I thought I was going to write about something else today, but I really have been thinking about this. I was cleaning out a closet and came upon a measuring stick. And as I continued to clean I thought about all the times I didn’t “measure up” to someone’s expectations. I don’t know about other people, but I am becoming a “recovering people pleaser”. The reason I say recovering is that I use to try to please everyone – all the time – with varying costs to myself and to my family. I use to think I had to be all things to all people and had to “measure up” to their expectations. Sometimes people intimidated me and I didn’t want to speak up because my emotions may override my words and I would cry! Sometimes, I kept my mouth shut because peace with others trumped me speaking up. I am NOT a fighter! People would offer: * advice I felt I had to apply it to my life * criticism I felt I had to change that thing in my life * opinions regarding raising children I felt I needed to take heed.
I look back at many things and all the times I worried over someone else’s thoughts. The tears I have shed over THEIR dissatisfaction / disapproval with decisions I have made and how we choose to live our lives. Have I made mistakes – absolutely! Do my mistakes define who I am – no! Have I learned from them – some yes and some no (trying to be honest)! The scary thing for me is I am an ADULT. I could speak up for myself, but often cower to avoid conflict and a fight. I have to PREPARE for MEASUREMENTS and respond appropriately — I have little eyes watching my every response (=
Then I think about our children. How many times does Mary feel she doesn’t measure up (remember she is tall, in the gifted program, had braces, curly hair? She usually measures up to the teachers expectations. However, as an almost-teenager, it isn’t the measuring stick of the teacher that she worries about most – it’s her peers. I must say within the last 6 months, I believe she has started using her OWN measuring stick in many areas. I also realized that * my measuring stick for her had to be adjusted * that she has to let me know when my measurements are “off” * I have to TELL her (not just assume she knows) how proud I am when she measures up!
Samuel is totally different…. I am often more protective with people using their measuring stick on him. Sometimes people (including myself and Jim and Mary) don’t hold up a big enough measuring stick and he surpasses our expectations. Other times people put up their measurements without even knowing his “story” (i.e my favorite is restaurants, I often get looks at what I order for him or often that I don’t order anything as I have his favorites in my purse). I often avoid places / environments where other kids his age will be to avoid “the measuring” – not always by the children but often by adults. This year I have noticed that Sam is starting to measure himself against others – realizing at times what isn’t okay, but struggling to often verbalize it until time has past. And this is just the beginning…
Do my children watch how I handle the measurements of others and the measurements I have of myself? Absolutely! Does this mean I need to step it up? ABSOLUTELY and my measuring stick can’t be defined by others… I am realizing the reason I rarely want / accept help is because the person helping is using their measuring stick for MY life and situation. I don’t want my life to be about how I did NOT measure up to their expectations. At the end of the day, I want to go to bed knowing that I measured up to my Heavenly Father, to my husband, and to my children… when those things are right every other measurement will fall into place.
Others may still want to use their measuring stick for my / our life… but my word of advice is – put it back in YOUR closet! I am using MY MEASURING STICK for my / our family life and it feels GREAT!
“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. “ – Matthew 7:1-2 ESV