Giggling is quite possibly one of my favorite past times. I mean, who doesn’t love those moments when you’re with a close friend, or maybe a significant other or family member and there is so much comfort within your relationship that you are able to let your silliest side come out. Nothing you say or do is going to be judged or criticized. Your most goofy moments will with no shadow of a doubt resort in a laugh so hard that it’s followed with a snort and tears. (Yes, get me going and I am DEFINITELY a snorter!)
If I’m going to be honest with myself, yes, the laughter and joy are an amazing part of this, but I think where the real level of enjoyment comes in is in the comfortability that exist with these people. Being able to let loose and be the singin in the shower, dancin down the hallway, talking in funny voices to your pets kind of person that you really are in complete and total comfort is such a relief. I personally guard myself a little to those whom I don’t trust. It takes a level of comfort for me to be able to let that guard down and reveal some of my pure “Kylieness,” chock-full of silly, silly, silly. But once that guard comes down, then comes a whole other level of things outside of just the fun goofy side. I begin letting people in, opening up my heart, my emotions, and some of my true intentions. They begin learning my moral standards and methods of reasoning. But along with all of those fun and deep things comes the flaws. My closest people know my ins and outs. My lack of drive comes out, my inconsistencies and hypocrisies, the neglectful or selfish things I do, the judgment towards others that I may carry, my fears and criticisms. The negative thoughts become pieces of conversation. The hurts and pains begin to surface. The ways I’ve mistreated people is brought up, or maybe even projected on to them. Sure, those who are closest and most trustworthy to me get to partake in the lighthearted, energetic side of me, but they also get to be hurt, frustrated, and annoyed by me.
That’s a scary thought. Especially for a people pleaser like myself. The thought of someone being disappointed or let down by me is sometimes detrimental. Knowing that maybe I’m not everything someone had hoped I would be can stress me out, or leave me feeling like a failure. As a thinker, and personal perfectionist, I am always aiming to better myself or improve who I am. I try to remind myself of my flaws and strive to develop from them. That’s an easier thing to do to yourself, but isn’t quite as simple when it’s coming from others.
Although it hasn’t been enjoyable, or comfortable in any sense of the word, I have been aiming to find pleasure in knowing that the ones I love are there to see my flaws and….. (gasp) point them out. What better way to improve on yourself than to take the wisdom of those who know you almost better than you know yourself?
I’m going to break away from that thought for a moment to clarify something. Notice I keep speaking about those who are closest to you. Those that you trust. I’m not talking about listening to the ramblings of every random coworker, bullying schoolmate, or jealous facebook friend. I’m talking near and dear, super special, they have worked their butt off to earn a place that close to your heart and DESERVE it kind of people. Do not allow yourself to be impacted to the core by those who don’t know you. Guard yourself. Make sure that when you hear things that are life changing, or critical, they are brought to you with your best interest at heart, not out of impure intentions or selfish motives. This is crucial to your well being.
Coming back: While the laughter is amazing, how much more amazing is it to be so comfortable with someone and trust in them so much that they are capable of helping you improve yourself? It’s extremely rare to have someone whos words you respect enough to not be offended or hurt when they call you out on characteristics, but can instead hear it with love. For many years I had been very stubborn to the idea of letting others teach me who I truly am. I often ignored when people would tell me that I “always” do something, assuming that they were just trying to tear me down from the one mistake I had made. I ignored my personal patterns and argued with friends who told me I was wrong or blinded by something. I never wanted to look at myself and see flaws. That sounded too painful, or maybe too hard to do something about. If I ignored what they were saying then maybe I wouldn’t have to acknowledge it or accept that I truly am that way.
Then I suddenly started realizing the effect this was having on my life. I had been repeating things over and over again, creating these terrible patterns that were the source of my anger, hurt, rejection, and loneliness. I would blame other people for being the problem. I convinced myself that I was right in everything I did, and would have defended it to the end. But once I began listening to what was being said I started understanding that maybe there was a reason I was hearing it. I began putting the puzzle pieces together and allowing myself to see truth.
Growth is one of the bravest things a person can do. We will always change, but to take whats being planted, make sure to water and feed it, and allow it the right environment and nourishment that it needs to grow is truly something that must be done with intention. When we can stop being so hard headed and so afraid of the truth then we can start creating some real changes in our lives. We can begin breaking old patterns and creating new ones. We can make a way to be the person that we’ve always tried to convince ourselves that we were. With change being inevitable, don’t we want it to be good? I know that I hope to continue looking deep within myself and digging out all of the damage. I want to continue having those people near to my heart who I respect enough that I am challenged by them to improve, for me and for them.
I am so grateful to have these few people in my life. The ones who have taught me how to be better. The ones who love me enough to have real conversations with me and get to know my heart. I am thankful for those who have given me a reason to be stronger, wiser, more respectful and more loving.
Who are those people in your life? Have they been able to show you things that you have ignored in the past? Are you willing to grow?
I challenge you to look a little deeper this week. What are some patterns that you’ve been seeing in your life? Have there been consistent struggles? Have you seen consistent outcomes in relationships with friends, boyfriends, family? Begin digging into those things and search for a common denominator. What could you have done differently? Take a moment to accept that although others have failed you, maybe you too could have been a better version of yourself, and use that knowledge to encourage growth.
“The trouble with most of us is that we’d rather be ruined by praise than saved by criticism.”
― Norman Vincent Peale