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How to Be a Gracious Gift Recipient — even if you don’t like the gift!

Have you ever received a completely TERRIBLE gift? One that seemed like it MUST have been intended for someone else? How could they POSSIBLY know you and think you would like that gift? How we respond, however, can make a HUGE difference in our relationships. And some of us have to LEARN how to receive gifts graciously! Let’s figure out how…

I mentioned in The Ultimate Holiday Gift Guide for Every Personality that I really struggle with receiving gifts, and how often I have been scolded for my less-than-gracious responses to gifts over the years. So, let me tell you about the Christmas I broke my mother’s heart and what I learned from that horrible day… Read More

As a former University Resident Director, Career Counselor, Certified Personality Trainer, and high school Spanish teacher, Laura has quite the “scattered” background — with one underlying theme: education! She writes to teach and inspire women on topics related to faith, family, and lifework. She is also a resume writer, specializing in resumes for moms, career changers, and new graduates.

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Confessions of an Incurable Melancholy: Ambushed by Good Intentions

Once we announced we were expecting our first baby, it started. Well-meaning women (and men, at times) would stop me in the hallway or pop in to my office and ask, in that sing-song voice I’ve come to despise, “Soooooo… How are you feeeeeling???”

People who have not talked to me in years all of a sudden come out of the woodwork wanting to know all the personal details of my pregnancy. I’m almost dreading the day I begin actually showing because I know everyone will think my belly is public property and can by fondled at any moment they choose.

Adjusting to my new role

As a Melancholy/Choleric, I am generally comfortable staying mostly in the background, quietly running the show. For the most part, people leave me alone and just let me do my thing, which is great by me. But now, all of a sudden I’m on everyone’s radar. If I enter a building, every woman within a 50’ radius knows and comes running to see how I’m “feeeeeling,” and there is no sneaking quietly in and out of meetings. It’s like I have a flashing neon sign floating above my head at all times declaring, “Pregnant woman here! Stop what you’re doing and come talk to me!”

I don’t generally like being the center of attention anyway, so I am becoming increasingly frustrated and agitated by all the interest I’m suddenly receiving. All these lovely, outgoing people simply want to celebrate with me and love on me, but I interpret the constant attention as bombardment and bothering. After several weeks of trying to hide and avoid people as much as possible, I’ve finally figured out the problem:

Remembering emotional needs is key

As a Melancholy, my most important emotional needs are support, sensitivity, space, and silence. However, I work with a lot of Sanguine people, whose emotional needs are attention, affection, appreciation, and approval. So, when all these dear Sanguines are attacking and fawning over me, they believe they’re giving me what I need, which in their minds is the same thing they would want in my situation: attention and affection. However, the Golden Rule only goes so far, and definitely should not be applied when deciding how to best support and love on someone of a different personality type. Doing unto a Melancholy as you would do unto a Sanguine, just doesn’t work. The heart is in the right place, but the actions don’t translate well.

In order to best support me as a Melancholy, I need the people around me to give me space to be my introverted self, silence to process new information and still get my work done (SURPRISE! Work doesn’t stop just because I’m running to the bathroom every 15 minutes), support when I bring an issue to their attention, and sensitivity to the fact that all this is completely new and slightly overwhelming for me, which means I need even more space and silence to process the newness of it all – a completely foreign concept to most Sanguines who don’t tend to know what they’re thinking until they hear themselves say it out loud and NEED people around to help them process.  

My needs are not the same as your needs

The other piece of this puzzle is that while Sanguines want to tell everyone their exciting news and have a hard time keeping a secret, we Melancholies only want to share our innermost thoughts and secrets with our closest friends. Sanguines will talk to a fence post, but Melancholies have to establish a level of trust and respect with someone before they’re really allowed to see the messiness and excitement of our lives.

I don’t mind talking about the baby or how I’m doing with my best friends or others who have been actively involved in my life before a baby entered the picture. When someone who has been solely an acquaintance and has shown little interest in my life up to this point, all of a sudden is asking a bzillion questions and wanting to know everything about the baby and my birthing preferences, I feel used. You didn’t care about me before, but you care about me now just because I’m pregnant? No, I don’t think so.

Just because I’m having a baby doesn’t mean I’m going to trust everyone with the thoughts and experiences that are closest to my heart anymore than I used to. Please don’t expect me to share openly with you – and don’t be offended if I don’t – if you have not been an important part of my daily life before now.

I’m not intending to be harsh

I realize this post may come across as harsh, but my intent is mostly to help my well-meaning acquaintances and coworkers understand where I’m coming from, why I can seem withdrawn and anti-social, and what they can do to help me feel more comfortable in this new stage of life. I do believe most people are genuinely excited and innocently nosey, but if they really want to support us Melancholies well as we usher life into this world, they need to understand the our unique emotional needs and how to adjust their approach so we won’t feel assaulted by their good intentions.

I hope it helps!

Question for you, readers: Are there any other Melancholies out there who have felt similarly overwhelmed once everyone found out you were expecting? How did you handle it? Any tips would be much appreciated from the Melancholy population out there!

As a former University Resident Director, Career Counselor, Certified Personality Trainer, and high school Spanish teacher, Laura has quite the “scattered” background — with one underlying theme: education! She writes to teach and inspire women on topics related to faith, family, and lifework. She is also a resume writer, specializing in resumes for moms, career changers, and new graduates.

Whitewashed Tombs

 

 

 

“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean. Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean. In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.”
Matthew 23:25-28 
“I just want it clean, okay?”
I slammed the used micro-fiber cloth into the laundry basket, frustrated with Erik for not understanding the importance of having a spotless house when our guests arrived.

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As a former University Resident Director, Career Counselor, Certified Personality Trainer, and high school Spanish teacher, Laura has quite the “scattered” background — with one underlying theme: education! She writes to teach and inspire women on topics related to faith, family, and lifework. She is also a resume writer, specializing in resumes for moms, career changers, and new graduates.

Confessions of an Incurable Melancholy: Schedules, Sickness, & Sabbaths

** After one very long fall of repeat illnesses, I realized it was time for a refresher course on preventative maintenance for this Incurable Melancholy. Enjoy this re-post of an old blog entry as I remind all of us to take better care of ourselves heading into the holiday season.**

For weeks now, I had been getting sick. For most people, getting sick is a pretty quick process, but for a Melancholy-Choleric, getting sick doesn’t fit into our schedules, so we just don’t allow our bodies to break down like they’re threatening to do. I sucked on elderberry lozenges like hard candy, and I took up drinking Echinacea tea (though I typically loathe the taste of “dead leaves in water”) solely for the purpose of staying as well as possible. You see, I had four major vocal events to get through that December, and I simply didn’t have time to be sick in bed or lose my voice, so I did anything and everything I could think of to not do so.

The week leading up to this last performance – singing two rather out-of-my-range songs for my cousin’s New Year’s Eve wedding – I had been coughing more frequently and feeling more and more tired. But, I had no time for that nonsense, so I chugged more tea, popped more Echinacea pills, and sucked more elderberry lozenges.

I made it through, but barely.

During the reception, I began to feel wimpy again, but I still had to get home before I could really allow myself to fall apart.

On the drive back to Texas, I gulped down coke after coke in my attempts to keep my puny, exhausted body awake and alert, and I was ever so thankful that a friend called to talk with me for an hour or more on the tail end of the trip.

I kept thinking that if I could just make it home, I could have two entire days to be sick before I was needed anywhere again.

Finally, I did make it home, and after unloading the car, I nearly collapsed onto my bed. I turned off my alarm, took the prescription, knock-me-out cough syrup I keep on hand for these lovely occasions, and determined to spend the entirety of the next day in bed.

This part is where I had to laugh at myself: I had consciously scheduled a day to be sick.

Only a Melancholy-Choleric would be so determined to be in control that she would choose her preferred day to fall ill and do whatever it took to follow the plan. What a mess I am!

As I learned on that long ago trip, we HAVE to learn how to take care of ourselves — even when we think we don’t have the time.  The takeaway point here is that if you don’t have time in your schedule to be sick, then you had better schedule time to prevent it!

The problem had been that I had allowed myself to get run down. I had been super stressed for weeks, then had been with family and friends nonstop since arriving at my childhood home a few days before Christmas. While I had hidden away for short periods of time while I was there, none of those times had been substantial enough to be truly refreshing for this introvert. On top of being physically run down from fighting sickness for so long, I was also mentally and emotionally exhausted from lack of “me time.” I needed to schedule that day alone to do nothing but spend time with God and allow Him to refresh me mind, body, and soul.

No doubt it is for this reason that God instituted the Sabbath, a day of rest, for His people. He knew we needed that downtime to stay healthy in all aspects. As God knew, I hadn’t really given myself a Sabbath in weeks, and my body was showing the signs of this neglect. Thankfully, He also saw fit to lead me to a place where I had no choice but to rest in Him and just stop for a good long while.

As I begin to heal from my illness and be restored in both heart and mind, I pray that I will take note of this lesson: Observe the Sabbath! Schedule thy day of rest! And live well without interruption from needless exhaustion and sickness!

HEAR, HEAR!

As a former University Resident Director, Career Counselor, Certified Personality Trainer, and high school Spanish teacher, Laura has quite the “scattered” background — with one underlying theme: education! She writes to teach and inspire women on topics related to faith, family, and lifework. She is also a resume writer, specializing in resumes for moms, career changers, and new graduates.