"There is a crack in everything,
That's how the light gets in," Leonard Cohen.
This month, I'm taking part in Hannah Marcotti's Community Grace program and one of our prompts is to look at our correspondance to find words that other people have said about us, about the work we do. ***Tough one***
I've delayed doing this prompt because it's really making me feel uncomfortable. Culturally, I think French people are raised to disregard positive feedback. We always focus on what could be improved only. Why would we focus on what's already working? I remember when I taught in the US, it's the first thing my supervisor tried to teach me: focus first on giving positive feedback and keep a little bit of what could be improved for the end... To me, I was doing things in reverse. It took me a while to learn to speak like that. Still, going over my messages, emails and stuff to find positive things about me from people I know is close to being excruciating...
But let's give it a try...
She said... Having that one conversation with you turned things around for me... You were right, I have every reason in the world to feel confident about myself. Thank you so much!
He said... I remembered one of your sentences and my panic attack just vanished. (Apparently, I said something like, "Always look at the light, even if it's just at the flame of a candle"). He lit a candle and it did the trick. His anguish dissolved.
She said... You reconciled me with learning English. You're the best English teacher I've had in 5 years. You make it so much fun, it's hard not to like it!
She said... You've inspired me to pick up my camera again.
She said... Your words inspired me to write again. I want to work on the novel I shelved 10 years ago.
She said... You make my heart smile.
He said... You inspire me to become a better person.
He said... At least, with you, we'll know we'll have a real class and work!
They said... I can tell you things I cannot tell anyone else.
He said... The fact that you listen to me and do not judge or reject me helps me tremendously. Sometimes, it takes me a while to take in what you say, but you always make me think.
He said... You're the only meaningful relationship I've ever had.
Alright, I'll stop here... It makes me want to cry. I'm grateful for the people I've met and who made me who I am today.
Now that I've re-read those passages, I'm realizing that every time I hear a compliment or something positive, I tend to pretend I didn't hear it. I feel too embarrassed to say anything in return (that's when I stare at my shoes, red as a tomato, and mutter something no one can hear). I need to change that. I need to learn to receive. Giving is natural to me (I'm a cancer! A natural nurturer), but I need to be fairer and learn to receive as easily as I give. At least, that would be fair to what people express. Expressing gratitude and saying something meaningfully positive is not easy, receiving it is part of learning how to connect wholeheartedly. It's a flow of love that goes back and forth. Why be unable to take it for what it is? I love prompts that make me shift... Thank you Hannah! You always lead me to those dark corners I usually carefully avoid...