This week, Calen has given us a joyful question to answer (unfortunately my response may not be so joyful *sighs* )
What would make you feel the way this woman feels?
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!”
14 thoughts on “The Sandbox Writing Challenge #32 — Smile!”
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I’ve experienced similar, but achieved that wonderful feeling when the first 5 star review appeared on my latest release. When I finally saw the third book in the series released, and when I walked away from all the toxicity in my life to finally free myself from the guilt!
Don’t get me wrong, I still fight the negative – always will – but that’s why I appreciate the positive so much more.
One day you will too. I know it! Don’t rewrite history – write the future!
Thank you for sharing your positive and encouraging words.. and congrats on your book releases! Awesomeness!
So sorry you had to have those toxic relationships in your life. No but–you’re great! I think many of us have a hard time taking compliments for similar reasons and that sucks!
Thank you, Stephanie 🙂 You are a dear 🙂
I truly appreciate your honesty. I enjoy that about you so much. I’ve been trying to be that way on this blog ever since I started it, too. I have a friend who WAS married to someone who was as OCD as they come. I think the relationship must have been very similar. Trisha was so screwed up by the time they divorced as was their little daughter. They could never do anything right for Hugh and he made sure they knew it!
I have an additional exercise for you if you’re up to the challenge! Imagine that you’ve just met with some of us from TSWC. We ALL love your work and find you to be the most engaging person. So we’re sitting at lunch at some place swanky (!) and Raili, Fim, Linda, myself, and others start lobbing GENUINE compliments your way. And you can TELL we’re sincere. Can you do another post from that perspective just to see what we would be telling you? (I’ll get it if you don’t want to. I was just curious if it could be a baby step to reframing a bit of the damage that’s been done.)
Loved your post. girlfriend! 😀
I am so sorry your friend had to go through that Calen.. it’s a horrible way to live when you never do anything right 😦
Oh! A challenge…. hmmm, so do I have to imagine what you all are saying to me? Or… I am not sure how to work a post like that, but I can try 🙂
Thank you, dear heart! ❤
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Tell the “buts” to sit on it. I know it’s hard. You were set up to have negative feelings towards compliments and not trust the words people say. I’m sorry you were in an abusive relationship. I’ve been there. That true joy that the woman in the picture appears to be experiencing might be coming from within. She found what makes her heart sing, and she’s letting it shine.
(Thanks for visiting my blog yesterday. Best wishes to YOU doing TWO blogs for the challenge. Now, that’s brave!)
Mary at Play off the Page
Thank you, Mary 🙂 It is definitely something I need to work on and didn’t realize it until I wrote that post
And you are most welcome for the visit! I look forward to reading you in April!
Perhaps you could release the ‘buts’ so they no longer rule your world ?
Ah yes, something else I need to let go 🙂 Thanks! *hugs*
Easier said than done. Got lots of those in my bag too 🙂
yeah, I have way too many