Thursday, March 10, 2011

Who You Givin' Your Leftovers, Baby?


It's quiet at home because both kids are at school, and I'm stripping beds and washing sheets and doing other mindless tasks, and all that's given my brain a chance to reflect on some of the deeper concepts that get introduced over the course of life and then filed away for "later," when I have time for them and Hey! Whaddaya know? I have time now!

So since I've been testing out my New and Improved Non-Defensive Approach to Handling Conflict, Duh!, Al and I have had some new and improved interesting conversations. The other day, he pointed out (as he has pointed out on many occasions and I have shot down in a firestorm of self-preservation, I might add) that his loving wife, (to whom he matters the very most in the world, I might also add), has a tendency to take the people who matter the most to her, (i. e. him) for granted, and to spend her precious resources (time, energy, creativity, joy, humor, you name it, whatever I have on any given day) on winning over other people... people who should actually matter LESS.

And he's right. I DO invest a great deal of myself in trying to convince other people to love and need me. Even though I have this man at home who adores me and treasures me and needs my attention. And I rationalize my actions and my expenditure of energy by explaining to myself, and to my beloved, that I NEED to have more than just him in my life. I'm way more extroverted than Al, and I function better when I have people to talk to, and people to laugh with, and people to share their ideas and positivity and with whom I can share my own thoughts and opinions and ideas. And Al? Is 60 miles away from me 12 hours a day 5 days a week. I get so darned lonely Monday through Friday! So I'm always seeking more relationships. (And by relationships, I mean FRIENDSHIPS. With other women-folk.)

Which is fine and a valid justification to a point. And there's also the fact that the times that Al is at home just happen to be with a few exceptions the only times I can GO OUT and meet the rest of the world, because he's there to watch the kids then. But it's truth time here, and when I stop and make myself really examine my own tendencies? What Al says is true, I often give more to These Others than I do to him. And what's worse, he's pointed out, is that I often STRUGGLE and STRUGGLE and STRUGGLE the most to win over people who seem unwinnable. Often, the people to whom I devote the most of me are the people who prove themselves to be the most likely to reject, exclude, ignore or even just plain hurt me. Or as Al has more bluntly put it on numerous occasions, "You like the Bad Boys, Megan. You always have."

(Bursts into song: I'm gonna make you love me-e-eeeee... Oh, yes I will ... YES I WILL.)

And that's kinda dumb when I've got this man RIGHT HERE who would gladly give me anything I wanted, just to see me happy. Instead of investing most of myself in him, I'm prone to giving Al my "leftovers" after I've been out trying to win over the rest of the world.

So there's something deep and ponderous for us to consider instead of fixating on all of my head-goo:

Do we treat the people who matter most to us as if they matter as much as they do? Or are we guilty of just giving them our leftovers?

I have some mental and emotional work to do on this one. How about you?

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  1. I am guilty of this to a certain extent, but I am getting better at it (I think). I am not a social person (I would be happy to sit at home for weeks at a time, with only Kent and the kids to talk to!) though, so it's different. I do seem to put more thought and effort into making/buying/doing things for people who I feel like I have to 'win over' (my in-laws, for example) than I do into making/buying/doing things for people who already like me the way that I am. Which is really quite sad, when I think about it.

  2. Well, I am more likely to just get mad at those less-important people than to try and win them over. :o) I tend to build up a close, smaller circle of trustworthy friends who I wish I could spend more time with. My "love language" (have you read that book? it's great at helping you understand your spouse, if their love language is different than yours) is time, so I am probably more likely to feel like I'm getting leftovers from my extroverted husband!

  3. This is such a good question to ask, especially of bloggers because I think we all fall into doing what you describe here. I know I'm guilty of it. What a great reminder to just look around us and really see what's right in front of our faces.

  4. Hey, Megan,
    I am taking a break from facebook, but wanted you to know you are still keeping me entertained with your posts and touching my heart on a daily basis. Keep on being honest, open, and YOU!!
    Heather (momma to Camden and Vann)

  5. Totally understand about trying to make friends when hubby is gone. We lived in Michigan for 3 years, my husband travels a lot, I have 2 kids, and was also born in the deep South (Louisiana). I did live in Oregon for about 15 years between the 2 (and am back there now). My husband was once shocked when I told him that the only times I've stayed in a hotel in the last 20 years was when I was with him (which is like a dozen times). He can spend months away from us each year! It's super hard without family close by, and one reason I didn't like the midwest was because people there would give you the shirt off their back, but never seem to invite you over for dinner, or stop by on a whim and stay the rest of the day, or say hi to you on the street, or start a conversation in a grocery store line. KWIM... People there seem so busy and fast! Life is just a different rhythm. I found it very hard to make friends. And when I told them I was from the south I got some of the strangest comments. (sigh). Short story long, I think you have a reason to be lonely. Hope it gets better!

  6. This stuck a fork right in my heart, Megan. I'm so guilty of this. It's my lifelong tendencies. I don't mean to neglect Corey, really. I just get excited about so many things.

    At this stage in the game, I've learned to be super careful about how I spend my time. I'm far from balanced, but I always pray the Holy Spirit will gut-check me when I start to focus on the urgent versus the important.