Wednesday, January 4

Learning Things

I've been noticing something about the way I present myself in front of others (especially those I don't know or trust).  I'm thankful to my older sister who brought this to my attention.
   For many many years, I've had this way of protecting myself from others' hurt, by being self-degrading.  
Unfortunately, I do the same about my children.  I will hurry and 'admit' their weaknesses or weak points so that others (as if they would) won't be the first to do so. Perhaps it stems from being made fun of in jr. high school, and all the damage I allowed that experience to cause.
  On the other hand, when I am surrounded by people who I know really love my children, and people that I really trust to love and accept me for who I am, it's not an issue.
 At home, we do very well to compliment our children often (maybe a little too much sometimes) on positive traits, encouraging good behavior, and telling them we love them.

  The two are not consistent with each other, and I can see how someone looking from the outside in, and seeing my little nit-picking going on in public may be concerned about my kids' sense of value (in a way too, I don't want to be a mom who is always bragging-so I smother those overwhelming  feelings of pride and gratitude just enough so that there's balance, conveying the message that "I know my kid isn't perfect, but she/he has great qualities").
  There's got to be a wiser and better way.  I'll find it, I'm sure.  I need a mind that is very different in approaching things than am I to jump in and give me a new perspective on this.
  Anyhow, I guess my lesson other than working on this little quirk of mine, is that you know that someone REALLY loves you, when they will tell you honestly and lovingly something they recognize that simply isn't right in your life.  So again, thank you my sister for doing that very thing for me :) And I'll get right on it!

And Mom, if you ever read this, know that the last time I did this for you (and I don't think any of us ought to do it often), it was purely out of love and concern.  I hope you understand that someday.


Lars Barlow said...

I remember as a kid when we learned about saying no to drugs there was one particular person who taught the lesson like this: If you fail to create a plan for a situation before the situation arises then you don't know how you will react. In fact you will likely react the same way you always do and continue bad behavior or go along with the crowd. If on the other hand you have created a plan of action, a response or otherwise then you won't even think when the situation arrives. You will simply act based upon your previous decision.
I think this lesson can be taken into heart with a lot of self-improvement exercises. When I need to improve a behavior I don't wait to see if I can improve that behavior the next time a situation comes up. I think out the possible scenarios that it might, starting with those that have come up repeatedly in the past as they are the most likely to repeat again, and I consider and decide on new actions. I repeat those actions to myself a few times until I get it decided and understood.
One example I have is that when I was a kid I noticed that when I was in a public setting if I were asked, "How are you?" I would always respond with, "Fine." This bothered me because I never felt "fine". I was always either ok, sad or really really happy. I decided that I wouldn't say "fine" anymore and practiced a few alternative responses in my head.

Rachael Wheeler said...

Good suggestion. Still figuring out what my plan of action is exactly. Mostly, it's to focus on those around me.

Mike and Adrianne said...

I wrote a long comment yesterday but it didn't post. It is always hard to hear things about yourself you need to change, but better when it comes from someone you know truly loves you, like your sister.

I just wanted to say that I think you are a wonderful mom who loves her children (and learning to love herself more) and I never got the impression that you were putting your children down. I always knew you were proud of them but also didn't feel like you were bragging. I thought you had a good balance. However, I also know I wasn't around you as much as some people. But from my end, I didn't get that feeling from you.

I had a similar experience this summer with a friend (who didn't love me the way your sister loves you) tell me some things about myself. She basically told me every bad thing she had ever noticed. It hurt and damaged me and I had to pray for a long time and ask how Heavenly Father saw me. Did he feel the same way? Did I need to change those things? I found a great deal of peace and knew which things to change but also felt his love for me, unlike my friend's. I realized he saw me exactly the way I am good and bad and loved me anyway and that he would gently teach me how to change.

So my advice is to be kind to yourself and try and view yourself the way the Lord views you. Pray and ask him what you should change and how to do it and he will tell you.

Rachael Wheeler said...

This is something I've really tried to do recently and still struggle with...really seeing myself as Jesus sees me. It's hard to do. But, I think I'll renew my effort in that now.
Thanks Adrianne. :)

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