Following up from yesterday...
This is a major thing that trips me up emotionally and keeps me stuck:
I, at some point, placed "niceness" as a character trait that is vastly important.
This manifests itself in the following ways:
I am quick to label or excuse other people. Ex. Someone snaps at me and I assume they are having a bad day or that I somehow stepped on their toe. This drive for niceness has gotten better with maturity. Much better, actually. I used to NEED to be liked. Now. I understand that people aren't going to like me at all and for all sorts of reasons. And that is the way it is. I'm okay with that. However the issues that still bother me are things like owing someone a favor. I would rather have someone else owe me $5.00 for the rest of our lives than for me to owe someone a dollar. I also hate to ask people for their time, I would rather do without than put them out.
How does this affect my life? I don't want to waste people's time. My violin lessons stress me out because if I don't do well, I feel like I'm wasting my teacher's time. I don't like to ask for favors because I feel like people are busy and I don't want to add to their stress. My business suffers from this too, because I need to ask people to share opinions, try stuff out, have a party or invest fifteen minutes in a phone call.
On the flip side. I really struggle with folks who are users. When someone doesn't hesitate to ask for something he/she has no business asking for I honestly am shocked. Selfish people, the ones out for number one, irritate me and I honestly avoid them because of their selfishness. Even worse are the selfish folks who won't come out and tell you what they want, need or expect and expect you to go the extra mile to read their minds and follow their unspoken instructions.
Maybe that is the bottom line of my issue. That I equate the word nice with unselfishness and I feel compelled to be unselfish in my behavior. Hmmm. But niceness can be manipulative and dishonest and just as selfish. So clearly, I need to separate these words and put them into proper context.
I think I need to understand the difference between the definition of nice and the following words. Kind, respectful, gentle, agreeable, pleasant, laid back, unselfish, reliable, sweet and I need to redefine what I expect of myself. I can't help but notice that some of those words appear as the Fruit of the Spirit.
Where my violin is concerned, I need to understand that a) I am paying him so if I waste time, it really is only mine. I owe him respect and kindness. I need to be agreeable and have a can-do and will-try attitude. He doesn't like it when I get discouraged and he tries to encourage me so I need to make that easier for him by not letting my errors and struggles defeat me.
In my business, I need to remember that the products I represent and business I've chosen are lifesavers for so many people. The woman who buys lottery tickets hoping to escape her 40 hour work week grind of a job, the people who have given up dreaming, the young mom who wants to stay home with her kids, the young professional who is buried in student debt, the woman who looks in the mirror and hates what she sees, the mom who is concerned with what she puts on her baby's skin. It is not selfish for me to offer this to others, it would be selfish for me to pick and choose those who I'll share it with.
I'll do some definition investigation and be back with it tomorrow.
Change. I've learned to embrace it, ride it out til the end. Sometimes I'm kicking and screaming, other times weeping with my eyes clinched tight. Once in awhile I ride like a dog in a car, head out the window snorting what life has to offer. Mother to young adult children, a marriage of thirty years, and a desert to mountain to valley waltz with God have shaped me into someone I never imagined I'd be. Life is short and I want to live it. Tears, sighs, laughter and change. Every morsel granted to me. Scrambled, shaken or stirred.