Protecting My Yum

Yesterday I came home from a meeting to find that everyone on the planet had emailed me during the hour and a half that I was away from my desk.  During the frantic responding to the emails, I came across one that was too good to be read in that chaotic moment.  You know those emails.  You see the sender, you see the subject, you may even see the first sentence or two, and you immediately know that you should wait to read the entire contents until you can savor the moment.

After firing off a few explanations in response to client questions, the phone rang.  It was my husband calling to find out how my meeting had gone, but instead of responding I said, “Wait, there is an email I need to read and I want to read it with you.”

He listened while I read through it, jumping up and down in my chair and curling my toes.  And then he responded with, “That’s great…” followed by a list of concerns, cons with few pros, careful analysis.

To be fair, I am the keeper of the emotions in our family.  My husband, an analyst by nature and by trade.  I take his gift for granted at key times in our marriage, allowing my brain to drift to more interesting topics such as what flowers I’d like to plant this spring or what ride I’m going to run to first during our next Disney trip while he takes in important details regarding our finances, home mortgage, insurance.

But in the moments when what I really wish for is someone to mirror my emotions back to me and share my joy?  Well, I’m left with someone who unintentionally yucks my yum.

I felt a bit down the rest of the afternoon, responded to the email with little enthusiasm.

This morning I woke up refreshed – Friday! – and headed to the shower with a guest post idea in my head.  As I enjoyed the steaming hot water, the post wrote itself in my mind, and I quickly darted out of the bathroom and to my desk.  Ten minutes later, it was done.  Written and revised.  I read it to my telecommuting husband who laughed out loud at just the right moments and kissed the top of my head on his way to begin work.  Success!  Now to wait on the recipient of the guest post to wake up and check email.

Again, I bounced around my office with excitement.  I had enjoyed everything about writing this piece from its conception to its completion.  I was pleased with myself, proud.

But when the recipient appeared on social media a couple hours later, I was met with an overtired, overworked, not terribly interested in reading what I had to say at this moment friend.  Sad, I walked away from the computer.

Bubble burst.

The need for outside approval is nothing new and not unique to me.  Those of us who blog are perhaps among the most afflicted with this disease, able to see on the screen before us how many people have visited our site, how long they have stayed, if they’ve returned.  We’ve all opened our hearts onto a page only to have that same heart ripped out by these three painful words: “No Comments Yet.”  We are an instant gratification society, over-sharers who receive immediate feedback to our every thought.

Two days.  Two fantastic moments filled with positive feelings.  Two let-downs because I (to be clear…ME) chose to make the reactions of others more important than my own, to give more importance to how they appeared to feel about my work than how I felt.

I know there’s no easy fix for this, and I’ll likely spend my entire life working on this glitch in my internal code.  I also know I’ve made incredible progress and erected some great emotional boundaries, with more being built as I write this.  In the meantime, I’m going to bask in the glow of a wonderful week and vow to work harder to protect my own yum.

I am forever indebted to my awesome friend Jodifur for giving me the phrase that inspired the title of this post. 

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  • Well, to be fair, that phrase comes my awesome friend Shana, who is also a rabbi, and one of the wisest people I know.

  • I also may have just emailed this to her.

  • I SO get this. My husband is your husband. I am you. You’d think after 15 years, I’d know not to hope for the “cartwheel response” {he always says, “What do you want from me? Carwheels?”… um, yes.} And, while I am so grateful for his brain {thanks to him we have a retirement and not a collection of shoes}, I would love some giddiness every now and then.

    I’ve found other people I can count on to get excited. Fortunately, Fran is a great business partner and revels in my excitement. Laurie Turk and Stefanie Mullen are 2 of my favorite people to call. Genuinely happy for my excitement. They truly save me!

    • Our husbands could all hang out together 🙂 Mine is the same way. Sometimes he gets excited – other times I get a ‘great’ and a similar ‘cartwheel’ question. But he is fiscally responsible to a fault 🙂 Which does also mean we are well taken care of – and I too, do not have an enviable collection of shoes.

      But having friends who will share my joy – and TRULY share it – makes it ok. AND, I am learning to allow my joy to settle in to my own bones before I share it so that I don’t allow my expectations of others’ reactions to impact how I feel. It takes work…. – a lot of it. And I trust it always will.

  • This has been a phrase in my homeschool group for years. I can’t remember who first said it, but I’ve always loved the way it sums up a Debbie Downer.

    I’m naturally an optimist. I really appreciate the grounded nature of my husband and some of my friends. They keep me from bouncing all over. But sometimes you just want everyone to run around in a circle and wave their arms in the air with you.

  • I soooo get this. I feel like I spent the first 35 years of my life trying to please everyone, so I’m now going to work for 35 years trying to please myself! It’s a huge process and mind shift.

    But I have to say CONGRATS on this fabulous post, and your two achievements this week. Although you were not trying for it, I am yumming along with ya.

  • So true! My husband is my editor, cheerleader, and coach but I try to remember that I’m the one writing. You’re right, often as a blogger it can feel like you’re a party of one! I’m going to keep protecting my yum – thanks for the inspiration!

  • I can totally relate to this post!!! xo

  • Janet

    Amy, you are human and thus are entitled to feel the way that you do. You are also not alone in this regard. We all have people in our lives who sometimes muck up our yums. That’s okay because they’re human too.

    I loved your post. It was yum-my! 😉

  • It’s Ok it happens to everyone 🙂 It’s great to get excited. So many times I’ll share with my husband new clients, or a cool ad that was requested or a great opportunity and he says, is that why the house is a mess? Most of the time he’s joking but I just shrug it off.