Tag Archives: comfort

Love Language

“The giving of love is an education in itself.”
– Eleanor Roosevelt

So, I noticed something interesting about my daughter this week.  I suppose I had noticed it before, but this week it seemed to really catch my attention more than usual.

Kelly experienced a pretty big disappointment a few days ago.  I won’t get into the details (that’s her story to tell, not mine), but just know that it was a pretty tough blow for my super strong daughter.  She handled it with grace, as she always does, but she couldn’t hide the fact that she was temporarily heartbroken.

So, I did what I always do.  What comes natural to me when I see someone I love in pain.  I reached out to hug her.

Whoooooa, Nelly.

Not cool.

See, I completely forgot who my daughter is.  That hugging thing?  Nuh uh.  When she is upset, she wants to be left alone.  She doesn’t mean to be cruel about it – she’s not trying to hurt anyone – she just needs to be left alone.  A hug does not help.  Not for her.  She’d rather deal with it on her own.  Now, talking – she’s fine with that.  Saying I understand how she feels?  I think that helped some.  Showing her one of my old writings about disappointment to remind her that it’s not the end of the world and that her time to shine will come again soon?  Yep.  She appreciated that.

But a hug?  No way.  Not cool.

And see, I know that.  I do.  I just forget.  She’s different than me.  When I’m upset, I want to be hugged.  I want you to wallow in the misery with me.  “Come on over here and snuggle and feel my pain, people.  FEEL IT!”  But her?  Nope.  “I got this.  I don’t want your sympathy, I’ll be fine.”

This little incident this week reminded me of a class I took once.  Well, a class I was sent to through my job at the time.

I was having trouble getting along with one of the attorneys I worked for at a large law firm.  She was only a year older than me and the two of us just seemed to butt heads non-stop.  Although neither of us “told on” each other or anything, the fact that we didn’t get along was pretty well-known.  Well, occasionally the firm would send the employees to various seminars here and there, and I was chosen by the human resources department to go to one entitled, “How to Get Along With Difficult People.”  Ha!  In your face, boss lady.  See?  Seeeeeee?  Everyone knows how hard you are to deal with.

So, I took my smug self to the seminar and guess what I found out?

I was the difficult person.

Heh.  Oops.

But no, seriously, this seminar was awesome.  We were all paired into groups and did surveys to figure out what our personality types were, and which certain personality types were the most non-compatible.  Lo and behold, my personality type and boss lady’s personality type?   Exact opposites.  And the great thing about the seminar is that it showed the pros and cons of every single personality type and the “whys” behind the head-butting with the certain types.  As I listened, I heard so many examples of scenarios that my boss and I had been through and it became glaringly apparent why we weren’t getting along.  We just didn’t know how to treat each other.  What she needed was a foreign concept to me because it was nothing like what I needed.  And vice versa.

And the solution?

Well, it was pretty simple actually.  They bent the golden rule a little.  (Please don’t tell my Grandma I just said that – she’ll disown me.)  They said instead of the old standard, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” maybe it needs to be tweaked a little.  Maybe that’s not what you need to do at all.  Maybe you need to get to know that person’s personality, know how they operate and know what they prefer and what they don’t, and then…”Do unto others as they would have you do unto them.”

Make sense?

Yes, I like to be hugged when I’m upset, but Kelly doesn’t.  I shouldn’t impose my personality onto her.  It’s not what she needs.

I know I’m not saying anything new here.  Most of you know about the “love languages” idea by Gary Chapman (read about it here if you don’t).  This kind of thing has already been discussed in depth.  You can answer a bunch of questions on the website (or in the book if you have a copy) and through a scoring guide based on your answers, you can find out exactly what “love language” you speak.  What things make you feel the most loved.

And although I think it’s fascinating, and super cool, maybe…just maybe….it doesn’t have to be quite so complicated as that.  No scoring system, no survey, no quiz.  Maybe it’s as simple as what I just learned with my daughter.  Don’t give them the kind of love that you know how to give.  Learn who they are, what they need, and then give them the love they want to receive.

And hey, you know what?  It’ll probably end up working both ways.

Take Kelly for instance.  Although she’s not the huggy/kissy type, she knows that her mom is.  And so, she’s been known to concede every now and then…

kellykiss

And that sure does make for a happy momma.

Learn how to love each other, people.  It’s worth the time it takes, and makes everyone just a little happier.  And isn’t that what we’re all here for?

***

“Spread love everywhere you go. Let no one ever come to you without leaving happier.”
– Mother Teresa

Fully Dressed

“The finest clothing made is a person’s own skin, but, of course, society demands something more than this.”
– Mark Twain

Clothes.  *Sigh*

Ok, so I’ve decided that I’m missing a gene somewhere.  That gene that makes women get all excited and giddy about shopping and dressing up and looking cutesy and all that stuff?  Yeah, I don’t have that.  I’m not sure what happened.

Now, I’m not saying I’m a sloth or anything.  I’m generally clean and things somewhat match.  Somewhat.  But a fashion sense or style?  Psssssh.  What’s that?  If it fits, I put it on.  That’s about the extent of my “style.”  If anyone wants to nominate me for that “What Not To Wear” show, go for it.  I’m all in.  Just sayin.

Now honestly, I usually don’t even think about it that much.  Actually, I’m probably just too busy to think about it.  My days consist of so much activity that I’m lucky if I remember to put clothes on at all before I walk out the door.  So, most days, it’s really a non-issue.  Most days.

But then.  Then there are days like yesterday.

I unfortunately, yet again, found myself in the presence of someone who intimidates me.  Anyone else have someone like that?  Someone that when you’re around them, you just feel….I don’t know….small.  Uninteresting.  Boring.  Drab.  Dull.  Ok, I’m out of negative adjectives.  But you know what I mean, right?  They seem so classy and put together and perfect and…well, pretty.  Now, don’t get me wrong here.  I’m not generally an insecure person, especially when it comes to the looks department.  I mean, really….Who the heck cares?  But once in a while – once in a while – I guess I’m just human.  And yesterday was one of those days.  Which got me to thinking about this whole topic.

I came across this quote while I was researching for this blog:

dressblog2

My first reaction to this?  Well, crap.  But then….I don’t know.  I started thinking a little differently about it.  If my “style” says who I am without having to speak, then what am I telling people about who I actually am?  What am I saying?

And here’s what I’ve decided.

My hair is in a ponytail today. What does that say?  I hope it says that even though I actually woke up with the full intention of taking an early shower and spending time on straightening and styling my ‘do, instead I ended up spending a couple extra moments talking to Richard.  Discussing our plans for the day…talking about work…talking about our kids and the upcoming play, etc. etc. etc.  Before I knew it, time had flown by and I didn’t have time to do anything but throw my hair in a ponytail.

My fingernails aren’t manicured.  What does that say?  I hope it says that as a struggling single mom, spending money on manicures is a luxury that I can only occasionally afford.  And besides – my hands stay so busy that I’m not sure the manicure would last long anyway.  I keep my fingernails just long enough to scratch a child’s itchy back, peel a price tag off of a gift I’m wrapping, and “comb” my hair when I can’t find a brush in the clutter of my purse.

My shoes aren’t high heels.  They’re flat and functional.  What does that say?  Well, I hope it says that I stay too busy to worry about hurting feet.  I don’t have time to walk slowly in high heels when I have a million places to be.  I drive over an hour one way to my job, and then leave there to go pick up kids to take them to their various activities.  Or, on the days when they’re with their dad, I leave work and go running to train for my first half marathon that is coming up.  These runners’ feet can’t handle being in heels all day and then pounding pavement for a few hours afterwards during marathon training.

My clothes don’t have fancy labels.  What does that say?  I hope it says that I value simplicity and frugality.  That I know that there’s more to a person than the name sewn in at their neckline.  And I’m proud to say that this same value system has passed on to my kids.  While other kids are begging for name brand clothes, my kids rarely ask for new clothes and are thrilled when they get them – regardless of what store they came from.  At Christmas when they were given gift cards for clothes shopping, they both bragged about the amount of items they were able to buy within their spending budget by buying items that were on clearance, etc.  I think that’s something to be proud of.

Those are just a few examples.

So, like I said before – I’m not a sloth.  I’m clean, I’m neat, I’m functional.  But am I dressed to the nines on a daily basis?  Nope. Very rarely actually.  But rather than beating myself up over it, maybe I should realize that my “style” really does tell my story.

And you know what?

I think the story I’m telling might not be all that bad after all.

***

Your clothes may be Beau Brummelly
They stand out a mile —
But Brother,
You’re never fully dressed
Without a smile!
Who cares what they’re wearing
On Main Street,
Or Saville Row,
It’s what you wear from ear to ear
And not from head to toe
(That matters)
– Fully Dressed lyrics (from Annie) 😉