The radio was on but I zoned out while applying lipstick in the mirror. Brian glanced at me from the driver’s seat with a smirk. Determined to line my lips and apply the perfect coat of gloss, I ignored him.
He turned the radio up so loud I couldn’t tune out. I heard enough of the advertisement to understand the smirk. The host was promoting a book dedicated to helping marriages controlled by the wife.
Don’t start a fight.
The Megan in the mirror looked composed applying lipgloss but resentment took root. I told myself to drop it but I didn’t. I guess I was in the mood to pick a fight.
My insecurities pushed my response out. “What, am I controlling? Too OCD? I’m not nice enough to you? What is it Brian, just say it.”
The comments that make me most defensive are the ones packed with lies I’ve believed about myself.
Brian responded, “I wouldn’t call you nice,” without an ounce of emotion. Honesty has always been his only intention.
Suddenly I realized the irony of the situation and took a deep breath. I can’t be upset about a crazy wife joke and become a crazy wife. I am learning to pause instead of prod when my insecurities want to take over.
The funny thing about Brian’s comment is I wouldn’t describe myself as nice either. Or sweet. So why did it hurt so bad? It hurt because he is nice, so suddenly I am less than and insulted.
He went on to say, “you’re independent, loyal, honest, and capable of doing anything you want.” Brian’s words were exactly what I needed to hear. His motivation was to affirm the person I am for him. He simply stated the truth. Besides, A nice man like him needs a strong woman like me, right?
Find your safe place.
My Summer Search is teaching me there is no good or bad when it comes to who we are. Instead, there is real or fake. Good or bad is someone else’s perception of you. But real and fake are things only you can decipher.
With Brian I feel safe enough to ask him what his comments mean. Typically we’re on high alert trying to navigate a situation where we feel uncomfortable. So we need to develop our own voice of reason.
When someone makes a comment that catapults you into your head. Stop. Pause, and consider why you’re so defensive. Is it because we’re looking at the people around us to put a bandaid on our insecurities? Or maybe we’re letting someone’s words determine our worth? Combat defensiveness with permission to be exactly who you were created to be.