’m glad I never got my wish to stop needing people—because I don’t think I could ever find happiness without them.

How amazing it is to look back at times when my friends have gotten into the trenches with me and done the hard work of pulling me back from the brink of my own disasters!

There’s nothing quite as sweet as having someone stand with you at a graveside or text you the exact words you’re searching for. To have someone laugh and cry with you—that is living!

We weren’t meant to do this life thing alone.