Lauren 101: A lesson in self discovery

As I begrudgingly sent out emails to my friends and loved ones, I kept thinking that there was no way anyone could say something that would be a surprise to me. I convinced myself that I knew their answers before I even asked the question. My inquiry was as follows: What comes to mind when you think of me? I honestly expected to get short, half assed answers from each of my friends who are busy living their own lives in their own bubbles. I didn’t think my friends paid close enough attention to really say anything more than cliché, surface level compliments. Boy was I wrong….

“You have so much energy and personality, you enjoy making others happy. You aren’t afraid to be YOU and you don’t hold back. You’re kind and thoughtful, funny and loving. You’re loyal and selfless.” – Britny Bassett

“You’re fun loving A very thoughtful and caring friend–someone I feel like I could call for crisis or just to hang out when I’m feeling blue. You’re sarcastically hilarious. A super considerate girlfriend (aka way nicer to Jonathan than I am to Lucas).” – Emily Williams

“When I think of you, I think of someone that is outgoing and witty. You always have a joke or impression or song parody (my fav!!!) for the situation we’re in.  I admire the bonds that you’ve built with your sorority sisters. That’s one thing that I feel like I missed out in college by being in music school. I did meet a lot of people and establish a lot of great friendships but none that really compare to the fraternity/sorority bond. You’re funny, kind, and loving friend and I’m glad to have you as a part of my life.” – Lucas Fritz

“Strong work ethic, positive attitude even if behind closed doors you don’t feel very positive, able to overcome large obstacles that most people would have let define their entire life, creativity, able to step in a perform different roles aka sister, mother, friend, I think you will use your experiences to provide a better life for your family and be the best mom you can be and always be there for your family and be reliable.” – Alex Burnette

“1. You are strong, self-reliant and independent.

ex:  You were always able to take care of yourself and make things happen from a very young age.  (You were writing your own checks in first grade)  You have continued to show this in the way that you handled every aspect of getting into and completing college.  From filling out the applications to making sure everything was paid for on your own.  You were also able to maintain a residence and graduate college with high GPA.

  1. You are determined, extremely intelligent and cautious with your life decisions.

My favorite example of determined is when you were tiny and wanted to read in bed and I told you that you had to turn your light out.  Not 30 minutes later you had figured out if you took the “glo” mechanism out of your “glo-worm” you could continue to read without technically having your light on.  Guess I should have seen the “English Major” thing coming on at the age of 3.

  1. You are witty, pretty funny and a lot of fun to be around.
  2. You are open minded and not judgmental of others.
  3. You are very caring and have a big heart however, you never let people disrespect or take advantage of you. (well most of the time you don’t:  Unless its Papa and his spring cleaning.. HAHA)
  4. You have high self-esteem and self-worth. (And why shouldn’t you?  You are darn near perfect!!)
  5. You are goal oriented and a really hard worker. I admire you for all the things I have listed above. There are times when you were younger that I feel you took care of me and helped me make it through.  You have many of the traits that I wish I had had when I was younger. You seem to always see the glass “half full” and that’s an amazing way to see life.  You don’t let things get in the way of making your life exactly what you want it to be. You don’t make excuses, you make things happen.  I honestly have learned so much from you over the years and I am a much, much better person for it.  I am extremely proud of you and you should be proud too.  I would, honestly, not change one thing about you. (Except, maybe, the inherited high blood pressure.)

Love you.  Hope this helps.  If anyone says anything negative, let me know, I’ll take them out!!!

(Disclaimer:  What other people think of you does not define who you are as a person.  It’s what you think that matters.)” – Mom

“When I think of Lauren I think hardworking and determined. She is one of the few people that I know that is strong and confident, even when she may not feel that way she keeps her composure and carries herself gracefully and strong. Lauren is kind and friendly, after not knowing her well when we were in school together her and I have built a really strong friendship that I hold very close to me. She knows how to keep a friendship and if there are a few days or weeks that go by that we haven’t spoken she is understanding that life happens and people get busy. Lauren is also very passionate. She is passionate about life and the adventures and opportunities that are in front of her. She is passionate about her family, always visiting and spending time with them whenever they ask and whenever she feels like it’s necessary. She is passionate about Jonathan and how others treat him and his well-being. I really admire that she would go up to bat for anyone that she holds close to her. She truly values people for who they are and does not judge but tries to work with them. She has a winning attitude and a can do attitude no matter what task is in front of her and she is a leader even though she may not consider herself one. I look up to Lauren because of her grace and confidence and I know that there are great things ahead of her in life.” – Alex Arruda

“When I think about you and who YOU are, aside from my deep love for you and all the amazing things that come with that, I think about the passion with which you live your life. You are passionate about your family, and their daily fates effect you deeply. You get so much joy out of seeing them succeed in life. Often times when they stumble you take it strongly to heart, for better or worse…But I admire the way you care about all of them so deeply. You are passionate about your work, in the office and outside of the office. You don’t settle for average when it comes to anything that I can think of. You keep yourself and your surroundings beautiful at all times, even when it’s been a long day you don’t let laziness or the easy way out tempt you. You have an extremely high standard for yourself at all times. You push yourself to exercise, and eat right, all while making sure you allow yourself to live the life you love and let loose whenever possible!” – Jonathan Gibson

What they said floored me. One after another, the responses starting pouring into my inbox. Deeply thought out emails with examples and reasons and stories as to what each of my friends and loved ones thinks about me. I realized that I hold much more value in people’s lives than I previously thought. I am special to them for many reasons that I would have never realized had they not told me. I feel more loved than I have felt in a long time and it gave me a whole new level of respect for the people that I hold dear to my heart.

Through their responses I learned that I am strong even when I struggle to be that way almost on a daily basis. This gives me the confidence to know that I CAN make it through any hardship. Knowing that I am considered a strong women gives me a boost of self-esteem to push towards my goals because even if I fail, I will be able to pick myself up.

I learned that the people around me view me as passionate. This one came as a big surprise because I always get down on myself about living a lackluster life and accepting the mundane. I get down because I feel like there is no spark in my soul. Apparently I was wrong. The people around me not only see, but admire, my passion for life and people. Multiple people commented on how I am determined and strong willed and am willing to go to war for anything that I feel strongly about. With this realization, I have a newfound sense of pride in the way that I am. Among other things that people said, it all seemed to boil down to my drive and my gusto for life. I know that if I take this passion in my soul and apply it to whatever path my life may take me then I am certain to succeed. I have a newfound sense of confidence after doing this exercise. I have a deeper love for my friends and loved ones that contributed. I have either done a really good job at faking everyone out to convince them that I am a stellar person or maybe I really am. I think I’ll go with the latter!

My face

Just cause I’m feelin my look and myself today 🙂 #selflove

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