Faults v. Virtues

When you think of yourself, what comes to mind first?

“I could lose 30 pounds.”

“I can’t carry a tune in a bucket.”

“I’m a terrible Mom.”

As a child, we’re often taught not to talk about our abilities. “Don’t be conceited,” they tell us. “It’s not polite.” Especially for a girl. I remember reading in a Catholic Girl (was that the title? don’t remember for sure) Magazine, it was stressing the duty of the girl to remain “pure” in mind, body, and heart. Part of the duty was to praise the boyfriend, and be his lovely assistant in everything, to know their place. We didn’t hear “Good Job!” every time we did something. Some of us were told a “B” wasn’t good enough, it should have been an “A”.

Wow, that was the late 50s and early 60s for you. No more. We weren’t supposed to be smarter than the boys, or stronger, or better at doing anything. Wow. There are many very intelligent women, strong women, who are the best at what they do. How sad we were instructed to dumb ourselves down. How can we live fully is we pretend to be less than what we actually are?

I, for one, hadn’t a clue what I was going to do with the rest of my life after the kids grew up. I didn’t want to hover over them, after all, you have them to send them out into the world. I loved my kids to pieces, and knew I was happiest with them. I couldn’t keep having kids because I didn’t have a life plan.

Making the decision to go to community college was the best thing I ever did. Having a lot of interests made it a little harder to decide what to do. I decided on Medical Secretary. I earned a certificate, but found a job at ConAgra. Lots of on the job training by observing a huge business working. It was amazing.

I took many business classes and was finally offered a programmer trainee position if I completed a certification program for a year. I would have been crazy not to do it. It launched me way further than I could have imagined.

By learning I had value, talents, abilities, I experienced a lot of growth as a person and in my career. I finally knew I did a good job. While I think kids may not need constant praise, I believe some is needed. Too many wounded adults are walking the earth. Many others don’t realize they are. We need to learn to accept our virtues and talents. Otherwise we can be overwhelmed by our faults. Those two sentences from Robert G. Coleman leapt of the page at me this morning. So many of us spend time tabulating our faults. We need to tally our virtues. Take some time doing that today. Do it every day. Be fair. You will discover your worth.

Self deprecation can be funny, we need to laugh at ourselves. Taken too far, it’s not good. It’s only recognizing part of ourselves. We need to recognize all that we are in order to become all we can. Don’t let your faults define you and your legacy. Start today. Appreciate yourself. And make it a habit.

Have a beautiful day. It’s lovely outside in the shade. Going to check the plants now. Be safe. See you tomorrow.

Be Bold.

Oh dear. When I was growing up in the 50s and 60s, girls weren’t supposed to be bold. That was taken as impolite back in the day. We couldn’t question anyone, since our fathers, mothers, teachers, and anyone else knew what was best for us. And, if you didn’t marry by about 25, you were destined to be an Old Maid. Sad, eh? Oh, and when you got married, the man was the head of the house, and you were the heart. Wow. Well, I didn’t make a good choice in husband, and I found a voice and disagreed with his decision making. About everything. Money, kids, everything. I wanted to get a job at a doctor’s office. He laughed. We went to counseling. We got divorced. I got a job, an education, bought my own home, and have had a very happy life.

It was the first time I chose to be bold. I could no longer be passive. It gave me a terribly nervous stomach, muscle spasms in my gut, and the feeling I would throw up all the time. Stress. Everyone’s friend. That stopped when he moved out. Ah, peace at last.

Of course, there were other stresses; money, visitation, all sorts of things. And it all worked out. What I loved about it was no one was questioning, arguing, poking fun at my decisions. It was peaceful. I could breathe again. I became better at making choices in everyday living and I gained confidence and energy. It was a lot of hard work, and worth every bit of it. I am a grateful woman.

It does take courage. It also requires patience. Patience with yourself, your decision making skills, your development of those skills and others, and the navigation needed to change your route when needed. I never thought about it that much before, but it was brave, and hard, and lonely. I’m so grateful. I learned to recognize opportunities and later learned to create my own opportunities. God led me to a wonderful life.

I like to share that growth process with people now. I’m not describing situations I’ve experienced to gain sympathy or place blame. I describe it because I remember feeling as if I didn’t belong; funny thing was, I didn’t. Still don’t. But now I know why. It’s because I’m the one to break the curse, the tradition, the same way of doing things. I have different attitudes about everything than my mom does; it’s part of why we clash. She tries to make me like her, I resist. Always have. I need to be me. It will always be that way. I think a great deal about how what I say may make someone feel. No, it’s not my job to preserve their feelings. I do, however, need to be kind and sensitive.

I had a visit with my friend who had the stroke a couple month ago; she is home and seems to be doing quite well. I’m so glad for her. I’ll see her more often now. I miss seeing her every week like we did before. Probably since about 2013 we’ve seen each other once a week. It won’t be like it was, it’ll be a new way. We had square donuts. There is honestly a place in Omaha who makes them square. Actually a good idea, four extra bites. Nothing to turn your nose up to.

It looks as if it may rain again this afternoon. I feel a tiny nap coming on. Just enough to clear my head. Hope you have a great rest of the day. See you tomorrow.