Is Imitation REALLY the Sincerest Form of Flattery?

We’ve all heard the saying.

Do we really believe this though? Why do we say this.

I personally think that the best way to flatter someone would be to actually support them.

Not “supporting” them by taking their ideas and then saying something nice about it afterwards. Not by just watching Instagram stories & liking pictures and saying nice things to someone’s face and then talking poorly about them behind their back.

No.

Let’s support people by building them up. Let’s support each other by sharing content and being genuinely excited for others when they are finding success.

It’s been interesting to see who texts me and sends me messages after I started posting about my experiences over the summer and once my Instagram began to grow. Though I am a micro-influencer, I am able to support myself with the income I make from my Instagram and blog. It is a modest income, but has allowed me to have much more freedom day-to-day, now that I’m not tied down to a regular work schedule.

These texts, private messages, and comments have been a mixture of genuinely sweet conversation starters, multiple apologies from people who wronged me in the past, questions about advice and best strategies for growth, and other mixed opinions and silly insults…

In “real life”, that is, off screen, it has been quite interesting to say the least. My real friends haven’t changed a bit (love y’all!), others have made an effort to reach out, and some people have just become way more distant. Part of that is just life, but the interesting part of it, is what comes around through the grapevine about some sad comments people make.

Some of the same people that I know are speaking poorly behind my back, are the same ones that “imitate” me. They use my captions, have begun using the same apps that I do, like and then unlike photos that I post, and a few other things. I still say hey to them at events and around campus, but sometimes, I’ve noticed, that I have to say “hey” a few times to get them to even acknowledge me.

Now, I’m not saying that likes, comments, and “credit” is what’s important to me. That’s a whole other conversation! I’m saying, that seeing people “imitate” me, is not the highest form of flattery.

Rather, I would seriously love for these people to reach out personally and ask about why I decided to start, best ways to brainstorm, how to build a website and Instagram following, advice about the best photo editing apps, favorite affiliate sites, and anything else they’re wondering about. It is so much more fun to collaborate with people than feel like we are in “competition” with one another. In fact, it benefits us both to lift one another up in that way.

Ecclesiastes 4:12 says, “Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” Christ tells us that we are stronger togetherWhen we share our knowledge, wisdom, passions, and excitement with one another, that bond is not quickly broken and further success will follow.

The scripture goes on to say “A poor yet wise lad is better than an old and foolish king who no longer knows how to receive instruction.” Ecc 4:13.

I believe that Christ is telling us that even if we don’t “know it all”, or if we aren’t the best at something, the one that is that way but seeks knowledge, asks questions, actively engage with others that have done well for themselves, is way better off than the one that thinks that they can do it all themselves.

You see, when I was a freshman in college, I heard a quote that I have kept at the forefront of my brain each day since.

When I heard that quote, I asked myself, “Joanna, who do you want to be? Who do you need to surround yourself with to be that woman?”

I continued to pray about that, and decided who that woman is. Ever since, I’ve built a network of incredible friends. These are people that build each other up, share wisdom, are excited to collaborate with other people, want to soak up wisdom from other people, and are genuinely excited to see one another succeed!

I struggle with the fact that there are communities of people that I surround myself with, that are the opposite of this, and affect me just as negatively as the other group impacts me positively. Although, that’s for another post.

I’ll leave you with this. If you feel like maybe you identify with the type of person I am describing that imitates rather than truly supports other people, it’s okay! It doesn’t make you a bad person! If you feel convicted, then now you know how you can improve. We are all just human, and we will continue to improve and grow as we go through life. Now that you know an area that you need to improve, I encourage you to do the following.

  1. Apologize. Apologize to the people that you think you may have “rubbed the wrong way” or may have negatively impacted. If you apologize and then are affirmed that everything is okay, take that as an opportunity to ask them for coffee! Build that relationship 🙂
  2. Start asking questions. Ask about strategies, ask for advice, ask about anything you think of that you may be able to learn from them!
  3. Offer your own advice. I can’t speak for everybody, but I can speak for me! I love hearing other people’s advice, opinions, and critiques. After all, that is how we grow.
  4. Pray for one another. Human to human, sibling-in-Christ to sibling-in-Christ, we should also lift one another up in prayer! Whether it’s thanking the Lord for giving them the opportunities that they have, or asking that God continues to grow their heart and uses them for His glory, lift them up!

In 1 Corinthians 11:1, scripture says, “Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ”. As a Christian woman, I try to carry myself in a way that glorifies the Lord. I look up to other Christian women in my life, whether that’s in my sorority, church, my family, or even some of my professors. THIS is what we should be looking for to imitate. However, this imitation should not be just copying what another Christian does just to “be a better Christian”. Let’s learn from each other and learn from what God is doing in the hearts of those around us, and imitate that to be a better witness for His kingdom.

Instead of catching bad vibes and spreading rumors through the grapevine, I would love to catch up over coffee and hear about how God is working in your life and what you are excited about! I want to learn from you, so share with me. Share your heart, share your critiques, share your positivity, and let’s work together.

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