I work very hard and am attending college to obtain my degree in the Human Service field. Writing makes me feel alive and gives me the opportunity to touch those whom I would not be able to otherwise. Last but not least, I have been blessed with two amazing daughters who love me completely and support my dreams. Feel free to contact me with questions, concerns or feedback.
“Dear Abby, I am 45 years old and having a problem with my mother-in-law. I have been married 20 years and she doesn’t seem to understand the word no.”
The truth of the matter is that the writer has yet to say no to her mother-in-law in the first place. This means mom has no idea that she has been in violation from the very beginning.
Because of folks like Dr. Phil, Dr. Laura, Dear Abby and a host of many others, people no longer have to confront the inevitable. We are weak as individuals. Although they say “Honesty is the best policy”, it has been ingrained by Dr. Evil that honesty will cause pain, thus we should refrain. As much as we would love to blame someone else for our so-called suffering, how often do we actually tell others that we feel, well, bad about what was said or done?
By the age of 5 most of us know right from wrong. We also know how it feels to fall down and get hurt. We tell our two year olds that the word no is a curse word and instruct them to do as they are told. Because we are so busy attempting the inevitable, children eventually somewhat fall into place and learn that if they follow the rules, no one gets hurt.
By insisting that they follow the rules, children begin to believe that the word no against a superior is something negative. Do as you’re told, don’t argue, if Grandpa tells you to jump, yell, “How high?” Instead of being allowed to have an opinion of his or her own, some children will bend in order to avoid consequences.
As children move into influential years, they learn that they are to accommodate others which means going with the flow. Standing out for most is simply not acceptable and those who do are teased by others.
Somewhere between the inability to say no and adulthood comes a fear of all honesty. Whatever happened to us being able to state how we feel and think about anything and everything? Why do we feel as if someone would be hurt if we lay it on the line?
For instance, (and I know everyone will shake their heads yes at this one), what happened the last time your mom, sister, dad, brother, cousin, nephew, Grandma or Grandpa said something unusual or cruel? Did you say, “What exactly do you mean by that,” or did you let it slide? If you let it slide, was it to avoid confrontation or stress at a family party? Could it be that their behavior is the norm and acceptable within your family tree? What causes us to refrain from saying, “Hey, that was cruel, take it back, OR ELSE!”
There is a time and place for everything, including honesty and confrontation. It takes balls, and I mean balls of steal, in order to be able to be kindly blunt and to the point. It’s not something that you can purchase at the golf store, it is something which in ingrained or practiced over time.
It took me years, and I am still fine tuning, to be able to stop someone in their tracks and confront the ugly. When you learn this skill, you are able to free yourself from a life of holding it all in. It also allows you freedom from dating or marrying the wrong kind of individual.
As a single gal, I meet my fair share of bachelors. There has been a time or three where I have had to say, “Hey, this isn’t going to work for me, best of luck to you,” and move on. In the past, I would have rather held 10 tarantulas prior to telling a guy I was just not that into him. It was just easier to be nice and eventually stop taking his calls or inform him that I was washing my hair for the 100th time that week.
How does one eventually learn how to be professionally honest in all situations? Begin by practicing on customer service individuals. If your order is made incorrectly, don’t get mad, just pull the server aside and politely tell them you wanted rare instead of well done. If your favorite color is blue and someone is pushing you into purple, politely state that purple is not your color and you prefer the blue, thank you very much! After awhile, you will move into a more personal fish pond. Have a friend who wears too much perfume? A word to the wise, be nice, as you would want to have done to you. that you love her perfume but it’s slightly stronger than what she normally wears. A friend who doesn’t shower, well, don’t even touch that one. Send an anonymous letter along with a gift basket. They will get the hint.
There is a right way to communicate and a wrong way. It all depends on the offender. For some, being polite is all you need, with others, straightforward, blatant, you are a jerk-face honesty is in the cards.
Please don’t let me catch you writing Dear Abby, write me instead. I will give you a one-step solution to any problem. Unless, of course, I am the offender, send me an anonymous email. I may feel Christmas-y enough to reply with an apology, or not.