I enjoyed your insights and confessions in the past week or two on lady friendships. Thank you for joining in. We’ve hashed a lot of aspects, and I’m ready to move on. You?
But there is one final thing I want to say.
People are what you believe them to be.
This applies to more than friendships with women. It applies to marriage, and child-raising, and colleagues, and all manner of things. People are what you believe them to be.
Perhaps a better way to say it is Or they very soon will be. People become who you believe them to be.
If I believe my husband to be a sorry no-good derelict who can’t get anything done and can’t do anything right (and even with the best man ever, I have my moments), he will become what I think he is. First, he will become that in my mind, and I will start talking to him and acting toward him as if he were a sorry no-good derelict who can’t get anything done and can’t do anything right. And then he will begin to wonder if he is one, and then he will begin to believe that he is one, and someday, he will be one.
May the Lord have mercy on the creations of his people. This is not the procreation he had in mind, to reproduce in other people the fallen images of them we carry in our minds. But it is shockingly effective.
The flipside, thank God! is also true.
The ability to influence people by my belief in them (not control or fix or force people, just influence people) is a powerfully creative tool for good. If I believe my husband to be a man of God, the best thing that ever happened to me, an amazing leader and father in spite of his mistakes – he will become what my faith and love tell him he is. First, he will become it in my mind, and then he will become it in his mind, and then he will become it more and more in himself.
That is the power of relationships. That is why they are so damaging and detrimental, and why they are also so healing and wholesome – because another human looks into us and says, “I see you, and you look like this.” Relationships are transformative mirrors, held up to us by others who love us or hate us as we are, and who watch us change into what they know us to be. Relationships reshape identity. Relationships have the power to create better versions of everyone around us.
So my question for you is –
What do you believe the women in your community to be?