Free at Last
My husband has always amazed me with his ability to not give a damn what other people think. With such conviction and ease he says, "It's none of my business what other people think."
I've been praying for years to be more like him (while keeping my girlish figure and lack of prominent facial hair, of course). Finally my prayer was answered - in the most unexpected way.
Yesterday afternoon, standing on my neighbor's porch, a mom from our neighborhood raged in my face, with eyes bulging and finger wagging, accusing my husband and me of all sorts of bad parenting, calling my son mean and hurtful names, and peppering her tirade with all sorts of choice expletives. I stood there silently, my head tilted to one side, as I was verbally assaulted. When she finally stormed off, banging the screen behind her, I turned around and walked home. And then I smiled. I couldn't stop smiling.
For you see, while she flung all sorts of poisonous venom my way, I found within myself the antidote: I didn't care what she thought. Her stinging words missed their target for I knew with certainty that her words were false, based on misinformation, and that what she thought about me and my family was absolutely none of my business. Not my issues, not my baggage. She owned everything that came out of her mouth.
Her accusations should have traveled down the well worn path to my inner self doubt, fueling my feelings of uncertainty and fear of inadequacy. I should have started crying and grasping for insults to hurl back at her. But instead I found a new path, straight to self confidence and assuredness. I was finally FREE! I've never felt so liberated!
It's not the first time I've been insulted as a parent, and it probably won't be the last. Such insults are expected when you choose to parent differently from your neighbors. It's challenging to parent in the midst of other parents. But I can finally say, with conviction, that what other people think about my parenting is none of my business, and furthermore, how I parent is none of their business.
I will admit, being yelled at with so much vehemence shook me up a bit. No one has ever raged at me like that before; I don't know that I've ever evoked that much emotion in anyone. I woke up today with a feeling that something is not quite right. It's as though there has been a toxic spill in my neighborhood and we're experiencing environmental fall out. But as my dad said last night via Skype, "This too shall pass."
A few more words of wisdom guiding me today are:
"Opinions are like feet: everybody has them and some of them stink." ~ My grandma
"No one can make you feel inferior without your consent." ~ Eleanor Roosevelt (one of my mom's favorite quotes)
"There is so much good in the worst of us, and so much bad in the best of us, that it hardly becomes any of us to talk about the rest of us." ~ G. W. Cooke
"Share your strengths, not your weaknesses." ~ My Yogi tea bag this morning
My neighbor has given me a gift she didn't mean to give me. Perhaps I should send her a thank you card (yes, I'm being sarcastic; my husband jokingly suggested a restraining order) , but instead, I'll just smile and wave the next time our paths cross. I like this new unflappable me. Thanks for letting me get it off my chest (not that you had a choice, but all the same, thanks for reading).
Posted by Molly at 7:06 PM