Believe it when someone believes in you

Many years ago I was at a seminar at the Vancouver Arts Centre. I was still an art student, not at all sure of who or how I wanted to ‘be’ in the bewildering art world. I don’t even remember what the seminar was about. But the lady in charge was to become a Very Significant Person in my life. Her name was Trina Butko and she was one of those people who light up a room when they walk into it. With her, it felt like there were possibilities lurking just around the corner.

I don’t recall what we were talking about that day when Trina suddenly said to me, “Malini, YOU should run workshops! We have Harmony Week coming up and I think you should put together a proposal for it, and run some workshops in schools.”

I had never run a workshop in my life. Never taught children in my life. Never written a proposal for anything. I was still a student myself!

“What do you mean, run a workshop? I couldn’t possibly. I’ve never done it before! I don’t know how.”

Trina replied with her engaging, impossible-to-say-no-to smile, “Just go for it. You’re perfect for this. Write up a proposal, and I’ll have a look at it. I think you’ll be brilliant! Do it.” And she walked off, leaving me stunned.

You know how sometimes things just feel ‘right’? Well this SO didn’t! In fact I actually felt a bit sick at the thought. I wondered if she was a little nuts. Why was she so sure about this? I wasn’t even a little sure.

But she really seemed SO certain that I could, that I should, that I MUST. So I did.

I wrote the proposal, showed up at the schools, ran the workshops. It was a scary, fantastic, eye-opening experience – simultaneously terrifying and wonderful. And things have never been quite the same since.

I don’t teach children anymore. I don’t run workshops in schools. I haven’t written any more proposals. But I started something that changed the course of my life, and it was all because Trina believed in me. So I’ve just realised a Very Important Thing.

It’s all very fine and handy to believe in oneself. But when its early days and you don’t really have a clue, and you’re afraid and you can’t see the possibilities within … it’s really ok to just believe in someone else’s belief in you!

Thank you Trina.

Because of you, I teach, it’s my life’s work. I LOVE it.

Have you ever believed in someone else’s belief in you?

Comments 30

  1. Isn’t it amazing how that little bit of encouragement from someone along with your courage to try something new lead to a whole new life’s journey and profession.

    Lucky for me I have a wonderful mother who somehow continues to believe in me no matter what 😉

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      awww, yay for you! thank you for YOUR guidance with images and colour and insight into how people think…and of course with navigating the bizarro online world! (and remember how nervous I was for those first workshops?!)

  2. You’re never alone.
    As you navigate the tricky seas of life, there is always a good crew that helps sail the good ship you.
    Malini’s latest blog reminded me that every step of my life’s journey has never been solo and that the people around you are there for a reason.
    So Trina if you ever read this let me also thank YOU for always being open to possibilities.

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  3. Not just immediate family who reads the blogs! I remember that whole period very clearly. You and Mary cutting up eyes, mouths, ears etc. You were amazing and so very courageous and the workshops were brilliant, the kids just loved it. How lovely for you that you found Trina again and are able to reflect on how far you have come since then. You and your family continue, as always to inspire me. xxxxxxxxx

  4. you Malini, Greg and Mary all are inspirational, each on your own way , I am so blessed to know and love you all

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  5. Another beautifully articulated thought. Thanks for sharing that lovely story, Malini. Makes me think of how important it is to listen to wise people around me and to also encourage those I can.

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      It’s truly amazing what a difference it makes when we encourage others. We have such power to change lives, each of us, just by believing in someone! And it doesn’t take months of counselling either 🙂 One sentence can change everything. Amazing really. Thanks for reading my blog, May! x

  6. Seems like Trina must have had the capacity to see beneath the surface of you and see a bud about to blossom.
    That was another beautiful story Malini, and indeed you are blessed to be able to love the work in your life.

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  7. Malini
    I loved reading this, so well written, you take the reader right into the world of your thoughts and feelings at the time. Maybe I should encourage you to be a writer, you have such a wonderful style of engaging the reader.
    Thanks so much for sharing that. Not only is it a poignant reminder for when we get encouragement, but also when to give it.

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      Hello Nils, thank you so much for reading and sharing your thoughts! And for your kind encouragement of ME! I’m reminded to keep passing the encouragement on… much love to you x

  8. Mal, your writing gave me goosebumps (that is a good thing by the way!). Seizing opportunities, being open to new ideas and trusting in your ability however nervous one gets what a blessing. Much love Axxx

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      Hi there gorgeous! Thank you so much 🙂 Always an honour to give another goosebumps!!
      Life’s been quite a ride, hasn’t it ? I know you know ALL about this! We’ve been fortunate to have people come along who’ve believed in us xxx

  9. When faced with a choice you can either embrace the opportunity that presents itself, or just keep on doing what you have been doing thus far. However, anyone could do “status quo”, but you alone are the confluence of opportunity and potential (the proportions of which are different for everyone), so I would always explore the new, mindful that some opportunities may always exist, though you may not…

    Chance alway favours a spiritually prepared heart, one that is open to all that flows its way, and is emboldened by a desire for excllence and service to others.

    Your decision is a perfect example.

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      I can just hear your beautifully modulated voice with that wonderful accent saying wise things 🙂 I have to admit, I had to read it a few times to get the full depth of your wisdom, as it had a lot of big words in it! But I think I understand what you mean. “The confluence of opportunity and potential” I like that. Thank you for your thoughtful response, Charles. xx

  10. Hi sisterling! I think as sisters we especially helped to mirror our ‘beauty’ to each other, since we each had the capacity to see the beauty in each other but alas often were not able to see it in ourselves. Sounds kind of convoluted, but I think you know what I mean. Thanks for articulating this so well. Pads

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      Thank you so much! Yes, you in particular ALWAYS believed in me long before I did in myself. And well done for working out how to leave a comment!! big hugs x

  11. Malini, this was a wonderful story. Yes, the same thing happened to me – someone believed in me when i didn’t yet know how to believe in myself. i love your last line….”it’s really ok to just believe in someone else’s belief”… your work is beautiful, btw. xoxo

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      Thank you so much, Pauline! I think this is a universal human experience, and often goes unnoticed! For me, it was largely forgotten until I noticed a name on Facebook that I hadn’t seen for years – it triggered a flood of memories and a huge insight on what started my journey. I’m so glad my ageing synapses didn’t forget to fire that time 🙂 Thank you for your kind comments on my work too.

  12. Mal, how I marvel at your interesting life journey of where you have come from to be what you are today !
    So pleased you have found fulfilment as a compassionate visual artist despite all the distractions that happened in between which could have seriously hamper your aspirations. Instead those ‘adversity’ speared you to those lovely paintings you have produced and exhibited thus far. Thank God you hang in there to ‘someone else’s belief in you’ !

    I get the hint when you suggested we read your latest blog as it may cause some resonance ? Thanks for the encouragement ! 🙂

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      Hello Jasmine!
      Thank you for your warm and kind comments…and yes, I WAS hoping for some resonance 🙂 Life takes us on very interesting journeys if we are willing to take the steps and follow ‘the road less travelled’ !
      much love to you!

  13. Hi Mal, you truly have the gift of connecting with your readers! There is so much sincerity in your sharing – it’s good to remember those who have believed in us that led us to where we are today. Gratitude will motivate us to carry on with greater fervor in what we do and to in turn encourage others to believe in the impossible.

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      Hi Lay Cheng
      Good to hear from you and thank for your warm response and kind words! We are fortunate to have people believe in us. It lights the way even when we didn’t realise we were in the dark 🙂 take care x

  14. Thank You for Being Inspired… and Inspiring all who read this …..

    Inspiration goes full circle…. it never ceases….

    I remember this day clearly, it was your light and passion that drew me to you…..

    Thank you for trusting in me, yourself and the door that was open.

    To quote Joseph Campbell, “You begin to meet people who are in the field of your bliss and
    they open the doors for you. I say follow your bliss and don’t be afraid and doors will open where you didn’t know they were going to be.”

    The secret to life is to Follow Ones Bliss and Malini you are a true example of this….

    I AM blessed to know you….. keep shining bright angelic one …..

    Trina 🙂 x

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      Oh my gosh, Trina, what a joy to see your words on my website 🙂 I feel weirded out and honoured all at the very same time! Thank you for believing in me, wonderful lady. I don’t have a clue what you saw in me, it still puzzles me to this day, but the planets were aligned and I was truly blessed. Big love and hugs to you xx

    2. Oh its like seeing a celebrity!
      Trina, I’m glad you believed in my Aunty Mal and gave her the encouragement she needed!!

      A.Mal, so true, sometime others can see in you what you cant see in yourself, I guess our task then is to have to courage to believe them!!

  15. Wow thanks for sharing that Mal, and what a difference that belief made for so many…

    How many amazing dreams of others have been realised by someone believing in you…

    Wonder what it would take for us all to believe in someone and let them know… and it makes it one step closer to having the courage to believe in themselves.

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