“Tell me what I want to hear!”
Not too long ago I was at a party. I’d known some of the people there for a while and others I was getting to know that evening. While at the party, I dropped the f-bomb. Twice. Both times my word choice was met with a cringing recoil. I’d offended those conversing with me.
If you follow my blog, you know by now that I have a bit of a potty mouth. It’s part of the package deal, take it or leave it. But that evening, I went home feeling pretty down about myself for not being more polished. For being pretty rough around my classless edges. Seriously, Jamie, you censor yourself around Miller all the time. How hard is it to keep censoring yourself around adults?
I wanted to talk with someone about it. I wanted reassurances that I wasn’t a complete a-hole for cussing. Mark, my husband, would’ve been a great sounding board, but he was still at the party; I left early to relieve grandma from babysitting duties.
In between rounds of beating myself up and feeling horrible as a person, I thought to myself, “Jamie, you know exactly what you want to hear. Say it to yourself.”
I grabbed my phone, pulled up the camera, and flipped the screen so I could see myself. (Sure, I could’ve walked to a mirror, but my phone was much handier.) I looked straight at myself and said, “Jamie, I like that you say what you think. I like that you’re consistently you wherever you are. I like that you say ‘fuck’ sometimes. I like that you’re authentic, even at the risk of being liked or disliked.”
I felt like a total weirdo when I started this monologue. But I maintained eye contact and kept going. By the end of it, I felt better, lighter, and reassured about the straight-forward person that I am.
In moments of self-doubt and frustration, have you ever wanted to reach out to someone for consolation so that they can tell you what you want to hear? Then, when either no one is available or they are but they don’t deliver the right words, you’re left feeling resentful, defensive, or wounded thinking, Why don’t they understand me? How can they not get it after all of this time of knowing me?!
Bad news. You’re worse off than when you started. Good news. It’s avoidable.
The next time you find yourself delivering the dictation “Tell me what I want to hear!”, change the dictation to an affirmation. Say the words you want to hear to yourself.
If your coworker shows zero appreciation for your efforts and all you want to hear is a simple “thank you”, say it to yourself.
If your partner doesn’t offer the “you’re doing a great job” encouragements you want to hear, say it to yourself.
If a friend isn’t understanding of your situation and all you want to hear is “I agree. I’d feel the same way.” say it to yourself.
If your parent or mentor doesn’t have sympathy for your plight and you want reassured that “you’re doing the best you can”, say it to yourself.
If your child doesn’t return affection and all you want is to hear “I love you”, say it to yourself.
If I’m being completely honest with you, the reader, I often doubt myself before posting to my blog. I’m showing people what goes on inside my head. What if people think I’m weird or out there for it?
If I’m being completely honest with myself, I like that I’m showing my true self, even if it is at the risk of being considered “out there” or “weird”. And, truthfully, I even like that I’m a little out there and weird.