The Southern Belle Primer

Why do you care what other people think of you? As a recovering people-pleaser I’ve been asked that question a lot. The first thought that comes to mind is the admonition from my mother that I must always wear clean underwear. That way the paramedics and nurses won’t think less of me if I’m in a car accident.

Someone reading this just smiled because his/her mother told them the same thing. I mean, “Huh?” If my underwear isn’t clean the hospital staff will not treat me? Really?

Many of us were taught to live our lives giving great regard to how we would appear to others. I remember being in a training class with a woman from the south. She was constantly telling us that various parts of her life simply must happen as planned and in a specified order. There was no compromise in these instances for her. If presented with options she would often decline; her mother simply wouldn’t hear of it, she said. I asked her, quite off the cuff, if she had a manual for all these rules.

To my surprise she brightened and said, “Oh, yes! Momma Steel_Magnolias_33462_Mediumgave me The Southern Belle Primer as soon as I had my comin’ out!” I, of course, thought she was pulling my leg. The next day she brought it in! Every chapter was chocked full of the right kind of silverware and china one must have; how to select a party planner; what one should and should not wear, as well as when and where; and, the importance of knowing who your “people” are.

Most of us didn’t grow up with a manual like this, but I’m guessing almost everyone can point to the un-written rules of their own family. I was outspoken as a child – no surprise there – and was told numerous times that a young boy or young man shouldn’t be talking about certain subjects. I couldn’t figure out why, but apparently my intention to be informative and logical only branded me as a precocious smart-ass.

It was Terry Cole-Whittaker who wrote about how we allow the opinions of others to affect our lives in, What You Think of Me Is None of My Business. The application of that statement, however, can be a challenge at best.

We don’t have to be outrageous, rebellious or totally out of synch with the rest of our community to be ourselves. But we are each individual, precious beings expressing Spirit in our own unique way. Each of us have a special gift to give to the world. When we allow societal or familial rules, many outdated for our twenty-first century, to become the only guide to our major decisions and lives we deprive our planet of who we are.

This week be you. Not because you want to stand out, or feel special, or for any other reason other than being determined to express your truth spirit. We await your entrance!

In Spirit, Truth and Playfulness,

Terry

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