Monday, October 14, 2013
Not Living Up to Expectations
Saturday, my husband and I took my brother-in-law to the movies. We paid for him as a treat, but after the movie, all he did was complain about how much he hated it. He griped about how movie theaters were a waste of time, how he'd wasted his time going with us, and how he just felt empty inside because all he could do was sit there and watch.
Finally, I did something I don't normally do. I lost my temper a little bit. I simply said, "You know what? Fine. We won't invite you to another movie."
As he tried to say, "No..." I continued, "No! If you don't like them, there's no reason to bring you to the movie theater with us again." I then proceeded to tell him about how Grig had used his spending money to pay for both of us, and Havelock hadn't even told him thank you. He'd done nothing but complain.
I surprised Havelock. I surprised Grig even more.
I'm a very non-confrontational person. That night, I was tired. I'd wanted to have a fun family evening and spend some time with my husband, but we had made a sacrifice so that Havelock could come with us. We'd wanted to spend time with him. So, when he seemed ungrateful, I kind of lost it a little. Which is something I don't do.
So, five seconds later, I apologized. The next day I learned that I had hurt his feelings with my comments. Havelock is a wonderful person, but he doesn't always understand social cues. He wasn't meaning to be offensive or rude. He was simply trying to figure out how he felt about the movie. He didn't think his negative statements were having any affect on us, and usually they probably wouldn't have. So, the next day, we all had a talk about how our actions are perceived versus our intentions. It turned out to be an excellent conversation, and afterward we all felt better.
However, I spent the whole night previous to our discussion feeling terrible about what I'd said. Or rather, it wasn't what I said, but how I said it. I shouldn't have acted in anger, even mild anger.
I felt awful because usually I have very good control over what I do or say. When Grig told me that he didn't know how to react to what I said because I surprised him so much, I felt even worse. I hate it when I don't live up to the expectations of those around me. I like to make people happy, and it's terrible when they find out I'm not perfect.
Well, guess what everyone? I'm not.
I'm not perfect.
I make tons of mistakes all the time. I know that, and I still like myself. However, when other people are disappointed in me, it really hurts.
When I served a mission for the LDS church, I served with several wonderful women. In the mission field, you serve in pairs. This acts as a protection, but also gives you companionship when you are doing extremely difficult things. In a perfect companionship, you get along great, you work together, and you comfort each other in times of hardship. However, sometimes companionships don't get along.
All of my companions were wonderful people. At one point however, I had a companion who decided she didn't like me very much. After about three weeks she told me "The honeymoon is over." She then informed me that she had looked forward to serving with me, but now that she found out I wasn't perfect she didn't really like me anymore.
For a while, I really struggled with that. I wanted to be friends with her, and I wanted her to enjoy herself. Later, it turned out that she was just having some internal struggles. Because she wasn't very happy with herself, she had a hard time enjoying my company. We've since become friends, and I understand what she was going through at the time. I just hate not meeting other's expectations.
However, I have learned something over the years.
What other people think doesn't matter.
If I know I am doing my best and I am trying my best, the only person whose opinion I should be concerned with is my Heavenly Father's. He truly understands me and my struggles. He understands why I do and say things. He understands my weaknesses and is very patient with me.
I'm not perfect, but I am trying. I will continue to try to get along with everyone that is placed in my path, but sometimes it's good to have a reminder that I'm not out here to please others. I'm meant to please myself.
Once I do that, other people's opinions don't matter.
As a side note, Grig wasn't upset with me. In fact, he really supported what I said. I just surprised him by the way I said it that night. Grig is one of the wonderful people who understands me and loves me regardless of my imperfections. People like that are truly a blessing to have in my life.