If only life had a "Like" button
Last night, when I checked into Facebook, I noticed that I had 15 notifications. I thought that especially high considering I'd be online not three hours before. I wondered as I looked at the bright red notification flag what event sparked my suddenly popularity.
Being less than patient most of the time, I clicked on the red flag. Below it were 15 notifications--all but three were comments and "likes" by my mother. I joked with my husband that my childhood might have been much different, and also my adult years, if I'd had a "Like" button for my mother to press to show her pleasure with me. He said I should blog about it. I thought it was silly.
And then, me being me, I thought about it more. And more. And more. And I've decided that humanity often fails each other for lack of clear communication.
My oldest son sat next to me in the 'Burban on the way home from Scouts one night and said, "Well?"
"Well, what?" I asked him.
"You know. You always have something to say. Something we did wrong, something we could do better."
Honestly, that night I had nothing to say critical...but I'll admit that it was an odd occasion. I hate that, but it's the truth. I am extremely critical of everyone, especially myself. (But others don't care that I can pick apart everything good I've done...they only care when I pick apart the good they've done.) And I knew why I was so critical--it was how I grew up. Compliments in my house were always followed by "...but..." or "...did you think of..." or "if". And I knew as a child, I know it too well now, that those words are NEGATIVES. It doesn't matter how great the praise or compliment beforehand, those words NEGATE everything.
I've worked really hard on this. I try to balance when praise is all that's needed and when constructive criticism is more appropriate. It's a terribly thin line dividing the two. And I fail sometimes. But I try. And I'm pretty sure my kids and those around me know too.
But the other part of having a "Like" button is just about breakdown in communication. I remember reading "The Five Love Languages" by Gary Chapman when I first met my husband. He actually encouraged me to read it. It was an easy, helpful read. I discovered things about myself, and I felt equipped to speak the language that my husband understands. This is true about our children, our friends, and our family. We each have different ways we express/give love and receive/feel love. Sometimes they aren't the same even. But when you know what language your SO understands, you can learn it.
And when we learn it and speak it, it's like clicking an imaginary "Like" button. I really need "Like" buttons for my kids...so they know my intent was good even when my words and gestures fail.
If only life had a "Like" button...