8 Week Challenge: Receiving

Yeah yeah, I know, I’ve fallen behind in my posts. I’ll admit it, I’ve been putting this one off. I knew that it would be a hard one for me and I honestly just didn’t want to do it. Don’t get me wrong, I could have gone through the motions and pulled a half-way decent post out of my- er.. you know, but it would have been all lies. The truth is, I’m terrible at Receiving, and I know it. I didn’t want to do this Challenge, because then I’d have to examine just how bad at it I really am. That being said, I’m glad that I did investigate this Receiving thing, because I’ve learned some pretty interesting things about myself.

Gracious Receiving

This part of the Challenge required that I keep track of every possible thing that could even be remotely construed as a compliment. I’ll have you know that I don’t really enjoy getting compliments (surprise surprise), and yet I LOVE getting compliments (huh?). Let me explain. I discovered something very interesting about myself this week, I only like to be complimented for things that I do, not things that I am. For example, I was able to graciously receive any and all compliments on my cooking, knitting, artwork, various other crafts, etc. When it came to compliments concerning me (my appearance specifically), I would practically cringe. The thing is, I know that my cooking and crafting skills are phenomenal. I’ve worked hard, I practice constantly, and I’ve honed those abilities. I produce good stuff, and as a result have come to expect compliments. My appearance, on the other hand, is something I don’t really regard as something to be proud of. I just don’t believe that I’m pretty, and have become highly suspicious of anyone who tells me otherwise. I don’t accept those compliments because I think that if someone is telling me I’m pretty, they’re either crazy or having a laugh at my expense.
How silly is that? Really, how selfish does a person have to be to deny someone else their opinion? This part of the Challenge has taught me that I have to start letting other people have their opinions, and voice them. I have come to realize that I’ve been telling myself that I’m unappealing for so long, that I forget that everyone else hasn’t been told the same thing. If they want to pay me a compliment, it’s not because they’re trying to patronize me, they probably just do like the colour of my eyes.
It’s hard to let go of old patterns, though, and I’m still having difficulty accepting compliments of a superficial nature. You know what they say though, Fake it ’til you make it, and that’s what I intend to do. I won’t modestly shake my head and say “No” every time I get a compliment, but I’ll accept that they believe it, so it must be at least partly true. Eventually my inner dialogue will make the switch too.

Seeking Help

For this part of the Challenge, I’ve decided to tell you about my Bad Day. It was my bad day, because it was my Birthday, and it was terrible. What made it worse, is that I really wanted it to be good, and the more I tried, the worse it got.
The day started out okay. The kids let me sleep in a bit, I went to a lunch seminar with an old work friend, and I even got to visit with my Dad for a bit. I was pretty excited, because my husband had planned for us all to get away for the weekend, and take the kids to the Toronto Zoo. This is where things started to go a bit sideways.
My husband came home from work early so that we could get an early start on the drive (it’s about three hours to Toronto from where we live). Well, of course, my seminar ran late, I hadn’t packed yet (my bad), and we didn’t end up leaving until after four. No big deal, it still meant getting to the hotel a bit after seven, which meant the kids would still be in pretty good spirits, but tired enough to get them to sleep in a strange bed. No big deal (famous last words). Running late meant that we ate fast food for dinner. Well, unbeknownst to us, my Dad (who had been watching the kids while I was out) had taken the kids to McDonald’s for lunch. Apparently my oldest has a junk food threshold. He crossed it. We had to stop three times to deal with vomit situations. When he wasn’t vomiting, he was screaming. Not about anything in particular, just screaming. This, of course, triggered the competitive spirit in my youngest, because she decided to try and match and/or out scream him the whole way. In addition to this, I was so stressed out that I had a panic attack. I haven’t had one in months, so, silly me, I went off of my medication. We, of course, had to pull off the highway for that as well. So, because of all the stopping to eat, throw up, find new toys, restart DVDs, have a freak out of my own, console and anything else the kids needed  to stop for, our little three hour car ride turned into five and a half hours from Hell.
You’d think after all that, getting the kids to sleep would be easy. I know that five hours of screaming would have made me tired. But, nope, wrong again. I don’t know what finally worked, but they were both asleep by midnight. And just when I thought the day was over and I could just relax, BAM! F*cking cut myself while F*cking shaving. FML
The only thing that made that day seem better, was that the return ride was twice as bad (yay for silver linings). So, my 29th birthday was a total disaster. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that 30 will be a vast improvement, it couldn’t get much worse, after all.

Balanced Expectations

So here’s where I take everything I’ve learned this week and put it into practice. I’ll admit, I don’t expect much, from myself or from other people. And I always thought that was a good thing. I’ve come to realize that it’s not good when it’s not Balanced. I used to be proud of the fact that I asked nothing of the people I Loved, only that they let me Love them, but I’m starting to realize that it’s not very gratifying to Love AT people. I would much rather be IN Love with people. In order to engage in Love, there has to be some expectations. I deserve to be treated as I treat others. I deserve to be Loved by the people I Love. I can no longer convince myself that Love means giving everything I have and expecting nothing in return. Sometimes I’m not going to be what everyone has come to expect from me. Sometimes I’m not going to just listen to your sad stories. Sometimes I’m going to demand you listen to mine, even if it goes completely against the grain to do so. Sometimes I’m going to be self-absorbed, and that’s okay, because I want you to be too. The only way we can have Love, is if we Expect to Receive it. So, I’m changing my expectations. I’m no longer going to expect people to only want my Love, I’m going to expect them to return it. I may have to repeat this part of the Challenge 74 more times to make that happen, but I start today.