How to bring out the GOOD in people.
Everyone has a different reason for why they picked their wedding photographer. Maybe it's budget, style, or flawless execution of snapping those wedding party jumping-photos, but I picked mine because she had one very important thing in common with my husband: she was my soulmate. I don't say it lightly, and it's not a word I just toss around - when I met Michelle, I knew there was no one else I'd rather have up my nose and nearly under my dress on my wedding day. I ran home to Ben after meeting her on a photoshoot we were doing for the Hotel Granduca and immediately explained to him why she was "the one." Michelle has an unmatched creative power, and to top it off, she might be one of the real-est human beings I've ever met. Her Instagram feed is something I imagine us watching a documentary about 20 years from now. The way she captures everyday moments, her family, and the great outdoors makes the otherwise mundane aspects of life appear utterly miraculous.
From the moment I met her, I looked up to Michelle's glorious capacity for vulnerability, her immense creativity and her staggering productivity. Creatives aren't always associated with being productive, but Michelle has put most people I know to shame in that department. She's published a book, traveled the US shooting weddings, taught countless photography classes and somehow manages to simultaneously cook chicken broth from actual chickens (NOT Bouillon cubes!) for her whole family on the reg. If you follow Michelle on social media, you know one thing is true no matter how many accomplishments she has under her belt: for her, family is always first.
I had to wait about four months after meeting Michelle until I got to see her again on our wedding day. We'd exchanged countless emails during that time, and when she called me to go over everything and get the down-low on any family drama she might need to know about (you know, in order to avoid asking Person A to pose next to their 4th ex-husband after the ceremony), it was like catching up with an old girlfriend I'd known all my life. I couldn't wait to see her, and when she showed up at the temple, it was like magic. The first thing she did was give me a present (among the many others she had mailed to our house after we met.) This gift was a journal that said "Good People bring out the Good in people." I looked at the cover and knew that whatever I ended up writing in that journal would help me become more of the "good person" I strive to be each day. I couldn't wait to write in it.
And I found myself writing in it this morning, making a gratitude list of all the blessings in my life that I have overlooked because I'm waiting on more of them. Like Michelle, I am always striving...but sometimes, and especially lately, I forget to take note of everything in my life that's already come to fruition. As I listed what I was grateful for, I still couldn't get rid of the nagging feeling of anxiety that there was something better I could be doing, something more productive and useful. I thought of Michelle, and how she probably wouldn't have given me any advice this morning. Instead, she probably would have given me a hug and told me she "gets it" and that how I felt was totally okay. The way "good people bring out the good in people" isn't always by telling them to be better, but by meeting them where they're at and saying "hey, you're enough." That's the magic of Michelle: she's probably more accomplished than most people I know, but she has a way of making just about anyone feel like they're a rockstar just because they're breathing.
That's the kind of "good person" I want to be today - to myself, and to the people around me. Sometimes I feel like I can't stop reaching, doing, acting, moving. But I am reminded to pause by the stillness of this day. Today is a day to stop moving, to stop striving, to know that in this moment, I am enough. And by knowing that, I can pass it on. When I know I am enough, I can bring out the good in other people. I can let you know that you are enough, too.