Often I think of my brain being designed somewhat like a pinball machine. I am capable of bouncing from one idea to another effortlessly. That is the reason I often find my cup in the microwave hours after I put it in to reheat my coffee. Obviously something bright and shiny caught my attention within the 60 seconds it took to take my coffee from lukewarm to hot.
But there are times that my brain mobility serves as an asset. Often as a writer, especially of an almost daily blog, I ponder about what to write. I can always find something that interests me, but the bigger question that often haunts me is whether my readers will find the subject interesting. I try to write about a variety of subjects,but at the end of the day I realize I’m a middle aged (if I plan to live to be108) female living on a cul-de-sac smack dab in the middle of the country with two grown children with two legs and two three year old children with four legs and my life is a bit average, if not boring.
So,often I must rely on the random thoughts ricocheting around in my head to help me think of what I write about today that my readers will read tomorrow.
Today was one of those days. I’ve mentioned recently that I’ve been fragmented and my schedule since mid-April has been controlling me rather than me controlling it. So having the time to sit at my desk and ponder by belly button has been limited. Hence, I’ve struggled many days about what I could write.
But this morning as I was sending a friend a text about an unrelated subject, I typed, “And I know I’ve done my best, and as my mom used to tell me, that is all anyone can ask.”
Whoa…first of all, I haven’t thought of that line in a longtime. It came out of the blue (and orange if you like the Thunder) and when I typed it
my bouncy brain immediately went to the positive impact of things my mother has said to me over the years and from there I thought
how much different my outlook on life would be if I could only hear the positive things that have been said to me rather than all of the negative…
I don’t know if you are like I am, but I often replay old “tapes.” Sad, ugly, hurtful things that have been said to me in the past and when I get down or feel badly, those old voices/tapes begin to play in my head. Even when I realize what is happening, I seem to be powerless, at least for a while, to shift the tide.
How different it would be if I played the positive, healthy and loving things that had been said to me in the same way. Strangely, I don’t do that. Actually when someone compliments me I often deflect it and shy away from acknowledging it.
Why am I like a sponge for the negative and like Teflon for the positive?
If I had the answer to that question, I’d likely be a millionaire and would put thousands of therapists in the welfare line.
That presents an even bigger question.
If I realize what is happening, can I change my response? Can I teach myself to deflect the negative and absorb the positive?
Side note: Often there are positive things we can learn from what seems to be hurtful criticism. If we view it with an open mind and take in the good and refuse to have a totally negative, closed response, then we can likely learn something…
Words can be hurtful. Often the hurtful words have more to do with the person saying them than the person receiving them. Negative people tend to share their negativity freely and if we are susceptible to it, it can harm us even when it shouldn’t.
Once I had a conversation with a long time friend (I’ve been advised to say that rather than old friend). She mentioned that her niece had blossomed. She commented that her niece went through an awkward stage when she wasn’t very cute, but now she was just beautiful. I knew what she said was often true, and she continued, “Like you, when we went to _____ together several years ago you were in your awkward stage.”
Mind you, I was an adult – her niece was a teenager. I was married and had two daughters and she graciously shared that she thought I was going through my awkward stage then. She said, “Your hair, actually everything about you!”
I was speechless. First of all, how did the subject shift to me? And secondly, that had been at least 10 years before, why bring it up now? And thirdly, awkward?????
At that moment any compliment I’d ever received was wiped from my memory. I couldn’t hear any other voices except that one.
The funny thing is, I later found pictures from that trip and I did look goofy. It was in the curly perm days and even though I looked like most women my age at the time, I didn’t look my best.
Of course I still remember every word she said. I can even hear her voice in my head. It is one of my tapes…in my library. I don’t play it often because I’ve decided I like how I look for the most part and I don’t have the energy to chase after youth or perky boobs or any such thing.
So I have a new goal. Rather than remember all of the negative things that have been said tome, I’m going to try to remember more of
the things my mother said to me…
So here we go Mom…you’re on…you often said I didn’t listen to you…well, I’m listening now.
Do your best sweetie,that is all anyone can ask of you.
You aren’t too tall. Someday you will love having those long legs. (My mom was 5’3 on her best day and I was 5’5”. My cousin that is my age is 4’9” and my dad was 5’6”) Many in my world were shorter than average, so when I came along an average height, I felt tall. Plus I was 5’5” in the 5th grade!
You have a sweet smile.
You have a good eye.
You are a good baker.
I love to hear you play the piano.
Will you help me decorate my house? I like your house.
You are a good mother.
You are a loving daughter.
You make me laugh.
You have a big heart.
God loves you just the way you are…you don’t have to dress up for him.
Friends will come and go – but God will always be there.
Eat your vegetables!
Your dresses are too short! Oops, that one just slipped in there. I’m a child of the ‘70’s.
Hold your shoulders back and walk with good posture.
Don’t eat too much.
Don’t eat too little.
Go to church.
Be a good friend.
Listen for God’s voice in the small things.
I’m sure they didn’t mean it the way it sounded…she always gave everyone the benefit of the doubt.
My mother doesn’t remember these things now and I believe that my efforts to remember her words is a special way of keeping her alive in my heart…the way she used to be…because my mother always did her best and that was all I ever needed.
Living with Grace...and i'm grace