Friday, November 5, 2010

Don't Lead With Your Head

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I’ve been doing the rounds, reading other people’s blogs, and every now and then I come across one that really gets me thinking. Like one I read the other day about a person who loved to dance, and yet resisted the urge because others had rather disparaging things to say about his style. See, he made a habit of asking his friends for validation – ‘so how did I look out there on the dance floor?’

And let’s face it; if you lead with your head, you often get your face kicked in.

I remember once, in one of those very tender moments, I asked the man in my life ‘Do you love me?’ He said ‘Yes, but not as much as I have loved other women!’ Ouch.

Now he felt he was just being honest. I felt as though he had stuck a knife in my heart.

I happen to be a sensitive person who picks up on the feelings of others quite easily. If the dancing dude had asked me how he looked out there on the dance floor, even if I thought he looked a bit like a windmill in a cyclone, I would have found a way not to totally crush his ego. I might have said something like ‘Well you certainly seem to enjoy dancing.’

It’s a pity we so often seem to feel the need for validation. But it’s even more of a pity when the people we turn to for reassurance seem compelled to shoot us down in flames. No I don’t advocate telling outright lies to spare other people’s feelings. Surely we can all just think before we speak?

Along the same lines, I read another blog where the writer cautioned that we should never share our ‘big ideas’ with family and friends. Why? Because often the response you get will be something like this: ‘Oh goodness. That will never work!’ Talk about bursting the bubble?

If you asked those people why they would say something so negative, you can be sure they would respond by telling you that they just didn’t want to see you hurt and disappointed. And that is probably true. But what about the people who told Henry Ford that his designs would never work, or the people who scorned Christopher Columbus when he said that he could sail right around the world and not fall off the edge?

Maybe your ideas seem a little ‘over-the-top’ but you could be just the person to make them reality. The most important factor is the ability to believe in yourself and not to rely so heavily on the opinions of others.

The fact that the friends of the dancing dude didn’t like his style certainly didn’t mean that he should give up dancing. That my man didn’t think of me as the love of his life doesn’t mean that I am somehow less of a person. That some one close to me doesn’t think I can achieve my dreams and goals in life doesn’t mean I will certainly fail.
©Lyn Murphy 2010

1 comment:

roslyn_m said...

Dear Lyn,

What a thought-provoking blog. I agree with you that it's difficult to think of an appropriate response when asked a "leading" question. This reminds me of the saying: "never ask a question to which you do not know the answer" or the answer is not what the questioner wants to hear.

I am so sorry your heart was broken by a thoughtless response to your question. Is it just women who ask "do you love me?". Even when we know the answer is "yes", we want it reinforced. Some men just do not get this. I know actions speak louder than words (generally) but sometimes (often, really) we need to hear the words.

I have an acquaintance whose son was recently married. The bride, whom I've never met, was shown to me in photos. To be candid, she is a very large girl and I thought to myself that the dress could have been more flattering...but did I say that to my friend, the new mother-in-law? Of course not. I commented on how beautiful her eyes were, how pretty the bouquet was and how happy she looked -- all true! And, do you know what I realised? The bride was beautifu1!

There is a member of my family (an in-law) who can be very honest. On more than one occasion when she has opened a gift, her response has been "no offence, but I don't really like this". (Her nickname privately to us is "no offence). What's wrong with saying thank you graciously. We've all received something not to our particular taste, but the thought is in the giving (hopefully).

Keep those blogs coming, Lyn -- they are great. You definitely have a way with words.

Hugs, Ros.