Tuesday, August 2, 2011

...and you'll like it...

This post is, in part, inspired by the comments and post over at Emerging From Broken, and in part by the lessons that never stuck from when I was a kid...

I can remember, so very clearly, do this and like it.  It didn't really matter if you actually liked, disliked, loathed or were indifferent.  You had to like it.  You were obligated as a member of the family to like it. Paste on the smile, pour out the right words, clutch, cling and freaking make everyone around you happy because you were being obedient.  This isn't a polite, Thanks Nanny for the great sweater when it is a terrible crime against yarn.  This is liking what they liked for you to like and you had no say.  Less because you had no choice!

You are going to do what we say and like it. There was an expectation that their expectations were enough.  My thoughts and feelings on liking something, being happy about something or enjoying something were irrelevant.  They were useless, and unwanted. 

They could even be embarrassing!  Or worse, they could be unpopular with everyone else.  

You'll like it because if you don't there will be hell to pay! You'll be happy and smile like a gargoyle on a church and like it.

It wasn't good enough to like something just because you liked it!  You had to like  something they did.  Choices were not your own.  You only got to own mistakes, never successes.  You didn't get to love what you loved because you loved it.  You couldn't really be happy just because.

How absurd!  How devaluing and controlling!  How hard is it to learn that when you are an adult?  It is pretty challenging to figure out what you really like.  To seek and find what really makes you happy.  And not quiver in fear because it might not be what someone else wants!

Even now, after a few miles down the healing road, it is hard to say, "I'm doing this because it makes me happy!" or to share "I could be the only one here, but I like this!"  Not asking permission for joy, for liking something or for disliking it is so freeing!  So validating to make your own choice.  Yeah that brand of cookies is super! or nope I just cannot stand that color of shirt!

The removal of obligation from my choices was not just having windows opened!  It was more like having a chainsaw and being able to cut your own windows!  I could pick my windows, pick my spot, cut my holes and breathe! Breathe!

Like what you like! Be happy with what makes you happy!  Seek joy.  Share laughter. Tell that child inside that it is okay to come out and play! It is safe to eat peas from the garden, to run through the sprinkler, to not wear make up and to run around barefoot!  It is okay to play with your pasta and just sit and watch a butterfly.

Try it, this time I promise if you give it a chance you'll find you like it!


  1. Totally relate to this. Do it and like it. Although, I do jokingly tell my kids that :) But yes, we were not allowed to be unhappy, cry, dislike something we disliked etc.

  2. Mel - thanks for coming by. I jokingly tell people that too, but it is because I know good quality chocolate is very good and they would like it! haha...But when we are not allowed to find out those things on our own then it's not good.

  3. I had forgotton that I was told "you will do it and you will like it" and it was the voice infliction that makes the difference. The way that it is said is what was so "wrong" and hurtful.
    Thanks for refering to my blog post too Shanyn. This is a great post.
    Hugs, Darlene

  4. I read this and i liked it.... My choice not someone told me.
    I can relate to everything you said in your post! Thank you for sharing

  5. Darlene - thanks for coming by...and that inflection of voice makes all the difference. It can be dominating or it can be encouraging. And too often it is demeaning. You inspire me lots so it is an honour to link back to you.

    Touched 2 My Soul - thanks for coming by and commenting. Love how you worded your first line of comment, brought a smile to my face.