Thursday, July 13, 2017

5 of 25 Things

As I started my journey working through these, it was to clarify to myself what I went through. However, as I've worked, I've discovered a deeper reason for exploring each "Thing." Each of the 25 Things applied to me. I also realize that I've worked through some. They are no longer a problem. I've made progress on all of them. This is an opportunity to look back and see how far I've come. It's important to do that, once in a while.

Original post from The Mighty:

5. "I become apologetic over everything. If someone doesn't text back, I'll believe they're upset with me, and I'll apologize. If I ask for something and annoy them, I'll apologize. Everything becomes a situation where I feel like I'm to blame."

My sister combined 4 and 5. This is her response:

My response:

I have learned, through long, slow practice, that if someone doesn't text me back, they may not have received it. This is also true of email. I know emails become lost in cyberspace. Sometimes, they show up months later, and sometimes they never show up.

One of my sister's gifts to me was teaching me that if I was having a problem with my computer, it really might not be me. Computers are stupid, fast but still stupid. Computers have no intuitive skills. Ask anyone who's ranted about autocorrect. The computer can only produce what it's been programmed to produce, nothing more. It can produce less when there's a glitch, often touted as a new "Feature." Computers taught me I'm not to blame for everything, despite having often been blamed for everything from breaking dishes I didn't break to saying nasty things I never said.

I learned there's a difference between saying "I'm sorry" because I screwed up and saying "I'm sorry" because someone is going through something difficult and I can't fix it. It isn't even my job, and I understand this. However, it doesn't change the fact that I feel bad for them. I don't think that one is a bad thing. How did I learn that one? Someone would say, "I'm sorry" to me for the same reason, and I would reply, "It isn't your fault." They taught me the other meaning of "I'm sorry." It's important to recognize and acknowledge the difference.

I'm taking the second reason and giving it a different perspective: "If I ask for something and annoy them, I'll apologize." I would apologize in advance for asking for anything and anticipate not being given whatever it is I ask for. There were a plethora of reasons for believing that; the reasons don't matter, not anymore. Can you imagine the dilemma of being told I needed to ask for what I need and believing that even if I asked it wouldn't be given or if it was, it would be given grudgingly. I needed to decide if the "price" was worth even asking.

Blessedly, God has brought people into my life who have helped me learn to ask for what I need, be okay with not being given it and grateful for when it is. It takes practice to learn to say "I'm sorry" when it's appropriate and not use it as a filler like "um," "er," or "like." I had to learn that saying "I'm sorry" so often devalued it to the point it doesn't mean much of anything. It's just words. If it's truly meant to be an apology but no actions back it up, then it's wasted. I don't want to hear the words if nothing is going to change. When action backs up the words, it's powerful.

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