like me!

One afternoon in the Black Forest, toward the end of a hike, my husband and I paused for teatime, which is a very big deal here in Germany. We found a booth at our favourite place, Café Diva, placed our orders, and, at some point, I joked with my husband in a way that may not have been totally one hundred percent loving. (I know. It’s a real shock.)

He looked at me and said, with calm intensity, “Like me!”

That cry from the heart took me by surprise. So simple. So clear. And so effective. I immediately dropped all my defenses and laughed out loud.

We humans need love and belonging. In the mad dash for independence and self-actualization, I sometimes forget about those basic needs, which are summed up pretty well by the words “Like me!”

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Usually, when I write something, it includes a cry from the heart to “Like me!” But for what I write to be effective in a way that stands a chance of affecting you meaningfully, the “me” I’m asking you to like had better be the real me. Not the me I wish I was. Or the one I think you’d like better than the real me.

We can tell when writing is faking it and when writers are trying to be something they’re not. It creates distance and reduces connection. Basically, it backfires.

If what you’re writing includes a “Like me!” message, it can help to measure for falsehoods as you write. I’m not suggesting rooting out whoppers and tall tales, heck no. Any kind of fiction or non-fiction can ring true or false within you, depending on whether you’re faking it or not.

Challenge anything that doesn’t ring your own bell. Peal in tune with yourself. Your message will carry further and go deeper. Then, when someone likes your writing, they’re liking the real thing, the real you.

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Related reading: risking exposure, how to reinvent yourself

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