Monthly Musing – March 2021 – Can-do thinking
I love it when you read a magazine article and it stops you in your tracks.
The one that I was reading was all about someone whose Grandma had commented disparagingly on the drawing she had given her when she was very young and she never really drew again after that. It sounds so sad, and might also have you asking, “Why didn’t she ignore the Grandma?” or “Why didn’t she tell the Grandma how much she had upset her?” and I think we all know the answer to that.
Reading this, has an occasion sprung to mind when someone told you that you couldn’t do something? Or can you see yourself in your childhood years feeling dispirited because someone else was better at doing something than you, so you felt that you might as well give up? Yup, I think there might be more than a few of us. For me, it was a high school teacher in dressmaking classes (oh yes, that really was a thing!) and I went from being confident and ready to tackle anything to never considering making my own clothes again.
I’ve often wondered if the teacher intended for that to happen. I would hope not – if she enjoyed dressmaking enough to teach it, I’m sure that she would be horrified to think that she’d put someone off for life! I think it’s more that she didn’t consider the impact of her words and I imagine that has been the case for most of us. When we’re young, though, we think that older people know all the answers so if they say something they must be right, even if it makes us sad. Now, as an adult capable of thinking around a situation, I believe that most of the time the words are just a reflection of how that person is feeling that day, or because they have been disappointed in an ambition themselves, or because they are focussed on their own outcome of the conversation and not how it might make you feel.
It’s up to us whether we let these put-downs still dictate how we are in our lives when we’ve grown up. It’s OK to let them go and to see them for what they often are – someone else’s disappointment. Just because someone told us we couldn’t do something (in their opinion!) in the past doesn’t mean that we can’t do it now or in the future. I am always thrilled when I see someone knitting socks after being told that they couldn’t do it, that it would be too hard for them or another family member always makes the socks so there was no need for them to try. It also makes me try very hard not to say similar things to my girls. That doesn’t mean that I have to make them believe that they are better than they are, but it’s not for me to squash their ambitions, however big or small.
And every now and again, I get the sewing machine out.