Friday, June 7, 2013
Thursday, April 1, 2010
the victim of expectations to whom we can do the most damage is ourself. expecting all of the things we think we should be accomplishing blinds us to the things that we are achieving and leaves us feeling increasingly insignificant. it is easy as a man or woman in today's world to heap so many expectations on ourselves that we become paralyzed trying to accomplish them.
a parent expects a certain grade from a child in the child's math class. not every brain grasps the concepts of math and not every child will get an 'A'. That expectation can cripple a child as he fears failure and is unable to relax and learn. he know that negative consequences accompany that unmet expectation and he does not want to disappoint his parents. at the same time, trying his absolute best involving studying and outside help he gets a 'B' (an incredible achievement for this particular child in this particular class) and must go home to face recrimination and accusation. this may seem like a minor example, but it will effect the child's math career and possibly entire academic career as he realizes that his very best effort just isn't enough for his parents.
it becomes even more destructive in a relationship with a spouse. when i expect my husband to do certain things, there is no recognition of him actually having done something, just a fulfilled expectation. how much more enjoyable would married life be if we didn't expect anything and as a result were constantly surprised and grateful for the small acts of kindness performed by our spouse? again, some would argue that lowering expectations would engender a decrease in desired activity. this is simply not true because it is human nature to try to please those we love. if those efforts are rewarded, we try even harder. if we don't reward behavior because it was just expected, we diminish the motivation to do more or even do as much as we did. just be happy with whatever happens on valentine's day and recognize that the other 364 days are a better indication of someone's love. just know that expecting a clean house when you get home won't make it happen, but noticing it might. children want so much to make us proud of them, but their energies will find other outlets if we never recognize their best efforts. "best effort" means something different for every person. imagine a world where we acknowledged the things people do and didn't just expect it.
Thursday, December 3, 2009
I've been thinking about my life and the struggles that i have and at the same time i look at how good i have it. it has made me want to get it all down in writing and figure out how to make the good even better and to eliminate the bad. there are things about myself i'd like to change, but up to this point have been unable. this is my venue and this is my place for the most complete honesty i can find and the most unshielded i've probably ever let myself be. as a mom, i've seen things about my own life that i probably would not have otherwise seen. i recognize the roots of some of my struggles in the things that my parents did. i also see that they weren't intentional and are forgivable, but would at this point, now knowing what i know, be unforgivable in me as a parent. i've decided that the one thing our children need (once you get past the very essentials of food, shelter and warmth) is love and acceptance (which is, in fact two things, closely tied and inseparable). For me, when i finally am able to go back and look at things as though through another's eyes, i finally see what i've not been seeing all of these years. i came into this world a tomboy, i have no doubt about it. there is a chance that having 3 older brothers made that characteristic even more pronounced than it would have already been, but i'm fairly certain that that was in my genes. i see now that a child can be destroyed very early and very quickly by the very people that are supposed to love that child. and the destruction doesn't come from beatings or even being told unkind things. this destruction that i'm speaking of comes from a fundamental rejection of a person's essence, of the very being of that person as something unwanted and aberrant. there was early on in my life an obvious (so obvious in fact that it took me 33 years to see it) rejection of parts of my personality. specifically, those parts of my personality that would have been appropriate had I been born a boy. interestingly, i was not born a boy, i just wanted to do every single thing that boys want to do and wanted absolutely nothing to do with the things girls want to do. for some reason, that i may never understand, the person most responsible for my feeling love and acceptance was the very source of my rejection. In no way do i say that that rejection was intentional or even conscious, nevertheless that rejection encapsulated my feelings for myself and drove them into a place from which i am still climbing. My mom had three boys. She was so amazed to have a girl that when i was born and she was told the gender, she replied, "a what?". How disappointing to have your long-awaited girl end up acting just like your boys. thankfully, not long after, a much girlier girl came along and solved the need for a daughter. i was an unknown, what do you do with a girl that acts like a boy. well, now that i've lived through this, my answer would be "love her just the way she is" however that's not exaclty how it played out in my life. i'm not sure how to define the feelings that existed for me, because they are not mine, but i know how i ended up feeling. i have 3 big brothers ( and i mean big, especially compared to me when i was a little girl.) all i wanted in life was to do what they did and be with them, to the point that i would have done anything to make that happen. the one real problem with that was that the rejection that came from my mom ended up carrying over to my brothers and so their rejection was justified. it was okay to beat me up for wearing their clothes, because that was something that i was unequivocally forbidden from doing. (something i let my little girl do whenever she wants...go figure). i've been told that when my brothers planned their day each and every day of our childhood, their first order of business was to work into that plan the best way to exclude me.. yeah, that was hard to hear. when i finally started to really look at this and understand why i'm the way i am, i got pretty angry. i realized that instead of being pummeled both physically and emotionally every day of my life, i could have been loved and protected. instead of being rejected, i could have been included. i now know this is true, because my girly little sister ( i mean that in a nice way) was protected. if a hand was laid on her, it was practically a death sentence. why, then, was it not that way for me? i was not my mom's little girl. i should have been, but i wasn't and she didn't know what to do with what i was. this has carried over so completely that i still will rarely shop for myself, not because i hate shopping, but because i hate thinking about how not like a woman i feel when i'm shopping. how my insecurity is so deep that a make-up counter attendant had to match my color with my neck because i couldn't stop blushing. i'm now beginning to understand how long it takes to heal. it doesn't matter what you give your kids, what you feed them, what you clothe them in, what you read to them...all that matters is that you love them for EXACTLY who they are, even if what they are is something you don't understand. There was never a day of feeling pretty or cute, feeling like anything but the ugly friend. it's crazy how much of what we are is decided even before we have a say. no wonder our lives are spent trying to recover from our childhood. i know there are some that come out of childhood happy and healthy, i hope my kids will be able to count themselves in with that group.