If you haven’t read Grace for the Good Girl and you plan to skip this post because I’m going to spoil chapter eight for you.
This week Emily asked: “I shared the story of the little girl who had to choose between the pencils or the activity book. Which would you choose? Why are you so afraid to discover what you really want?”
First, I’ll briefly explain the story. The little girl was in a bookstore with her father holding two things, an activity book and a set of glittery princess pencils. Her father told her she could only have one and asked her to choose. When the little girl asked which she should choose her father repeatedly said it was her choice and listed the pros of each chose weighing heavily in favor of the more practical activity book.
At this point in the story I knew exactly what I’d have chosen. Daddy thinks the activity book is better [gold star for me for realizing that] I’m going to choose the activity book [another gold star for doing the right thing].
And then the activity book will sit untouched on a shelf. And I’ll be reminded about 10 times a day how much I would have loved those pencils. How I could have used them so many times. And I’ll be a little disappointed, but I’ll pat myself on the back for having made the “right” choice.
And then someone will comment about how the money was “wasted” on the activity book, because I never use it anyway. And I’ll be devastated. Because I don’t like it as much as I should [and there for I’m bad/not good enough]. Because I haven’t used it as much as I should [and I’ve done something wrong/been ungrateful].
The next time I’m given a choice I still won’t choose what I want AND I’ll have more anxiety over the choice. I might even insist that really, Daddy you don’t have to buy me anything. I’m fine without either, I promise.
You know it’s terribly disappointing to know that I have such a hard time articulating what I want. As someone who believe so strongly in creating happiness in your life you would think it’s easy for me to say what will make me happy.It’s not.
Because I’ve given you a large chunk of my happiness. I’ve decided that in order to be happy you have to believe I’ve done the right thing. You have to decide that I deserve to be happy. And even if you’ve done all that – I have to believe you when you say “good job” or when you don’t say anything at all.
That’s an unfair amount of pressure on you. And I don’t even tell you that you have all this responsibility! So how about I do a bit more making myself happy. How about I say what I want and need loudly and clearly and I worry a bit less about whether that is the right thing to want or need, because really there is no right way to feel, there’s just how I’m feeling.
So…would you choose the pencils or the activitybook?