I can be ornery. I like to do things a certain way, and I have a hard time apologizing. I am not sure how that happened in life, and how I became so stubborn. I actually think it is an artifact of growing up so fast. My mom became sick when I was 12. The next four years were filled with her. Taking care of her, cleaning our house, paying bills, using food stamps to buy groceries, finding my own way to/from school and other events, the list goes on. It was all up to my sister and me to figure out how to take care of my mom and figure out how to navigate our own lives. In my own way, I grew up so fast, and had to figure out things on my own, that I almost designed my own life very early on. Maybe they are/were coping mechanisms, but those critical years (when I should have been out playing and getting into trouble) I was just trying to keep shit together.
A recent Seth Godin blog titled: “Notes, not received” made me think about how maybe my childhood hardened me into not being the best at giving praise or approval. I rarely got it myself, so how would I learn to give it out to others? The third and last parts are what specifically stood out to me:
An expected apology rarely makes things better. But an expected apology that never arrives can make things worse.
An expected thank you note rarely satisfies. But an expected thank you that never arrives can make things worse.
On the other hand, the unexpected praise or apology, the one that comes out of the blue, can change everything.
It’s easier than ever to reach out and speak up. Sad, then, how rarely we do it when it’s not expected.
I still have so much to learn. I could definitely be better at work, at home, and with friends/family at unexpected apologies AND praise. We probably all can. We all probably have urges and then decide to not act on them. This is my reminder to try harder, let go more, and say what is on my mind. Hopefully it is a good reminder for you too.
I remember back in the days of cassette tapes, my mom would often play stories of healing for us. Sometimes she played them when we were sick, and other times when we could not fall asleep at night. I cannot remember 95% of the stories, but I do know that after you listened to them over and over again, you almost had them memorized. One of the ones that continues to come to me to this day was the quote: “Go to give a good time, not get a good time.”
I was reminded of this quote last night while spending a little time catching up on Facebook, where I saw this quote posted on Marianne Williamson’s timeline:
Where ego asks “What am I not getting?” in a relationship, Spirit asks “What am I not giving?”
It made me think about how often we get upset, angry, frustrated when we do not get what we want, or things do not turn out as we expected. At times in my life when I have been more aware and taken the focus off myself and really focused on “giving” to the situation, I have found I am calmer, cooler, and more collected. Sometimes though, life throws us curveballs and we are not prepared for how fast they come at us. We may feel injustice that someone is not treating us right, or we feel left out and not included in a project, whatever the reason deep down the feeling that irks us is that we do not feel loved.
I can remember many times where I have gotten upset with Chris and as we discussed it later, the reason I might have reacted was because the situation (example: he did not follow through with something) makes me feel unheard. When I don’t feel heard, I don’t feel loved. At the end of it all, the matter up for discussion is mostly irrelevant. What matters most is how we feel. We act out, react, and get angry because we want to or even need to feel loved.
So my question is: why is it so hard for us to say to another – I need more love today – can you give that to me?