Sentences I Hate to Hear
Posted on July 10, 2012 in Fulfillment, Self Improvement by Sandra Bienkowski
I consider myself quite chill. I smile a lot. I roll with things. You will never find me screaming at a gate agent in an airport … or screaming at anyone for that matter. My husband takes longer to order at a restaurant than I do. I know what my opinions are, but I don’t expect the rest of the world to share them. See? I’m rather chill. Chill except for when I hear certain sentences that really get under my skin. Certain words put together annoy me to such an extent I am dedicating this blog to sentences I hate to hear.
You are newlyweds.
When my husband and I talk about how we like to jog together, shop together or plan our weeks together, we often hear, “Well, you are newlyweds.” Grrrrr. Oh, so that means the quality of our marriage is due to its newness? Should we just pack it in because our relationship is bound to plummet the longer we are married? I realize time will have to back me up on this one to convince the cynics, but I know the quality of our relationship is due to the quality of our communication and not its short duration. Check back with us in 10 years. I know we will be the same way. It’s who we are. We talk about things. We discuss the kind of relationship we want to have. We are open about what irritates us and how we can fix those things, as well as what we love about each other. We don’t avoid any topics. We both want a happy, fun and tension-free home and relationship, so that’s what we create. In fact, as I was writing this blog, my husband popped into my home office and handed me an article on how successful relationships have a lot to do with the level of empathy on both sides, and then he told me he’s so grateful he found me. The quality of our relationship has zero to do with its newness and everything to do with the effort we put toward it.
You don’t have kids.
People actually say this to my husband and me as some sort of (weird) explanation as to why we are happy. It’s such a bizarre thing to say. (First, my husband does have kids, they just happen to be grown.) Second, I thought people have kids to enhance their families and happiness?
When we talk to people about how we love the flexibility of our entrepreneurial lifestyle, taking trips, and scheduling fun events on weekends, the response is often, “Well, you don’t have kids.” How do they expect me to respond? “Oh yes, you are right. If we had kids we probably wouldn’t have a life at all.” I get that life changes dramatically with children, but life doesn’t have to suspend. If we had kids together I guarantee we’d still pull out our calendars and plan our fun. We’d sync up our schedules so we could coordinate some future trips. I guarantee we wouldn’t use our kids as some excuse for why our lives are on hold. I know plenty of parents of young kids who have totally rich, fulfilling lives. (Isn’t that the kind of example you’d want to set for your kids anyway?) Plus, there are plenty of people without kids who let their lives unfold on a couch in front of a TV. The type of life you live is due to your mindset and your daily choices, not the number of heartbeats inside your home.
You are lucky.
Whether it’s the joyful story of how I found and reunited with my birth family, how I work for myself, or my bubbly happiness, many people have told me I’m lucky. I cringe when I hear it. Telling someone they are lucky is the equivalent of telling someone they aren’t responsible for their circumstances. I can’t recall a time when I have ever told anyone they are lucky because it’s not giving credit where credit is due. The blessings in my life aren’t the result of magic universe fairy dust, but hard work. During the years I procrastinated on my search for my birth mom, nothing happened. When I got frustrated with my inaction and got serious, it took months of phone calls, letters and research to find my amazing birth family. I promise you luck had nothing to do with it.
I even worked hard for my happiness, putting myself in therapy at a young age so I could learn the tools to dig myself out of depression. Telling me I am lucky discounts the effort I put into making my life the way it is today. While I don’t expect people to know my past, I do expect people not to make ridiculous assumptions by telling me I’m lucky.
I think the undercurrent of these annoying sentences is a victim mentality. Many people believe life happens to them and they often blame external circumstances for what they lack. I learned firsthand how much you can change your life by managing and directing your thoughts and actions. Fulfilling lives aren’t reserved for newlyweds, couples without kids or the lucky—they happen when you get clear on what a fulfilling life looks like to you, and then you chase it down and make it happen.