Tuesday, November 13, 2007

What Other People Think of Me is None of My Business

Today's better, I guess. I was so busy at work today I didn't get a chance at all until this evening to think about blogging. It's newsletter time, but also time for our church's annual meeting, which means I need to compile agendas, minutes, budgets, reports etc., and assemble them into 200 packets. It's also time to distribute the new offering envelopes, so I had to label all 299 boxes. The Christmas Eve poinsettia orders are due this week, so they're flying in, as well as memorial gifts for a deceased member of the church, and these have to be recorded so I can put them in the newsletter. Oh, and the Sunday School superintendent needed lessons printed up for grades 1-6, and our associate pastor needed 200 copies of his Christmas letter copied. All of this on top of my usual work. Fun fun!

I really kind of worked myself into a bit of a frenzy over this whole ordeal I shared with you yesterday. But at least when I'm upset I'm not compulsively overeating. Hubby and I talked about it more this morning, and I suppose it's as resolved as I'm ever going to get it.

I feel kind of foolish about the whole thing now. I look back at myself and see a whining, spoiled brat who threw a fit because she didn't get her way. The scolding mother in me looks at this little girl and says, "Guess what, kid? Life isn't fair, so get used to it."

I also think I totally set myself up for more disappointment and hurt feelings with my e-mail to him. Looking back, I think I expected him to respond objectively and empathetically -- basically like a therapist would. I wanted him to listen and validate my feelings and not interject his opinions into it or give me any judgments or criticisms. And that just isn't realistic. I know this man pretty well, and he responded pretty much like he always does. He gets defensive, he sees things subjectively and can't help bringing his feelings into it. And let's not forget the family gift of guilt.

I also realize a lot of my upset feelings stems from my age-old quest to win someone's approval. It started with desperately trying to get my dad's approval (i.e. love) and has moved on to peers, teachers, bosses, boyfriends, etc. This also feeds into my difficulty saying no to people and the need to be perfect. I've always had a horrible time coping with criticism, negative reviews and full-out *ss-chewings. I fall apart emotionally because I feel worthless, stupid and unlovable.

Let's face it: Hubby and his family did not approve of my trip, and although they've apparently backed down on their outright disdain (at least to my face) I will never make any of them think it's a great idea. And that's what's felt so unfair this weekend: all of the "boys" were basking in their fully sanctioned, 100 percent approved trips, while I will never get that.

There's a great saying my Mom shared with me: What other people think of me is none of my business. I have to quit relying on outside validation to feel good about myself. I have to tune out those people out there who are out to make me feel bad or that my opinions are shoddy because we don't agree on certain things. I have to stop comparing myself to others and focus on my good qualities and how I can improve the ones that are a little shaky.

So, instead of telling this little girl to suck it up and tell her the world is a cold, hard place, I need to give her a hug, tell her I love her and let her know that things will get better.

1 comment:

Jenny said...

One of the best things in life, is that we can reflect, evaluate and improve on what has been. We can forgive ourselves and move on. I didn't view your actions as being spoilt, but I get what you mean about needing validation and sometimes it comes from unexpected places, and is no less valuable. It's also something some of us never really grow out of.

Hope your work schedule eases off a little, but I guess working in a church near Christmas, that might be a too much to ask for.