Monday, April 07, 2008

I'm Proud of You

That's a phrase that was completely foreign to me as a child. I wonder how different my life might have been had I heard it. I wonder what it would have been like to feel that my parents, or any family members for that matter, had been proud of me instead of perpetually ashamed or confused by me. My guess is that it would have made it easier for me to accept myself and it might have deterred me from being so hard on myself and apologetic for EVERYTHING. Ah well. Ain't gonna happen. They weren't proud of me, didn't matter what I did nothing was ever good enough. Even perfection was not good enough, so I learned very early on that it wasn't worth bothering. Why try when you get nothing for it? I'm not saying that everything we do in life should result in some sort of remuneration, but a pat on the head, a "good job" seems to be a simple enough recompense; simple yet enormous.

As I've mentioned before, my friends are far more supportive and kind to me than my family ever was, and from time to time when I do something that took a lot of guts or work or talent or whatever I will actually hear those words from friends: I'm proud of you.

It's always astounding and, truly, it makes me feel like a fluffy puppy. I mean that in a good way. I mean, tail wagging happy. Just hearing that phrase makes me want to accomplish more, do more, give back more. It also makes me feel like I can.

Last night my friend Kori read me a quote she had saved (she loves the quotes) and this one was great in terms of reassuring me. I had sent an email that might have been a tad mushy, gushy and just a bit too ... ya know... possibly sickeningly sweet. I'm a little too impulsive sometimes and email + impulsive = oy vey. I do it alllll the time. Type first, think second, worry about it third. Typical. But she had this handy-dandy quote from Robert F. Kennedy's eulogy for his father.

"What it really all adds up to is love -- not love as it is described with such facility in popular magazines, but the kind of love that is affection and respect, order and encouragement, and support. Our awareness of this was an incalculable source of strength, and because real love is something unselfish and involves sacrifice and giving, we could not help but profit from it."
So since my vaguely over-the-top email was in fact from the heart and all about support and encouragement, affection and respect for my friend... I felt better about having sent it and stopped worrying.

When I was younger I would hold back any sort of "you're great!" commentary - because it was foreign to me - on the receiving end. It felt really weird, and even wrong, to convey those sentiments to someone else, even if I wanted to say: "you look great" or "you did a great job" or whatever. I know I missed numerous opportunities to tell people how I really felt about them, and to maybe even make them feel good about themselves - even if it was just for a few minutes, because they look good in blue or something silly like that. It was also a fear of letting anyone know what I really felt. Somehow telling someone something as simple as "nice dress" was giving away too much. Stoopid!

I'm sure that is part of the reason my parents never gave me much in the way of emotional support - it would somehow make them vulnerable... maybe I'm giving them too much credit there. But hey, it might be part of it. It might be.

I overcame that childhood hang-up, for the most part, and when I get impulsive I sort of go the other way. Effusive is the word that comes to mind. But it comes back to haunt me with the worry that I've said too much or, even worse, said it badly. As Kori said last night, "well, good, now you've given yourself something new to worry about for no reason. Good job."

Yeah. Well, she called it. So it's one more self-improvement project to work on. Quit the worrying. Stuff comes out of my mouth, or keyboard, and I've just got to accept that it's how I am and let the chips fall where they may. All I can do is be honest, and be myself and stop worrying about it all.

I hear "you're so nice" a lot. And while I know there's a point where nice turns into idiot-doormat, I would prefer to be known as someone who is nice. Or thoughtful. Okay, nice. I LIKE nice. And supportive. So there. And truth be told, I'm not ALWAYS so nice. But I try.

On a less vague note: I actually managed to start and finish my taxes today. They're DONE. Done, done, done. Hallelujah! At last.

And you know what?

I'm proud of ME. Good job, Joy.


Jay said...

Yes, good job, Joy.
And good post, Joy.
And GREAT reminder, Joy, to all of us.

whimsical brainpan said...

I think you have done a great job overcoming the lack of support from your parents.

And good job on finishing your taxes too.

marxsny said...

Congrats on getting the taxes done with a week to spare. Hope the bottom line was better for you than it was for me.

Gary said...

"I've just got to accept that it's how I am and let the chips fall where they may. All I can do is be honest, and be myself and stop worrying about it all."

What a wonderful statement and one that needs to be out there. So often we beat ourselves up for not doing enough for other people or worrying that someone took something we said or did the wrong way. Sometimes people are selfish and want more than we are able to give. We are all out here doing our best, trying to be 'nice' and do the right thing but what is right for us may not be right for the other person. If our actions or words come from a place of goodness with the best intentions then why should we worry that someone else is insulted. At that point isn't it the other person's responsibility to bring it up and question us? Rather than walk around insulted or feeling wronged. Hey, if that is what they want to feel then so be it but don't lay the shit on me.

I got myself all worked up here and don't remember my point. Sounds like I need another margarita night to figure it out. LOL.

Joy Keaton said...

Jay - THANKS! *I'm all giggly now!*

Mark - I planned it last year that it would be good this year! Next year however is a crap shoot. ;)

Gary - Um... might want to back away from the tequila son - we know what happens to BOTH of us with that stuff! :)

Bella said...

What a great feeling to have the taxes done, eh? I just finished mine on Monday, myself. Although I wasn't thrilled to have to pay the $2800 in federal and state taxes, at least they're paid.

Now I anxiously await the tax rebate in May. I'm thinking up all the ways I can burn through $600. Not too difficult, let me tell you.

I'm PROUD of you. I'm proud of me. I'm proud of both of us.

Joy Keaton said...

Bella - it simply sucks that you owe. You're a teacher AND a student. It's not right. Grrrrr. But at least they're done - for both of us - and we can forget about it until next April. *shudder*

Bella said...

I know, all logic is telling me I shouldn't owe at all. Except that I'm unmarried, no kids, no house that I own. And I was claiming 1 instead of zero. Changed that, so I'm hoping to break even next year.

At least they can't take the $600 stimulus package away from me, right?

whimsical brainpan said...

You have an award at my place.

Seraphine said...

It's the people who wipe
their feet on idiot doormats
who are stupid, because
idiot doesn't wipe off.
It's not the mat that's wack.

Take your hugs when offered,
they are much more
then anything you get
from people who don't see you.

Be proud, be nice. Be you.

mouse (aka kimy) said...

I am impressed and proud...taxes in a week early! ours were done about 11 pm last night - although my f still hasn't gotten me the form to sign... we're the kind of folks who routinely take advantage of the p.o. staying open till midnight on april 15th - although this year our post office lady told me they were closing at 8 (isn't it weird how total strangers sometimes know you so well?)

have you read debrorah tannen's book 'you're wearing that?' about mother daughter conversation - in it she discusses how there are some cultures that believe that children are spoiled and ruined if they are praised or told that they are pretty, etc ...I flashed on that section of the book when I read about the lack of anyone telling you that they were proud of you in your family....

Gary said...

Kimy, I had to read Tannen's book for a class I took last year and even though I am neither a mother or a daughter I found the book fascinating. Joy, I still have the book if you are interested in reading it!