Emma said/ Harriet said: Things We’ve Learned From Each Other

Emma & Harriet

Today’s post is another classic “She said/ She said”…but with a twist! We’ve had plenty of blogs where two people debate a particular topic, allowing readers to see things from different points of view. But conflict is not the only way to learn from another person; caring can be just as powerful a motivator.

Given that idea, I’ve been thinking a lot about how important friendships can be. How a positive influence can inspire and enrich who we are and how we see the world. To illustrate this, Harriet and I decided to list three things that we’ve learned from one another, and that we feel have made us better people. Because without Harriet by my side this last year, I don’t don’t know who I’d be today. And I’m not so sure I would like the Harriet-less version of myself!


Care about others as much as yourself

People are constantly emphasizing the importance of being selfless, of putting others first. Then in the same breath, they encourage you to go after what you want and focus on your own needs. It can seem contradictory and a bit hypocritical. Harriet told me something that cleared up all the confusion – the idea that “there is enough happiness to go around.” She never gets upset if she doesn’t win a contest or get a job she applies for because that means someone else has a happy day. She believes that nobody should win all of the time, or lose every time. Instead, if we all take turns, we can all be winners in the end. I think that’s brilliant. Neither selfish nor self sacrificing, Harriet wants everyone to be happy, including herself. And those aren’t just words. I’ve seen her put that idea into practice many times. If we could all be so wise!

Never stop trying to improve

I may encourage people to reach for their dreams, but Harriet focuses more on earning them. She goes beyond the power of positive thought and works hard to always know more, do more and be good at more. She constantly tries to acquire new skills and make herself a more useful and productive human being. We’re lucky she’s so modest and kind-hearted, or she might just take over the world.

See the best in people

Again, it may sound simple and common, but watching Harriet put this into practice is inspiring. Harriett generally looks at the good in people, which I initially thought made her vulnerable and too easily won over. But I was wrong. It’s not that Harriet doesn’t see a person’s faults, she just chooses not to focus on them. This is different than ignoring them. Instead, she sees the whole person – the good, the bad; the actual self and potential self. And after taking all this into account, she chooses to appreciate people the way they are. She accepts with an open heart, and puts the rest of us to shame. I will spend the rest of my life trying to emulate this quality.


Don’t put yourself in a box

Sure, I like to work hard and learn, but it was Emma that made me believe in myself. I was like a lot of insecure people. I thought I could DO anything if I worked hard enough, but that didn’t mean I could BE anything, or be the best at things. I saw myself in a box. The friend, the student, the assistant, and the helper. I thought I could be a valuable member of a team, but never thought I could lead a team. I felt that the confidence and charm of a leader eluded me. You had to be born that way, right? These weren’t qualities that someone could acquire. But Emma helped me see that naturally born leaders still have to work hard to earn their positions at the top, and people who do so can, with practice,  become more comfortable with responsibility and authority. We all may be born with natural talents, better at some things than others, but everything can be learned. With determination, the possibilities are endless. You just have to decide what YOU want to be.

Never give up on a goal

Emma’s single-minded focus when she has a goal is the scariest and most awe inspiring thing I’ve ever seen! That kind of determination is powerful. It can stop wars and cure cancer, and who knows what else. I’m just glad it’s being used for good instead of evil. And I hope that I can become half as good as she is at making things happen and achieving my goals.

Express yourself

Emma was the first person who made me see fashion as meaningful instead of superficial. In fact, she sees everything in life as an opportunity for self-expression. Fashion, decorating, food, and even office supplies. She puts thought and feeling into every choice she makes and that makes being around her a richer and more fulfilling experience. She was the person who encouraged me to pick up my ukulele for the first time in forever, and inspired me to write my own songs. By focusing on expressing myself more and in new and different ways, I was able to see myself better than I had in a long time. And that was the first step toward becoming the me I want to be.

Well, that speaks for itself! Letting a friend know how they have changed and enriched your life is definitely Emma Approved! Excuse me while I sniffle back some tears and go give Harriet a hug. I wish you all a friend like her.