We’ve all heard the expression – Curiosity Killed the Cat. My question is, DID curiosity kill the cat?
We take so many things at face value without really looking more closely at them. Expressions. Standards to live by. How we do our jobs. Without even knowing it, many of us live by that expression. We aren’t curious. We don’t ask questions. We don’t look for the “why” the “how” of what is around us.
My good friend Barbilee and I have been doing a book study of The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth by John C. Maxwell together since the start of the year. This week’s chapter was on curiosity. The book discusses how important it is to be curious in order to grow, to reach our potential, and, simply, to enjoy our lives to the fullest.
In the chapter, there is an anecdote of a little girl who keeps peppering her mother with questions. Whether you have kids or not, I’m sure you’ve experienced the curious 3 year old who makes you crazy – and maybe feel a little stupid – with all their questions. Finally the mom says “Stop asking so many question. Curiosity killed the cat?” After a moment the little girl asks, “So what did the cat want to know?”
As I was reading the chapter I wondered, was I ever that curious? In my memory I’ve never been much of a question-asker. I spent my whole time in school afraid to ask questions. I would sit stuck on something until, thankfully, someone else got stuck and asked the question I needed the answer to. I never seemed to have any questions in job interviews – other than the all important pay.
Thanks to my conversation with Barbilee, I realized that there’s more to curiosity than questions. Certainly questions are important. How can I make this better. How does this work. Why is this not working and how can I make it better? However, even without necessarily asking those questions, I do seek answers.
Where am I curious?
- I love to try new things. I’m usually one of the first to jump in when there’s a chance to do something new.
- I look for solutions to problems whether they be personal, professional or emotional.
- I love to learn about people. I admit I’m often at a loss for what questions to ask, however when I’m really present with someone I see beyond their words and learn a lot.
- I like to grow. One of my fears is being stagnant. I want to keep expanding and discovering.
- I have an inherent need to learn. If I’m not learning something concrete – even if it makes me uncomfortable at the start – I feel a lack of purpose.
After having this conversation and thinking more about curiosity, I realize that it’s not curiosity that kills the cat – or The Bad Kitty – it’s lack of curiosity. Did curiosity kill the cat? Certainly not! Lack of curiosity kills. If you’re not growing, you’re dyeing. It’s a fact of life.
In what ways are you curious in your life? How can you develop your curiosity?
My intentions are:
- take a class in something that interests me that I don’t have an obvious aptitude for. I tend to shy away from things that I don’t think I’ll be good at. And I’ve been surprised many times in my life by hidden attributes. I’m thinking, perhaps, martial arts.
- ask more questions. Observe people who are great askers and learn from them. Ask questions – even if I’m afraid it might make me look stupid.
I hope you will be a curious Kitty with me.
Have a PURRfect day!
Christie Mawer – The Bad Kitty
I made a tough decision recently. An emotional decision. One that, from the outside, may not seem like a big deal.
As you know, if you’ve been reading this regularly, I’ve been having some struggles with my future plans. The Bad Kitty as a business hasn’t grown the way I wanted it to and has actually shrunk in recent years. So now what?
Nearly four years ago I bought a new car – the Kia Soul. After I purchased it, I turned it into The Bad Kitty – mobile. It had my information on the back window – logo, name website, phone number and bullet points under the heading “Authentic Sensuality” of home pole parties and motivational speaker. On the sides the Bad Kitty was lounging across the doors. It felt like I was driving around in a representation of who I am and what I do.
However, to be honest, having that information on my car was not getting me any traction. I think I can count on one hand how many times I got a response from someone interested in having a party or were curious about my speaking. On two hands and my feet I can count how many curious men called thinking they were going to get some special services.
Still, I love my car and my logo. However, I had to look at reality. Was it doing what it as supposed to? No. Was it getting the response I wanted? No. I’ve been thinking for some time that it might be time to take off the advertising. But wouldn’t that be giving up?
Yes – and no. I made the decision. I didn’t take the decals off my car. I bought another car. It’s still a Kia Soul. It’s still green. But it’s four years newer and is not going to be a Bad Kitty-mobile, other than it is driving around this Bad Kitty. This was easier for me emotionally – and the new Souls are even cooler than the old ones with more features.
I feel like I haven’t given up – I’m letting go. I’m moving on to something new. I don’t know what it is yet. All I know is that it’s coming. The car is a symbolic release letting the universe know I’m open to something new and unexpected.
It’s important to know when it’s time to let go. There are so many situations we get into that are holding us back. They may have started out well, but have served their purpose.
When is it time to let go?
- Does the thing/situation/relationship serve you in a positive manner?
- Are your reasons for holding on emotional or based in reality?
- Will letting go help you move forward onto something more positive?
- Do you have a lot of energy wrapped up in this thing/situation/relationship that is draining you?
- Are you using your past as a safe place rather than moving forward to something scary?
I feel sad that I will no longer have a car with my logo on it – I do love that logo. So much so it’s tattooed on my back. Letting go is not without it’s sadness. It’s not without it’s doubts and fears. No, I’m not sure what is coming around the corner. I simply trust that The Bad Kitty as a business is not dead, just in transition. My car, Julep, was a symbol. That symbol is retired to make way for a new phase. Bye Julep. Hello Venus!
Here’s to the future! Who’s coming along on the journey?
Christie Mawer – The Bad Kitty
I’ve been thinking lately that it’s been far too long since I’ve done something to stretch my comfort zone. Honestly, mine is pretty broad so it’s hard to stretch it. The problem is, that since I haven’t challenged myself in awhile, I find my comfort zone shrinking. I find myself saying no to things I would have jumped at not that long ago. Or making excuses. Or simply taking a blase attitude.
I don’t like it! I love taking risks, having fun, going out on a limb. How about you?
I find when I do something that stretches me, a few things happen. These are the 3 stages to stretching your comfort zone:
- Feel some resistance – even fear – at first.
- Decide to do it anyway.
- Feel great afterwards – like anything is possible.
My question is isn’t going past the fear/resistance worth the end result? For me it certainly is.
Everyone is different. We all have things that are hard for us that we are still curious about or interested in. This is different from what we were discussing last time – those things you know you are bad at that you don’t care about. For example, I hate sports, yet I still like stretching myself with physical activities like rappelling, rafting, dance, yoga, zip lining and so on. Because I’m not athletic, I find these things challenging AND I enjoy them.
I’m not a very social person. I’m an introvert. I find mingling in groups very difficult. Making small talk is far from one of my strengths. I still push myself, though, because I know it’s valuable and I feel great when I make a new contact as a friend or for business.
What is this thing for you?
Here are some things to think about to help you find things to stretch your comfort zone:
- What is something you’ve wanted to do that freaks you out and excites you at the same time?
- What is something that makes you uncomfortable that you know will give you personal benefit if you overcome that discomfort?
- What is something that you’ve tried before that you would like to do again at a higher level?
- What is something that you see others doing that you wish you could do?
- What is something that is totally out there that makes you giggle and think, “that looks fun – and crazy! I could never do that.”
Recently I was listening to the radio and they were playing a game of “would you rather” which puts two equally desirable or undesirable (for most people) things together and asks, which you would rather have to do in your life. It can be a fun game since there are no consequences and you learn a lot about the people you’re playing with.
One of the challenges posed on the show was “Would you rather have to french kiss every stranger you meet or never kiss anyone ever again.” I immediately thought I would rather kiss strangers. I love kissing and I’d hate to never be able to kiss anyone ever again! I know I’ll never have to make this decision, and yet it’s stuck in my mind.
Then I saw a video that’s been making the rounds this week. 20 Strangers Kiss for the First Time. Well, look at that! 20 people VOLUNTEERED to kiss a stranger. Talk about getting out of your comfort zone! It’s a pleasure to watch the transformation of these people. At first they’re shy, giggling, wondering what they got themselves into.
The resistance/fear stage.
Then you can see them shift from fear to acceptance. Well, I said I’d do this so let’s get on with it.
The do it anyway stage.
Then they do it. They get intimate with a stranger. They go deep. They give this person they just met- and may not even remember their name – a real, full on, open mouthed kiss. Their faces and physical connection with their partners afterwards says it all.
The feel great afterwards stage.
I’m making a commitment to start stretching again. Like a muscle, the comfort zone atrophies if not stretched. One way I’d like to start is by emulating these two guys and do some dancing behind people in public places. If you have anything you’d like to do, please share. Let’s play together!
Who wants to stretch with me? Remember the 3 stages to stretching your comfort zone. Going through the first 2 is definitely worth getting to the 3rd.
Christie Mawer – The Bad Kitty
My partner and I have been having an ongoing discussion about my unwillingness to play sports. I have always been uncoordinated. Being uncoordinated is different than being a klutz. To me, a klutz is someone who is always running into things, hurting themselves, falling and so on. I do that too, but I don’t really hurt myself. Klutzes do. Uncoordinated people do all of those things as well but manage to get away fairly unscathed with maybe a few bruises. The added component of uncoordinated over klutz is they also have bad hand/eye coordination which makes anything that requires such skills, like sports, virtually impossible.
I had a friend in high school who was a total klutz. She was always causing little accidents that ended up with cuts, bruises, even broken bones. But she was remarkably coordinated and was on every sports team in the school. I was always running into doorways and falling up stairs but constantly picked last for every team. My sports skills were pretty much non-existent.
For those of you who are coordinated and don’t have a clue what I’m talking about, this post might help you understand.
I did try for many years to find something I was good at. I had constant hope that one day I would stumble (literally) on something that I could master. That never did happen. So now, in adulthood, I actively avoid sports. I don’t avoid activity. I love to dance. I love yoga. I’ll play pool or bowl as long as everyone knows not to expect anything of me skill-wise. Sports, on the other hand, where there is a team and expectations of some level of skill, I refuse to participate.
My partner thinks this is negative and defeatist. He thinks that I should do it anyway. He thinks if I just keep at it I will get better.
The latter is true. Anyone can get better at anything if they do it enough. However, I – like you and everyone else – only have so much time in our lives. Do I (or you) want to spend it trying to master something at which you will only be mediocre or something that I/you can really master?
I prefer the latter.
I thought about this in great detail because I’m all about pushing your comfort zone and being open to possibility. So, I thought, by being so against playing sports, am I going against everything I teach about taking risks?
Then it dawned on me – it’s not a skill I value. If it’s not something I value, why should I spend a great amount of time on it?
We all have things in our life we value. What we value is what we need to concentrate on. Others may try to tell us that we should value something else, or that we should value something they value in addition to what we already value. Well, kitties, we are all who we are and no matter what the expectations of others, we cannot value what they value.
Sure, sports have their value – for others. For many they are a source of pride, of camaraderie, of challenge and joy. Not for me. For some numbers are a source of comfort, knowledge, control. Not for me. That doesn’t mean I berate others for valuing these things. It also doesn’t mean that I need to feel the same way about them as others do.
I love my garden, but I will likely never go to the extent of my friends who have their entire yard full of fruit trees and vegetables and harvest all their own food in the city. I respect this and find it amazing. And it’s not on my top 5 things in my life. Food is valuable and not valuable enough for me to grow all my own food. I love that they do that. It’s not on my personal priority list.
What do you value? Here are some things you may or may not value. This is by no means a comprehensive list.
- personal growth
- physical activity
- and many more
It’s vital to know what is of value to YOU. All of these things are valuable, yes. Thankfully there are people out there who will put a high value on different things so it’s not up to you to master them all. Put your time and energy into what YOU value. Master and concentrate on what is most important to you.
Be open to discovery and having joy from things you may not have experienced. You may be surprised. I could have never tried pole dancing because of my uncoordinated-ness. Instead, I discovered a new skill. I already know I am terrible at baseball. I don’t need to keep revisiting that. I had no idea I would love digging in the dirt and growing beautiful flowers. Then I got a house with big empty flower beds so I started filling them and loving the results. I have spent a lot of time trying to get even mediocre with numbers with minimal improvement so I don’t have to keep going there.
Know what your strengths are. Know what you value. Honor what you love. Master what you are great at and delegate the rest. The world deserves your best. Serve them and yourself by honoring who you are and what you’re here to do. If that’s catching, throwing, hitting and jumping – more power to you!
Christie Mawer – The Bad Kitty
First, let me say thank you for being on my Mews-letter list and for, if not always, at least on occasion reading it, sharing it and commenting on it. It means a lot to me and I hope it has given you some insights and some smiles.
Today, I’d like to use this forum to share some struggles I’ve been going through for some time. I share with trepidation because what if you stop trusting me? What if it makes me look weak and ridiculous? Often, since I see myself as a leader and have been told I’m an inspiration, it’s hard to admit that I’m also human. Shocking, I know. Yes, The Bad Kitty struggles too. Part of the Bad Kitty acronym is Authentic. I feel in order to truly be Authentic with you, my community, I must share.
First, some background. Ten years ago I started doing pole dancing parties. I started doing them for a few reasons:
- they looked like fun
- I needed a source of income
- I thought they would be a transformational experience for women
It turned out, they were all three. It was such a blast in the early days and actually pretty easy since there was no other game in town – no studios, no other way to learn to pole dance. The frequency of the parties has gone down considerably in the last few years. The competition has become fierce. Still, it didn’t really matter as I was branching out.
I had left the pole dancing company I was with and started my own company – The Bad Kitty. The purpose of The Bad Kitty, as many of you know, is to spread the message of Authentic Sensuality – giving women a chance to experience their true selves by discovering what it really means to be sensual. The core message being that every woman is amazing and beautiful just as she is – no changes required. Every woman deserves to reach for her dreams, to have selfish goals, to love and be loved for who she is and how she looks and not who others thinks she should be.
I continued to do the parties – because they were fun and a good way to spread my message in a comfortable environment. I started to do classes and wrote The Bad Kitty Handbook – A Journey Toward Authentic Female Sensuality. Things started out really well. I felt supported. I got lots of great feedback and referrals. I even went to Salt Lake City to speak at a large event. I was on the right track!
Or was I?
This last year has been nothing but doubt and sadness. My income has continually gone down rather than up. I went from selling 100 books in less than a year to 100 books in 3 years. I went from turning people away from my classes to cancelling them for lack of interest. People stopped calling to have me come speak at their events. What happened?
Truth is, I don’t know. I’ve spent the last year floundering. Depressed and unsure of what to do next. Doubting everything. Feeling like my passion and drive were misplaced or that I misunderstood my purpose. I was so sure! Why isn’t it working?
I share this not because I know the answers but because it’s the truth. I still believe in the message I’ve been sharing. I know people respond to it – thanks so much for all the responses I got privately and in the comments for my Selfish Goals post last week. On the other hand, a few kind words don’t put food on the table or build a business.
Some friends and I are doing a book study on The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth by John C. Maxwell. The second chapter, which we just completed, is the Law of Awareness. Normally, this would be “easy” for me as I’ve spent so much time figuring myself out. Instead I felt completely overwhelmed. What if everything I’ve been discovering is just a lie? What if I don’t really have a clue? I thought I was so clear, but it feels like a big failure!
So, here I sit, lost and afraid and broke, thinking of quitting all together. I know I’m not alone. I know pretty much everyone has been here at one time or another. The question is “now what?”
I don’t have an answer – yet. What I do know is that I will not stop sharing with you. I know something will shift one day soon (please, sooner rather than later!) and things will become clear. I know that the clarity will likely be a small or large change from what I have been doing. I know my desire for women to love and know themselves will never change. How I’ll share that may shift – or not.
As we go through life, these crossroads come to us all. I hope you will continue with me on the journey of discovery. I hope what I learn will help you when you come to your crossroads.
Thank you again for being part of The Bad Kitty community – because of course you are a Bad Kitty too!
Big HUGS to you all!
Christie Mawer – The Bad Kitty
Did you make any New Year’s resolutions? If you did, there’s a good chance you’ve already broken it – or them.
There’s something about a new year that gives us hope for self improvement. The chance to correct all the mistakes we’ve made so far. The opportunity to be more than you were and closer to the perfection you envision. No pressure.
And then it all falls apart in a few weeks or, if you’re especially motivated, a few months.
The most common resolutions are:
- get fit/lose weight/be healthier
- quit smoking
- quit drinking
- spend more time with the family/work less
- get out of debt
- learn something new
- get organized/declutter
Been there done that? And how’d it turn out for you?
How about an alternative?
Set SELFISH GOALS.
What’s the difference you may ask.
- resolutions are big sweeping changes, selfish goals are little things to do just for you.
- resolutions can feel onerous and overwhelming, selfish goals can be fun and rewarding.
- resolutions are often a result of societal pressure like being a certain size while selfish goals come from a desire and passion to be and express your best self.
The difference can be subtle. Let’s break down selfish goals vs resolutions to make it clearer.
RESOLUTION: get fit/lose weight
SELFISH GOAL: What are the things you love to do anyway that you’ve dropped out of your life for various reasons? Try something like this on for size. I love to walk in nature. I’m going to set a goal to walk a minimum of three times a week. OR I love to dance. I’m going to take a dance class. There is no reference to weight or fitness. It’s about doing things you love which will have the surprising outcome of making you healthier.
RESOLUTION: quit smoking/drinking
SELFISH GOAL: Ask yourself WHY do you want to quit? If its because you should or someone is pressuring you, be prepared to fail. If it’s because you have a deep desire to live better and healthier, then break it down further. What will you be able to do/enjoy more when you’ve succeeded in quitting? Set goals around those things and it will give you motivation for the big quit.
RESOLUTION: spend more time with family.
SELFISH GOAL: This can be tricky. One aspect of Selfish Goals is they are about YOU. Setting a selfish goal that involves someone else can defeat the purpose. Often when we set goals that involve others we get defeated if they’re not on the same page. Ex: I want to go to Paris with my husband but if he hates to travel or can’t stand French people,will you let that stop you from going to Paris? SOLUTION: Before setting any family goals, find out what they want as well. Be sure to know what you want so that you don’t go along with the desires of others just to make peace. Now mesh the priorities of everyone as best you can. If they don’t want to be part of this goal, you may need to find other ways to satisfy this desire. Be prepared to be creative. Also realize that you need self time as well. Make sure your whole life isn’t wrapped around your family – especially you ladies!
RESOLUTION: get out of debt
SELFISH GOAL: Less debt is a noble goal. Unless you have a clear reason to get out of debt other than you “should”, it will never happen and will feel like a burden. Without the weight of debt around your neck, what would you be able to do? Travel? Buy better clothes? Give to charity? Set the selfish goals of what you will do when the debt is gone and remarkably the debt will shrink.
RESOLUTION: learn something new
SELFISH GOAL: What do you want to learn? Be very clear about the end result you want. Do you want to do something creative? Are you leaning toward something academic? Do you want to work alone or in a group? How much time/money are you willing to spend? Once you answer these questions, you can look for things that satisfy your needs. Being selfish in this way will guarantee a higher level of success with your endeavor. Most of all, be sure you’re having fun with it!
RESOLUTION: get organized
SELFISH GOAL: Why do you want to get organized? The why will help with the how. Cleaning out your closet is an onerous job. But when you do it to make room for new clothes, it feels more exciting. Organizing your office seems like the worst job ever. But when you do it knowing that you will feel more creative, it gives you energy. Always look for the why and the how will come. Being selfish in this way will create more motivation.
A University of Bristol study ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/University_of_Bristol ) suggests that 88% of people fail their resolutions. Not very encouraging. Change to Selfish Goals that bring you joy, feed your passion, ramp up your energy and in general make you feel great, you will succeed.
Have fun being selfish!
Christie Mawer – The Bad Kitty
With Christmas coming, my purpose today is to make you smile, to inspire you, to keep your faith in humanity alive. Enjoy the following links that have touched me recently. I hope they do the same for you.
Here are 5 gifts of holiday happiness for you:
1. Bikers for Kids. In this video, some preconceived notions about bikers will be eradicated. This amazing group of tough guys volunteer their time to help abused children feel safe.
2. Uhura Shares Why She Stayed on Star Trek: Back in the 60′s it was unheard of to see a woman of color on TV in any role other than hired help. Casting Nichelle Nichols in Star Trek as fourth in command was a big step that made a lot of people unhappy. As she was considering leaving the show, an unexpected fan pleaded with her to stay and as a result, she changed the face of entertainment forever.
3. Unique Mannequins: Much is said about how models don’t represent regular people. By extension, the same can be said about mannequins. What about people who aren’t even “regular”? What about those with missing limbs, severe scoliosis or other physical abnormalities? This is a story of making mannequins in the image of specific people and the results are beautiful.
4. A Second of Surprise: When I first heard the premise of this process, I was skeptical. The results speak for themselves. Take 20 cancer patients. Give them crazy makeovers and record the moment that they see the results. It gives us all a moment of truth, beauty and joy.
5. Kindness can be so Simple: It doesn’t take much to make someone’s day better. Sometimes all it takes is a little twine, a piece of cardboard, a sharpee and good intentions. Check out these wonderful moments of kindness that must have meant so much to the recipients.
In this time of family, of rushing, of stress, remember, it only takes a moment to show your love and caring – without spending a fortune. Honor those you love and those you don’t even know. Find a way to give happiness to others, which will also give it to you in overflow.
There will be no Mews-letter in two weeks as it will be Christmas Day.
See you in the New Year. Happy Holidays!
Christie Mawer – The Bad Kitty
On Sunday I spoke at the local Welcome Wagon Baby Fair. I was asked by the new organizer to talk about keeping sensuality alive after baby. The staff member at the event was a little concerned about my topic. I told her not to worry, it wasn’t going to be a raunchy talk and gave her a quick rundown. ”Oh, things every woman needs to remember. I love it!”
Whether you’re a mom, wife, single, business owner, employee or retired, the following 5 keys of sensuality are for you!
1. Be present to your senses. We have 5 senses – see, hear, smell, taste, feel – and yet sometimes we can go through a full day, or several days, without even registering anything with our senses. Women have what is called “diffuse attention”. That means we are aware of what’s around us. We notice things like piles of dishes when others – especially the men in the household – don’t seem to notice them at all. There is a lot of stimuli in our world. There’s a lot for us to keep track of and take care of. For that reason we often skate over top of our lives so we don’t get overloaded. My suggestion for you is to be present. Rather than adding to your overload, it will lessen it. It’s like feeling an emotion, when you push it away it grows and eventually overwhelms you. If you feel it and release it, you can move on. Being present to your senses allows you to really feel, to really be aware and to know what is really important. Notice the sights, sounds and smells around you. Take the time to taste your food. Notice how things feel on your skin. Oh, and this goes for inside the bedroom as well as out!
2. Take care of yourself. It’s so easy to put our own needs on the back burner when there are so many demands on your time. I have some bad news for you – you can’t really help anyone else if you don’t take care of yourself. If you’re constantly trying to drive on an empty tank, you will eventually come to a complete stop emotionally and/or physically. If you really want to be there for your family, friends and/or career, you MUST take time for YOU! Write down a list of “selfish goals”, take classes that nourish your interests, have some quiet time daily, read, write, walk – whatever feeds you, DO IT!
3. Accept compliments graciously. I’ve talked about the importance of this many times and it bears saying again. Until every woman can honestly say “thank you” when given a compliment, I’ll keep bringing it up. It’s good for your confidence and esteem and it honors the giver. JUST DO IT!
4. Be your own best cheerleader. It’s part of human nature to look for outside approval. Unfortunately we can’t rely on it. Others have their own worries and concerns. Even if they appreciate you, they may not say it at all or as often as you want. You need to practice being your own cheerleader. Get in the habit of celebrating your success. You did well, you have a right to say it, to know it, to celebrate it. Pat yourself on the back, give yourself a gift, smile in the mirror and remind yourself how amazing you are. Ra Ra Sis Boom Ba!!!
5. Ask for what you want. This can be hard to do, especially if you don’t know what you want. Refer to your selfish goals list, that will help. Being present will also be a big help. When you are clear, then start asking. It will be difficult at first. I promise, like anything, the more you do it the easier it will be. Make your requests in a way that you know you will be heard. This isn’t volume and intensity, it’s doing it at a time when you have the other person’s attention and using clear, specific language. You can’t get what you want/need if the other person/people don’t know what it is. The only person you have to blame if you’re not getting results is yourself. If you think you are already asking for what you want, evaluate how you are asking, what you are saying, when you are approaching people. Modify until you see results. This applies inside the bedroom as well. *wink*
Be your sensual self. Use these 5 keys of sensuality daily. Remember, you are a Bad Kitty; Beautiful, Authentic, Divine, Kompletely, Individual, Totally, True, YOU!
Hugs, Christie Mawer – The Bad Kitty
How have you been doing with accepting compliments graciously? If you’ve been making an effort for the past two weeks, I’m sure you are seeing results in the ease of saying “Thank you” and nothing else and a difference in how you see yourself when you look in the mirror.
Now, let’s take a look at expectations. Sometimes we get confused and feel compliments and expectations, if not the same, are at least close cousins. They are actually not even in the same family.
A compliment is “an expression of praise, commendation, or admiration” whereas an expectation is “the act or state of looking forward or anticipating.” (dictionary.com)
Based on these definitions, let’s take a look at how expectations and compliments differ:
1. A compliment is based in the now. An expectation is based in the future.
2. A compliment is based in reality. An expectation is a hope for something that doesn’t yet, and may never, exist.
3. A compliment is meant to make you feel good. An expectation can make you feel inadequate.
4. A compliment is what another person sees in you. An expectation is what they would like to see.
5. A compliment is truth. An expectation is projection.
Take a moment and think about the compliments you have received. Compare them to expectations that have come your way.
Not clear on what an expectation might be? Here are some examples from my life:
- you’re so patient, you should work with the developmentally disabled (I’m not really all that patient)
- you shouldn’t have sex until you’re married (well, that didn’t happen!)
- you’re so good with kids, you’ll make an excellent mother (yes, I’m good with kids, but I decided not to be a mother)
- you’re a good little church girl, maybe you could do missionary work (now I hear “what happened to my good little church girl”)
- you’re tall, you should be good at sports (nope, definitely not!!!)
Now, think about the expectations you’ve heard throughout your life. How do they make you feel? Especially the ones you didn’t live up to? Not nearly as good as the compliments you’ve been accepting, that’s for sure.
Let’s look at how to release expectations in 5 steps:
1. Recognize that they are based on someone else’s filters of the world. Usually an expectation expressed by someone else has to do with how they see the world more than who you are and what you want or what talents/strengths you have.
2. Accept the good intentions of the other person. Expectations aren’t meant to hurt. They are often meant to be helpful or even to inspire. Even if that fails, the good intention was still there.
3. Release any hurts you may have felt from the good, even if misguided, intentions of others. There are many exercises to help with releasing hurts including but not limited to energy work, writing a letter, visualization and more. Here are a couple of resources for you: The Forgiveness Project blog, 5 forgiveness exercises and an article on the power of forgiveness.
4. Create your own expectations – called goals. Look at what is important to you and set goals/intentions for yourself weekly, monthly, yearly. Make them realistic while also pushing your comfort zone. Remember, we often overestimate what we can do in a week and underestimate what we can do in a year. Keep revisiting your goals and modify them on a regular basis.
5. Celebrate your journey. For every step you take, be sure to acknowledge your progress. No step is too small!
Enjoy your journey!
Christie Mawer – The Bad Kitty
Accepting compliments. It seems like a simple thing. Someone says something nice to you, you thank them and enjoy the fact that you’ve been seen and acknowledged. Yet, in our society, we’re taught that we must be “humble” so we have forgotten how to accept compliments just in case we get a big head and become proud.
Hogwash! One of my purposes in life is to get people to accept compliments graciously. Pretending that you aren’t worthy of a compliment doesn’t serve anyone.
Here are the top 3 reasons to accept compliments:
1. It is a gift. When someone takes the time to notice you, it is a little out of the ordinary. Most of us spend a good portion of our waking hours wrapped up in our own thoughts, issues, concerns. A compliment shows that for that moment, the complimentor stepped out of their own hamster wheel in their brains and noticed you. Consider every compliment as a big box wrapped in shiny paper with a big bow. Would you throw that in the garbage? NO! So don’t throw a compliment away by not acknowledging it with a sincere thank you.
2. It allows you to see outside yourself. You, like everyone else, are on a hamster wheel in your head. We spend so much time worrying about how we look, how we will be perceived, whether or not we will be accepted. A compliment shows you that you are beautiful, you are seen in a positive light, you are accepted. Why would you not appreciate that confirmation? Get out of your own stories and criticisms for at least that moment and say thank you!
3. It builds confidence. Allowing yourself to see that what others see may actually be correct builds your sense of self. If you think you are unattractive and someone keeps telling you you’re gorgeous, why argue? If someone tells you you’re talented when you think you don’t measure up, why not accept it? If someone tells you they think you’re amazing, who are you to say that you aren’t?
My challenge to you is:
- Accept compliments graciously. Get in the habit of smiling and saying thank you. Before you know it, you won’t even need to think about it anymore.
- Keep track of the compliments you receive. Get some stickers and keep a notebook. For every compliment you receive – and accept graciously – record it with a sticker. Or get a noise on your phone that you press to reinforce the compliments you’ve received. Be creative! A client of mine used stickers and put them around her mirror. She used to look in the mirror and tear herself down. Now, she says, all she sees is how beautiful she is and how much she is loved.
- Look for patterns. As you start to listen to compliments rather than deflecting them, you’ll start to see patterns. Maybe a certain color or outfit gets more compliments than others. Maybe one thing you do at work is acknowledged more than others. A certain body part might get more notice. Play up these parts of you, be your best, put your best self forward and see how that changes your life and your perception of self.
Have fun accepting compliments! You deserve every single one of them.
Next time we will discuss the difference between compliments and expectations.
Christie Mawer – The Bad Kitty