I’m analytical by nature and my own worst critic. Sometimes it’s okay, everyone needs a good dose of reality now and then; but sometimes it can go too far. In these moments where I can’t find any mercy for myself, I’ve started to tell myself what I think that Colin would say to me. He was always more gracious than I.
Through this I have realized something, one of my least favourite character traits has turned out to be an asset. It kills me to give mention of this horrible flaw, but even in doing so I know it proves my point.
For as far back as I can remember, I have desperately needed the approval of others. Mostly of authority or those that I respect, but I can’t say that desire always excludes all others. It started with my parents and brothers, blossomed greatly with my teachers, and was cemented with all my employers and bosses. I craved the joy of anticipating a need, or exceeding anyone’s expectations. In essence making others happy makes me happy, but it is so much more selfish than it sounds. I also do whatever it takes to make sure I leave a good impression. Which has become so confusing for me. I have a hard time knowing the difference between what I actually want or what I think I need.
Ironically, Colin with his incredible authenticity, didn’t really care. He did care about people and what they thought, but he would not apologize for what he set his mind to. I think because of that it was easy for me to want what he wanted. He was so confident in his passions that it was natural to hop on for the ride. Especially for someone who is scared to commit to something on their own. Pursuing my own designs has always left me feeling too vulnerable.
And although Colin never understood my need for approval, he told me many times that this flaw made me the perfect wife and mother. He had complete confidence that no matter what, I would always choose him and his kids, always put them first. He was right. I really have nothing else, nothing that is just me or mine. My world was Colin and our children.
And in these last few months, any time I have been tempted to run, to give up, to jump off the deep end, I can’t. I think of what others would say about me, I think of what Colin would say to me, and I think of what my boys can’t even express yet. And those three things keep me making the right decisions. They keep me from making bad choices.
And though I pray that one day other people’s approval wouldn’t be my motivation, for now I am grateful that my weakness can be used for strength. If you asked me, I honestly believe that this will always be my battle this side of eternity; if you asked Colin he would probably be a lot more gracious.