Recently I was talking to one of my sisters about the Ins and Outs of daily life. She told me about how busy she and her husband are, but they are busy doing different things and as a result they don’t get a lot of quality time together. Everybody has their own version of quality time, but she told me how much she would love sitting down and folding laundry together for half an hour while they just talked. I thought about this and thought about how awful that sounded.
Why would conversation and help with my daily jobs sound terrible? Cue one of my insecurities… I am not a great house keeper. I do a decent job of loading the dishwasher, running a vacuum, and more of the surface jobs, but that’s about where it ends. My husband is cleaner than I am, and would undoubtedly appreciate the house be cleaner on a more regular basis. Props to him, he rarely says anything. He just loves me and appreciates what I did get done (most of the time.) However, if it ever gets to the point where he just can’t handle it anymore, he starts cleaning. This should be a good thing. This should be something that makes me happy. It doesn’t. As soon as he starts cleaning, I immediately feel defensive. I feel like I haven’t done my part well enough. If I had cleaned better throughout the week he wouldn’t be spending his Saturday cleaning nooks and crannies.
This week, however, was different. He had the day off from work and just started unloading the dishwasher. I hurriedly jumped up and started clearing cabinets. We cleaned for about an hour at which point the house looked pretty good. I even started thinking about cleaning things like baseboards later this week because I got a lot of my weekly things checked off the list today. As he was helping me, I realized that I didn’t feel guilty. I felt loved. I knew I had put in my best effort throughout the week and him helping me wasn’t condemnation. It was help.
How often do we limit ourselves from feeling loved, helped, or appreciated because of underlying insecurities? Do we dismiss a compliment because we “know” better than the person giving the compliment? Consider the following:
Melanie: What are you doing to lose all that weight? You look great!
Jennifer: Oh. I still have a long way to go. (In her mind she is thinking, Melanie hasn’t seen what I see in the mirror when I get out of the shower.)
Her insecurity not only stops her from appreciating the compliment, but it likely dissuades Melanie from wanting to compliment Jennifer next time. Years ago when I was playing high school basketball I received a compliment from a teammate’s parent. I was self depreciating and didn’t really accept it well. I had a coach who was there for the exchange and called me out on it. He basically told me that parents have to tell their own kids they play well, but not their kid’s teammates. If somebody compliments you, take the compliment and appreciate it.
Put blinders on to those things that conspire to hold you back, especially the ones in your own head. Meryl Streep
Today think about one of your insecurities. Think about how it holds you back, and then do one thing to fight it. If you would like to be more eloquent in your speech, download an app that teaches you a new word each day. If you feel inadequate when discussing politics, commit to reading at least one current event article each day. You can only feel insecure if YOU give yourself permission to feel that way.