An Open Letter to Gabrielle – What I Learned from You.
I saw you in concert last Weekend and you were brilliant – You are such an incredible singer, a vibrant personality on stage – every time you sang I was transfixed.
But in between your songs you made me sad, you made me angry and then you just frustrated me – all week I’ve been thinking about the WHY?
All Week I have gone from wanting to put my arms around you, tell you how amazing you are to shaking some sense into you.
All Week I have thought about how sad and un-confident you must be feeling to thinking how on earth can you be the so self deprecating, looking for constant reassurance person you are when you are not singing.
Then, Gabrielle it got me to thinking about Myself and those around me…
We all do it, at some point in our lives we all look for reassurance, validation and acceptance – to seek approval that we are on the right track with whatever we are doing, that we are being listened to, that we are giving value, that we are knowledgeable and experts in what we do and yes, we even ask those around us if they like and love us – especially if we are feeling fragile or lacking in confidence.
Last week however, was the first time I’d experienced a very public personality asking for validation, constantly – and it surprised me. Then it shocked me. Then it made me feel sad. Then it made me angry. Then it just made me want to shake my head in despair as well as shake you too.
Then it made me wonder why we do it?
Why do we ask for validation and reassurance?
Why do we feel we need to ask for it?
Lets rewind a little. Last Weekend I was lucky enough to be able to see Rick Astley in concert – some great friends had organised tickets months ago and it was a rare treat – Gabrielle was the support act – coming on before the Man himself. I hadn’t realised this at the time and when we got to our seats she had just started her gig on stage. The audience was filling up fast and those already there were up dancing on their feet. I was SO excited and I was loving it.
Gabrielle was singing her heart and soul out – wonderfully I might add. Powerful, emotive and beautiful – how lucky was I that I got to hear not one but two amazing singers and performers. I was sat, mesmerised as she transported me to a feeling of happiness and almost calmness (I find it hard to switch off and relax) and I had no other thoughts in my head other than those words she was singing about.
Now, isn’t that not a sign of a great singer? Other signs were – feet tapping, standing up dancing, the audience waiving their arms in the air, hands clapping at the end of each set, and the singing along audience resonated and reverberated around the arena.
But, and here is the thing…
After every set she asked for some form of validation, or she put herself down, or she asked statement like questions and yes, at one stage she even apologised that we had to listen to her…
At the end of EVERY song.
At first it was sort of endearing – in the end it became tiresome, and yes, annoying. In between endearing, tiresome and annoyance was the whole other range of other emotions, feelings and questions.
Isn’t it sad that from the entire night of wonderful music the thing I’ve thought about the most all week is how Gabrielle was obviously so lacking in confidence that she felt she needed to apologise to 1000’s of people that they had to listen to her before Rick Astley came on stage.
Back to my letter to you…
Actually, Gabrielle, we didn’t – we didn’t have to listen to you – no one made us come early or to take our seats before the main act – we could have stayed longer drinking wine and eating good food with our friends or stayed at the bar longer – but we didn’t, we chose, as did 1000’s of other people to take out seats, tap our toes, sing along and enjoy your performance and we loved you – we really did.
This past week, while thinking about you and what you had been saying – I came to the realisation that I do this myself – all the time, look for the validation, the reassurance, the putting myself down and the constant looking for approval or for a sign that I am doing things right – and just as you, Gabrielle, frustrated me, so I must be frustrating those around me who have chosen to spend time with Me, not because they have to, but because they want to.
And, I want to stop, I don’t want to be that person. Not to myself, not to those around me.
After all, people buy people don’t they, not just in business but in friendships too – can’t we just trust and believe in the knowledge that those around us choose to be with us, or chose to buy in to what we do, in our business, with the services and product we offer.
Our friends choose to socialise with us because they want to – if they didn’t love us for who we are and what we do, what we stand for – they wouldn’t. Period.
So, Thank You Gabrielle, for being you – Thank you for the wonderful music and how it makes us feel, thank you for your passion and your spirit – But, most of all, thank you for making me realise that it’s alright, now and again to show our vulnerability’s and ask for reassurance, but – if done too often it just become tiresome.
If you stop, I will stop – we can do it I am sure – lets love ourselves, what we do, what we offer the world and just be secure in the fact that those around us are around us for a reason.
Much love Gabrielle.