Monday, December 21, 2009

Minor Revelation

I had a minor revelation this weekend. You see, I have gotten my hair cut and I'm getting nothing but compliments-which is nice. But every time I get a compliment there's a voice in my head that turns it around and makes it a bad thing. I'll give you an example:

"Janelle your hair looks great, I love it!" I hear: Janelle your hair looked awful, it's about time you did something decent with it!

How wrong is that? When I give someone a compliment that's not what I'm secretly thinking so I had no idea why I would assume they were thinking something bad.

I have literally gotten a compliment about my hair from almost everyone I know-some people don't notice or just don't say anything about such things, but the feedback from everyone else has been hugely successful. Consequently, I have really worked on not being embarrassed or beating myself up with each comment. And it's been hard.

Tim and I were talking about it last night, and I have that problem with him too-I always think he's saying something bad, when he's not. I was trying to figure out if it's just somehow how I'm wired or if my parents did it to me. Because if they did something to make me this way I surely don't want to do it to my boys!

Tim didn't see any way that my parents could have done anything to make me this way. Then he asked to give an example of when I feel that way about him so I did. My example was that I cleaned the living room, which means got all of the toys and clutter out, and he walks in and says, "The living room looks nice" and what I hear is "It's about damn time you cleaned up this junk!"

It was so funny as soon as I said it out loud I said, "That sounds exactly like my dad!" Indeed. I think my dad doesn't know how to pay a compliment and thus only says the bad side of the compliment, which is what I heard growing up. So if someone compliments me I was left to assume that they were too polite to say what they were really thinking and spun off the compliment.

Here's my best example of my dad-it made me sad when he said it, but I've come to think it's a hilarious story. We were pregnant with Eli and had invited over my parents at the same time, which was a feat in itself as my dad won't be in the same town as my mom if he can help it, but we wanted to tell them at the same time-our first baby, their first grand baby. So I said, "We're having a baby!" My mom and grandma were all, Congratulations! That's great! How exciting! How are you feeling? My dad said, "I thought you been lookin' like hell lately!" Okay, thanks!

I feel like now that I have realized why that voice in my head trys to make something bad out of something good I can eliminate it. It's going to be huge for me!

As Tim reminded me again, we're on the same side, he's not against me. It's a lesson that is so hard for me to fully grasp, but I'm getting it piece by piece. Thankfully Tim and I have a lifetime to get me to learn it!

I'm thankful that I have a sweet husband who wants the best me there is and is willing to help me get there. I love that man!


McBorn said...

I get what you are saying, about the way you interpret a compliment. Isn't it great that you have Tim to help you readjust as you get older? I didn't realize how comforting it is to have a nice husband like that. Josh is like that, too. Sometimes my husband is so much cooler than I am and I am humbled. An "outsider" of sorts who is now on your side, who loves you even with your faults and wants to be with you even if you struggle with the negativity you learned from Dad. Tim and Josh are cool dudes.

Dan and Peg said...

I'll try not to write a book for a comment! I'm really glad you are always looking to improve your ways, despite your past. I struggle with very much the same things as you describe (even moreso during pregnancy!) I, too, had a father that was harsh with words, and that lived with a negative frame of mind. Not that I'm blaming him, but it's uncanny how you can perceive things based on how your parents did. I find it very difficult to change sometimes! That is sooo wonderful we have compassionate, understanding husbands. It is so nice knowing that, with God's grace and love, we can move from our brokenness and strive to be perfect in Him. And it's so very nice when He gives us a spouse in life who loves us completely, unconditionally, to help each other with these struggles in life.
P.S.You have me curious about your cute haircut! Can't wait to see it! :)

Anonymous said...

I am late to this post, but my goodness. I have the EXACT same problem & it has caused friction between Nick & I, largely for the same reasons you cite. (i.e., we are on the same team! If he has a criticism, he knows how to offer it constructively!)

I don't know why this is, but I have always had self-esteem issues, and I also will find any way to turn a compliment around on myself. It's been an exercise to learn how to take one gracefully, and also to be able to say good things about myself. It really helps if you have someone you talk to regularly who can point out when you're downtalking yourself. Once you learn to start catching that, compliments get easier!