February 28, 2012

Be Grateful

When I was a kid, my mom and siblings would tell me that I complained a lot.

"Is that all you ever do? Complain?"

And I swear that made me complain even more.

But here's the thing: it's the only thing I was able to do that would get a response out of them. So I kept doing it. I know and understand all this now, but I didn't back then- and neither did they, apparently.

I'm not saying I don't still complain today, but I don't think I'm a Complainer. No, that would be my dad whom I really do love oh so dearly and who I, apparently, take after (according to mom who divorced him 30 years ago).

I spent many many years alone in my life. (Keep in mind, I'll be 40 this year, eh.) In my pre-teen years, I had very few friends (we moved a lot, I changed schools a lot). During my adolescent years that number was even less. I'm not exaggerating either. I was a loner, the Wallflower. Even during my 4 years at college (commuter college so I still lived at home) getting my Bachelor's, I still had very few friends. And no love life (not even close).

During those years, I spent a lot of time inside my head. Yes, I had a friend or two. Yes, I did things like go out to movies, dinner, concerts. With a friend or two. I even went to a party or two and a bar or a hundred in my time. But at the end of the day, until I met my now husband in 2000, my best friend was in my head. And on my plate, but that's a whole other story.

I think spending so much time alone, truly alone, has allowed me to really grasp some things about life... my life.  And I've learned a fuck of a lot, I think.



I'm not a perfect person in any way, shape, or form. I have so many faults it's ridiculous. But it's part of who I am. All of me. And while I don't love the size I am on the outside especially since it's getting harder to get down to Lovie's level to play, I do love who I am as a person on the inside. And at the end of the day, that's what matters the most because if I'm not in love with myself, then how can I fully love others around me and they me?

That's how I see it at least.

And I also see that I'm incredibly blessed. Life is far from perfect, but my little world is pretty damn near perfect. And I do my damndest to think about this every.single.day.

Of course there are some not-so-great moments, days, weeks... hell even years (fuck you most of the 1990's and 2008, specifically), but all those years I spent alone has really helped me move past the bad and focus on the good, focus on being grateful for what I do have.

Which is so stinkin much.

Awesome, huh?

But how do I teach this to my kid?

I know she's gonna complain because we all do. But I just hope she's not one to bitch and moan all the time.  "Life's so unfair!"   "Wah wah oh woe is me."

Again, I know we all do it. All of us. But how do I teach her that there's so much more than that? How do I teach her to focus on the good? To be grateful for what she does have?

I learned it a hard way, I think, and I have no fucking desire in this world for my daughter to repeat my life. I don't wish that kind of loneliness and emptiness on anyone (and I'm bloody well sure there's deeper and darker loneliness and emptiness out there today, sadly!).  Yes, in retrospect I am grateful for all those lonely days- because it's really helped me gain perspective today- but, nevertheless, I need for Lovie to learn another way. A better way.

I know part of it is to lead by example so I guess that's a great place to start... right?

28 comments:

  1. You are awesome at setting good examples for Lovie :)

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  2. you are a wonderful example for your little one.

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  3. I believe that you are correct, set a great example! If you just tell her, she won't get it. You have to show her.

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  4. Definitely a great place to start. I love the honesty and reflection of this post.

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  5. So true, I learned a valuable lesson from my Mom years ago when I was miserable and extremely sorry for myself. She sat me down and said that she loved me and was there for me but that she did not like me very much because I was so sorry for myself and I was not the first person to go through a tough time. I was horrified that she was not sympathising with poor miserable me but it shook me out of my horrible little rut.

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    1. sometimes the truth hurts but is very much needed.
      thanks for stopping by. :)

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  6. I really appreciate the honesty in this piece, it rings very true to my ears. Our kids need good examples but they also need truth. Well done!

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  7. That is the perfect place to start - the only place really. She will emulate you so if you love yourself and are grateful for many moments in time - then she will be too.

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  8. But complaining is fun.....is it so bad???? If so, I will have to delete my entire blog;)

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  9. Thanks for reminding me to be grateful!

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  10. Unfortunately for us, kids learn what they see not what they're told. Life would be easier if it were the other way around. Haha!

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  11. we are on the same wave length, I think. I don't know how we teach these things to our kid except to live our morals with truth and genuine-ness. at least that's what I'mma gonna try to do!

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  12. Leading by example is always the best way!

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  13. Yes lead by example. My momma had a horrible life. And my sense of injustice was strong. When something went the wrong way I said "that's not fair momma!" and she said, with a tired, battered, matter of fact tone, "life's not fair." Instead of that helping or preparing me it just made me feel unloved and like life sucked. It'd been better if my mom had shown me what to do about it.

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    1. oh yes, the fun "life's not fair" comeback. ugh. i guess it's kind of good we had those kind of moms b/c it will help us be better ones for our kids!

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  14. You do learn a lot when you're a wallflower. A lot about yourself, and a lot about how to treat the ones you love.

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  15. I was a loner as well, and you know, I think us wallflowers turn out to be pretty interesting people. Great reminder to be grateful for what you have.

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  16. i was also labelled a complainer as a kid, and now it makes me really mad - what a thing to burden a kid with. good on you for being such a great role model for your sweet guy~

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  17. Great post. I recently wrote about how I am trying to complain much less since I have it pretty damn good compared to others.

    Nice work putting it into perspective in regards to your child.

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  18. I hate "life is unfair" statements in all their forms, and I teach my kids that people have NO patience for them, so they need to be grateful and quit griping. This is a kinder, gentler version of this. I love the language you use and the sentiment behind it. Erin

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  19. Similar to what SotSM just said, but slightly different. I just assume that life will be unfair a lot of the time. And lucky sometimes too. Don't complain about one if you accept the other! Great attitude in this post. I think we all slip up sometimes, but getting back on the wagon is what's important.

    Thanks for the reminder!

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  20. I think leading by example is what Mamas do best. And teaching your little girl to be grateful through example is probably one of the best gifts you can give her.

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  21. I think a healthy balance, a little complaining now and again is OK. It's what you do about it. So come back with a question: "How can we change that? Let's think of some ways to make it better..." I hated the fact that my mother never allowed complaining without a guilt trip: "What are you complaining for? I have to work 40 hours a week" yada, yada, yada. What that taught me was to never talk about my feelings. It took me YEARS to learn how to be mature and say how I felt or what I REALLY wanted. And guess who I learned it from? The children in my classroom... for over 20 years. I had to set the example for THEM. If I was teaching young children to "talk about their feelings" and to "use your words" then I had better learn how to do it myself! And I did! So let your little one speak her mind, regardless! Then help her find solutions. It took me twenty years to learn that!

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  22. I think that you are giving Lovie a really great role model. I think that complaining isn't the worst thing in the world, as long as you do it a) without whining and b) with intent towards a solution. Then it's just stating a problem that needs solving. But I'm a complainer, so what do I know? :)

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  23. You and me both, girl. I am a big ol' complainer and people call me out on it all the time. I hate that about myself and definitely don't want my children to inherit it so I'm trying to keep it in check. It's tough though; it's almost an addiction.

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  24. Most people would be much happier if they would just learn to accept things for what they are, roll with the punches and be grateful for what they do have. It's a simple concept, but often very hard to grasp.

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