Wednesday, March 2, 2011

A hard thing to say to yourself...

Well I guess there are lots of hard things to say to oneself since it is most difficult sometimes to be honest with ourselves, but my title here refers to the words, "I'm Proud of You!"
It's not something I think or say to myself often, but in an effort to think more positively I've thought about it a lot lately.
One of MamaKat's writing prompts a week or so ago was titled, "lesson learned." So I have spent some time thinking on that, even though I didn't write on it. There is also a Carrie Underwood song called Lessons Learned. I am grateful that in most cases I learn a lesson from a rough experience and try not to repeat it.  So that leads me to my story...
Some of you know I have a home based party business.  In a lot of ways, it's changed my life and it's changed me for the better.  I have experienced so much personal growth through the experience that I cannot imagine ever NOT doing it.  It helps me feel fulfilled on top of all the other things I have going on as a wife, mother, soccer mom, student, daughter, sister, friend.
A few years ago a new representative moved into the area and began attending the same monthly meetings I went to.  The first time I met her we immediately hit it off and became fast friends.  We started talking daily, our kids were playing together, and we just hung out A LOT! It was a new experience for me since I rarely have that gal-pal that I refer to as a "best friend."  You've heard me say (or read where I've said) I'm that chick who has one or two good friends, but never this huge pool of confidants.
As I started to get to know this girl, I'll call her Kasey, I began to realize she wasn't as perfect as I thought.  For example, she really treated her husband very poorly.  I mean just totally did and said everything a wife shouldn't say if she wants the hubby to stick around!  In addition to that, I started to realize Kasey was very self-centered; everything, I mean EVERYTHING, was about her.  She could take something someone said and turn it into something about her when anyone else could plainly see otherwise.
Instead of dwelling on this, I really tried to be a good friend; I tried to help her.  I sort of took her under my wing business-wise, treating her like a new member of my team.  I spent time giving her business advice, training her, and giving her the same attention a new rep. on my team would get from me, only there was really no benefit to me.  BUT there was.  It felt good to help someone else and have them come back and say, "I tried what you said and it worked!" That was it- my only motivation and the fact that she was my friend and I wanted her to be successful. She was also very grateful and complimented me often on the way I conducted my business.  She told me I was a hard-worker and that I deserved all the good that came my way, plus some.
So anyway, time goes by, our friendship surpassed the year mark.  Kasey told me one day that she was going to have to put her youngest child into daycare and seek full time employment.  She seemed pretty upbeat about it, but concerned about some debt she and her husband had to pay off.  Her words were something to the effect that she felt lucky to have been a stay-at-home Mom for 18 months, but now her family needed her to work.  I asked her where that would leave her party business and her reply was that she would still continue it.
One day shortly after this,  I had to call Kasey with an uncomfortable topic of conversation.  At a recent party of my own, I had met a new party host.  For two weeks or more, I planned this new host's party with her; I gave her the usual tips and asked the usual questions.  About a week before her planned party, she called to say she was ready to sign up- she wanted to join my team.  I continued to help her plan for a successful party and in a few more days she confessed to me she knew another rep. from my company.  What do you know- it was Kasey!? It turns out Kasey met this host at a vendor fair a few months earlier and knew she might want to host a party.  So Kasey proceeded to call this lady EVERY day, or almost everyday trying to get her to schedule.  I'm not sure why Kasey did this because I don't conduct my business so that I bug the heck out of anyone and I never suggest to any of my team members that they do that either!
But anyway, this host didn't schedule a party with Kasey because she felt pushed.  I legitimately met her at a party she attended with a friend and she decided to host because she really wanted a product on sale for hosts the next month.
When I told Kasey about this host, I held back the part where the host said she felt pushed because I didn't want to hurt Kasey's feelings.   I was very honest otherwise.  I told her exactly when I met this person, how long we'd been planning the party, and that the host waited until the previous day to tell me she knew Kasey.
I'm sure you can guess what came next...Kasey went nuts! She told me I was conniving and that it was obvious I would do anything to get ahead in this business including stepping on others!
So here's what I'm proud of about the way I handled this:

When we hung up, I never reached out to her again.  I think she knew she was one of few good friends for me.  I think she thought I would apologize and "beg her back" even though I hadn't done anything wrong.  But I didn't, and I'm proud of that.
A week or two later, there was a message on my voicemail with an apology from her accepting full responsibility for what happened. I'm not sure I believed her.  She had plenty of friends, she didn't need me, and to be honest, I didn't want to reconvene our friendship constantly wondering when it would happen again.
While I lost a friend, I learned some valuable lessons.  It might have been my first lesson in what grace really means when extended from one person to another.  I did extend her grace, though she didn't deserve it.  I don't say that to brag, but I am proud.  I'm proud that I did what was right even when she tried to make it wrong.  I'm proud that I didn't sacrifice myself to return to a toxic friendship.  I'm proud that I treated her kindly when I could have yelled back.
Part of the definition of grace includes the word "undeserved." God extended it to us through his son and I really want to better extend it to everyone I come into contact with.  Mostly, I want to show grace to my loved ones everyday, because they DO deserve it!

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