Tuesday, October 29, 2013

A Behind-the-Steering-Wheel Lesson

In September I wanted to help my daughter-in-law out by accompanying her to Spokane where she had an appointment with an pediatric optician for one of the twins.  She needed help to watch the other twin while she was in with the doctor; I drove separately from them since she was going to go visit her parents after the appointment.  She wanted me to take the lead so I was driving ahead of her.

I usually push the speed limit a bit but as I looked in the rear view mirror, she was quite a ways behind so I slowed down a bit since I didn't want to leave her behind.  It was a 2 1/2 hour drive to Spokane and I felt like I was dragging us along and it was a little frustrating but I was just going with it and trying to just enjoy my driving music. 

When we were getting closer to our destination  I had slowed down quite a bit to accommodate her and she passed me going more the speed I would have been normally driving.  We pulled in to a McDonald's to eat a quick bite before her appointment and she commented that she thought I was a faster driver!  I was driving too slow for her, even, but she apparently liked to follow a ways back without driving too close!  Well, I guess some communication would have been a good thing before we left the house!

This was one of my aha moments.  When I'm behind the steering wheel I do a lot of thinking so on the way home I was able to see  the lesson in our almost- late- to- the- appointment experience. 

I think I am a people-pleaser; not something I really ever thought I was, but in looking back on so many of my experiences with others( including this experience) has taught me that I really am!  I don't like to admit to this; I'd rather think of myself as an independent thinker and doer, but maybe being raised in the South with manners being a huge part of my upbringing has added to this trait that I'm not proud of.  Now, mind you, I am happy to have good manners (it's important to me) and I want my family as well as others around me to be happy, but I want to find a way that I can be myself.

When I'm in the people-pleasing mode I feel lost and unsure of myself; I feel wishy-washy and cannot make a choice to save my life!  That's not someone I want to be at all.  I need to see good manners differently and separately from being myself; I think I am good manners, but that's different than trying to please everyone because I know I cannot please everyone!  I've tried it and it's not possible, and if I please everyone else there's a good chance that I'm not very happy either. 

The other evening at a football game where I attended with my brother-in-law and sister-in-law to watch their son play, my son (who was there with his wife) commented to my sister-in-law (after I had left to help my mother-in-law get to bed) that I complicated things.  My sister-in-law, who was very wise, told him that I complicated things because I try to please everyone.  I don't think I had ever thought of it that way, but she said it perfectly! 

Sometimes I think I'm a mess, but I'm grateful that I have the tools to clear some of these issues and move forward.  For some reason, being away from home and the day-to-day details has left me open to learn some things about myself that I in my ostrich moments would rather not, but I know it's all for the best. 

Have any of you experienced some of these same issues and how do you overcome them in a practical way? 


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