This week, Calen has given us a joyful question to answer (unfortunately my response may not be so joyful *sighs* )
The emotions that I get from this photo are happy, joyful, flattered, open, engaged, positive, and sincere. This is tougher than it appears, Calen!
I guess it would take me believing that the person doing the flattering, making me laugh or giving me joy was open, honest and spiritual before I would believe anything that came out of his/her mouth. How cynical is that?
My cynicism comes from living with a narcissist for 13 years. When you live with a narc, you never know if what they say is sincere and for you, or if they are just mirroring you to make themselves feel great. They will praise you or compliment you one moment and berate and belittle you the next. You never quite know where you stand with them.
It also comes from living in a house as a child were anything flattering that was said to you always came with a “but.” For instance, I often heard this from my mother, “You got an A- in Advanced Algerbra, a B+ in Advanced Chemistry, an A- in Spanish, and an A- in Government… that’s great, but your sister got straight As. How come you can’t get straight As?” She failed to realize that my sister never took Algebra, Chemistry, a history course beyond American History, or a foreign language. She took Typing, Stenography, Business Math and other basic classes. My sister never applied herself in High School. Her biggest goals were to graduate, work as a secretary for the local newspaper for a few months and then get married, quit work and raise kids. I had my sights set on college. In my eyes, it was Apples and Oranges. And that was just one example of how my praises got railroaded. There are many, many more, but I won’t bore you with them.
So it is very hard for me to take compliments and find joy in them because I am always waiting for the “but” to fall. I have learned to say “Thank you” graciously, but I rarely smile when complimented.
I guess in order for me to feel what that woman in the photograph feels so radiantly, I would have to rewrite my history. Have a different mother, not date and marry assholes, and not befriend people who are only into receiving but never giving back. Believe me, I would love to feel that freedom of joy and laughter and sincerity. It would be an amazing feeling. I just don’t ever see it happening to me because of those damn expected “buts!”