Hey Grand Rapidians! We need to love ourselves more!

I have so much I want to write about but I have so little time! However, I want to take a moment to comment about the great column that Tommy Allen wrote in today's (June 30, 2011) edition of Rapid Growth. His weekly "G-Sync" column is always thoughtful, engaging and sometimes edgy - and that is good! Today's column is titled, "Not the Visiting Kind" and you can link to it here. I too have had the same experience that Tommy had when he was visiting another city on the east coast recently.

I do believe that we in West Michigan and more specifically in Grand Rapids need to love ourselves more! As Tommy so aptly notes: ". . . while we have worked to create a community that we want to live in, we seem to be obsessed with crafting our image in the shadow of another. . . maybe we need to stop trying to make people love us and simply learn to love ourselves a bit more." Yes indeed!

Grand Rapids continues to evolve into an even more attractive city to visit and live in! As the Grand Rapids Community Foundation's vision statement states: "We envision a magnetic, interconnected West Michigan community." Let the people from more renown cities love their cities and they will love us too because we love our city without having to do cartwheels to get the attention from the rest of the world!

I used to start meetings for a committee I chaired for a national association a few years back in Washington, D.C. by saying: "Greetings from the center of the universe . . . Grand Rapids, Michigan!" And I wasn't kidding! (This was before Guy Bazzini named the corner of Diamond and Lake Dr."The Center of the Universe".)

There is a certain connection that we have to people and/or places we visit or in which we reside that cannot be measured by any study and research! It's that first few seconds when you meet someone for the first time as Malcolm Gladwell writes in the book, Blink. He writes on his website: "There's a wonderful phrase in psychology--"the power of thin slicing"--which says that as human beings we are capable of making sense of situations based on the thinnest slice of experience."

Whether or not this "rapid cognition" is always valid, there is a sense or "vibe" that I do get when I visit a place new to me or a restaurant or a person. I may be wrong sometimes (hard to believe I know!) but Tommy is right on! No need to feel any less about this great place - we have so many great things going on! We need to continue "to build" the best Grand Rapids embracing difference and welcoming one and all to share in living in one of the finest places on this planet!