Thursday, September 29, 2011

The Art of Compliments

Stuff of Yesterday
So briefly, had cramps the day before yesterday.  Figured if things got worse I would do something.  And if things stayed the same I would call the mid-wife.  Woke up and still had cramps.  She suggested getting monitored, which basically meant me being hooked up to machines for an hour (during lunch I was so hungry) and then being poked and prodded to determine all was well.  They determined it was growing pains.  She suggested that I take it easy.  Toddler wrangling is no easy feat which is basically what she said.  So pouty me has to give stuff up.  This is the part I hate about 3rd trimester stuff.  The spirit is willing; the flesh is weak.  So what am I giving up?  Well, I'm quitting library baby story time.  *gasp heard from Catholic librarian*.  Yes, I'm giving it up.  They leave the double doors open, and I had to on Tuesday retrieve HB from the very close to the room computer catalog three times.  It's not fun dealing with kicking and thrashing multiple times (which could explain the pain).  After that I closed the doors.  He doesn't care for their story time.  And frankly I don't either.  It's not very engaging compared to the ones in Tucson.  He'd rather type on their computers.  So I'm giving it up.  And Hubby has announced that he's taking over the laundry and the grocery shopping, but he assures me that he will find another way to let me leave the house.  The laundry is a pain because I wheel three to four loads every week on HB's wagon to the laundry room and throw it all in at once.  I was expecting to give that up.  I wasn't expecting to be relinquished of my one regular trip out of the house sans child, but now that I have the SHE (Catholic Moms group) every Wednesday evening, I suppose I can give up the trips to the store.  *sigh*  I know I'll get over it.  It's only temporary for a few more months.

The Art of Compliments
I've mentioned that I've read the whole Five Love Languages thing and determined that it's very hard for me to pick a love language.  The closest to being first is "Words of Affirmation" which encompasses compliments but also simply telling a person that you love them and care about them.  My husband doesn't "do" compliments.  It's a completely foreign concept to him.  Just as it a completely foreign concept to me that a fully grown man needs a hug from time to time.  But we all get over it and try anyway.  I understand that to hug a person is to show you love them and so it's for them not for your own selfishness.

Hubby, for a long while, has viewed compliments as something you give a person when they achieve something.  But then he had an "ah ha" moment one night while during our usual discourse about why he needs to point out the good points about me, when I explained the part about doing it for the person to show that you love them.  Not all compliments are devoid of achievement, but not all compliments have to be about achieving something.  Compliments come in many different forms.

1) Beauty- While I'm not into the "lookin' good" compliments, they are one way of affirming a person in your eyes.  Some women (and men) need to feel attractive to their spouse.  I'm not one of them.
2) Achievement- A "job well-done" compliment or it can be simply "thank you for doing blah"
3) Mid-way doing thing- The point of this compliment is to keep encouraging the person.  "I see that you are making progress.  Keep up the good work" or in the case of children "keep going.  You can do it.  I have confidence in you."  It's more of "words of affirmation" but I consider it to be complimentary.
4) Simply being- saying that you appreciate the person being there in your life is also important.  Usually this is followed by "I love you."  This to me is the most important of the compliments because it both affirms the significance you hold in the person's life but also shows that their love for you is unconditional.  Beauty fades and you may get addled as you age, but your status in their life shouldn't change.

I say all these things for Hubby's benefit (we've discussed them before but it's always nice to have something written down) and for those who have trouble with compliments.  The other big problem is getting into the habit of complimenting.  This can be for your spouse or your own children.  If compliments are hard to do, then schedule it.

Hubby is a regimented person.  He's more so than me which I find strange since being a musician requires some amount of self-discipline.  Hubby likes working in a frame work of schedules.  If things go outside that, he stresses.  The man even uses a kitchen timer to make sure he's brushed his teeth the recommended two minutes.  So when I say that I'm flexible, I don't mean in that I'm constantly spontaneous.  I mean that if something comes up in the middle of brushing my teeth I don't groan about it.  Hubby has a hard time changing. 

So this evening during yet another episode of "you really need to stop the criticisms and start the compliments or I'm going to start hurling this pot that I'm washing at your head" discussions, I told him to start scheduling the compliments.  His biggest problem, so he says, is that he doesn't think about it because it's not habitual.  So I told him, if you can remember to brush your teeth twice a day, the least you can do is remember to pay me a compliment at a certain point in your day.  So he's agreed.  We'll see how that goes.

Last week, I told him to start small.  He can use the most common compliments ascribed to children: you're beautiful and you're smart.  It's a start.  He doesn't have to suddenly spout off sonnets.  He just has to get out of his head and start with a baby step.  This evening I asked him about what happened to the baby steps and he said something about it being bad timing when he thinks of these things and that he really wanted to come up with something better.  To which, I told him "but you have to start somewhere.  If you keep trying to go into 'perfection mode,' you'll frustrate yourself to the point that you'll give up before trying, which is what you are doing now.  Stick to the plan."  So he's agreed.

So here's the plan, for those of you who struggle with compliments (*clears throat* Hubby).  Make it a habit by scheduling it like when you eat breakfast in the morning or leave for work.  If you can remember to kiss your sweetie goodbye, you can remember to tell her she looks fabulous.  And start small.  It may seem dumb at first to say "you look beautiful" or "I think you're smart" but start somewhere.  If you've had these discussions with your wife for a long time (something like going on five years now), they will not be expecting something out of a romance novel.  They just need something.  Otherwise that "love tank" looks really dry.  If it's your child, depending on their age, you can tell them your plan to work on it (which they are more than willing to help and be flexible about) or you can start off small.  Sometimes the only things I say to HB are "you're so smart" or to simply clap and say "good job."  He doesn't care that it's not elaborate. 

So tomorrow, I'm keeping my fingers crossed that my regimented man (who if it's not part of the routine tends to forget things) will remember to say something along those lines.  Otherwise, I know of several pans that may go flying.  ;P

1 comment:

  1. :)

    I gave up on our public library story hour this summer too. Just didn't do it for us. And Henry loves their computers too! No sense in spending energy on something that just isn't working.


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