Wednesday, April 15, 2009

How We See Ourselves

Yesterday, Lisa from That’s Why mentioned on her blog a book called “The One Question That Can Save Your Marriage.”

And the One Question from the book is (drum roll please)….

What would it be like to be married to you?

Wow. That really made me think.

What must life be like for Iwanski? Yikes.

Now, to be fair, I think I’m a pretty good wife. I’m generally nice to my hubby and do nice things for him like making Lazy Daisy Bars (which he loves) and scratching his back when it’s itchy.

But I’m certainly not perfect. I’m messy and disorganized and not always safety conscious--but the thing I hate the most is when I’m overly critical of him. And sometimes I don’t even realize this until it’s too late—until Iwanski gets upset and tells me to stop criticizing him. And then I feel really bad.

Why is it that we can’t always see ourselves the way we really are?

I remember one time several years ago at work, when my old boss called me on the phone from her office, and I was ignoring her call because I was really busy working on a project. She started to leave me a voice mail, but then instead chose to yell to me, “Carla! Can you come in here for a minute? I have a question.”

Immediately, I got frustrated with her. You see, she had this bad habit of calling me into her office to ask me the same question I’d answered for her 10 times before—and always right when I was in the middle of completing a project for her. It was extremely annoying to me.

So I stormed off into her office, and said, “How am I supposed to get this project done if I keep getting interrupted?” (Luckily, my boss and I had a great working relationship, so I could talk to her that way.)

She ignored my frustration and went ahead and asked me her questions—which, of course, were ones that I’d answered for her 10 times before.

Finally, she finished asking her questions, and I rushed back to my desk.

Right away I noticed that the voice mail light on my phone was blinking, so I went to listen to my messages.

And I was surprised to hear my own voice on the voice mail. Somehow, my boss apparently had never hung up the phone after calling me, so she had inadvertently recorded our whole conversation on my voice mail.

I was stunned. And ashamed. As clear as day, I could hear my own voice—sounding extremely shrill and impatient-- whining at her about being interrupted.

I could not believe how awful I sounded.

And from then on, I vowed to really pay attention to how I was talking to others.

I learned a big lesson that day—no matter how impatient or frustrated you are, it’s never helpful to yell at someone (especially not your boss!).

And believe me, that lesson has REALLY helped me out in my current job in customer service. No matter how impatient I get sometimes with my customers, I always try to keep it in the back of my mind to be kind.

It’s not always easy, but I’d really like to be the kind of person that can look honestly at myself and not cringe in horror.


Mathman6293 said...

You should have heard this morning's conversation. - Tough questions and tough anwers.

Lisa said...

He's not kidding. Aaaaand we video taped all of it so we could see and hear how we sound and look. No unpleasantness, but whoa.

Thank you for the link.

Anita said...

Carla, great post! I too pondered Lisa's post and very honestly said, no, I probably wouldn't want to be married to me every day. I appear together and organized and neat, but the truth is, I'm lazy and self absorbed too often.......thankfully my husband loves me with my faults.....ugh.
I hope no one ever records me when I yell at my kids, I do catch myself and cringe and have flashes of becoming my own mother.........not pretty when angry!
have a good day

sageweb said...

wow great story and so true. I always try to think about how I sound and appear to people I am dealing with..but when impatience and anger get in the way I am blind.

rosemary said...

Good post...and a better message. I know I annoy Steve and my daughter....she tells me; Steve I think is long suffering. I am demanding, bossy, bitchy and cry a lot.....I wouldn't want to be married to me.....might have to ask Steve why he stays or doesn't throw me out.

Sling said...

I don't have to think about it so much.
I already know I'm a miserable S.O.B. when it comes to marriage.

Leah said...

I love myself, but I don't think I could live with myself. I mean, even I want a break from *me* once in a while. I better give my husband a few extra hugs this week...
Great post!!

Random Thinker said...

My poor, poor husband is a long suffering, hell of a man.

Diane said...

Even though reality shows are not always reality I think those that participate in them are very courageous. I would have a difficult time watching myself. Many times people do change after they see and hear how they act. Too bad photos and videos of my FAT self are not enough to help me change my eating habits. LOL!

Maria said...

Wow. Interesting. I was taped once by accident. I was doing some dictation and the phone rang. I thought that I turned off the tape recorder as I answered the phone, but apparently I didn't. I was appalled at how snotty I sounded to Bing (who was the caller.) I was irritated that she hadn't got the laundry done the night before and I sounded like such a bitch. ("It was your turn to do the laundry last night and once again, I didn't have my blue top to wear with my suit and I had to wear the white one that makes me sweat....")

Citymouse said...

I would only want to be married to me for the great sex ---- :)

stephanie (bad mom) said...

I have a little card on the wall in my classroom: It's Happy Bunny saying "Teachers are funny when they yell." It reminds me that when I raise my voice, teenagers will only be thinking of how they're going to tell the hilarious story of my outburst and not whatever it is I'm trying to get across...

Fantastic Forrest said...

Great story, MHP. Wonderful food for thought.

I think just maybe I would not want to be married to me. Must work on that...