Do you handle conflict, stress, set backs and anxiety exactly the way your Mama would like you to?
I sure don’t, not always.
When I first heard this Miranda Lambert song, it resonated with me so deeply. I wondered when Miranda had met my mother.
Although my mom is not concerned with appearances or the way we look to others, I have heard my fair amount of “you are being too dramatic,” “what are you crying for? That does not solve anything.” “Get it together,” “act like a young lady.”
I know this all came from my mom’s best intentions to prepare me for a world and life that was a roller coaster and would stop just because I was having a melt down. Again.
I have always seen my mom as a pillar of strength. Fiercely independent, resilient and forever overcoming obstacles. I am not naturally like this, and I definitely was not while growing up.
My mom recently found a folder with my old journal entries from my sophmore year of English class. We were given a prompt each day to explore. One day, I wrote about how HORRIBLE my day had been because I spilled all my French fries at lunch, which kick started a wave of unfortunate events. I read it aloud and my mom and I both laughed at my dramatics. However, when I thought about it, I could still see myself getting upset about the same thing today, nearly 16 years later. French fries are important.
I was the anxious kid who went ballistic when I had my first cavity, when I got an F on a test (and this only ever happened once, because it was that traumatic) and when my mom would not allow me to use furniture polish to clean (because cleaning was important to me). This picture says so much about how I have handled set backs, and I can picture my mom behind the camera laughing at me as she snapped away:
I found a balance now between my natural, emotional tendencies and my mom’s realistic approach to set-backs. I do feel that crying is necessary and healthy, but I can pull myself together and overcome. Most days.
But some days, I still cry over spilled French fries.
How were you taught handle set backs?