Our differences are what makes us special. We should embrace them rather than be ashamed. Sometimes the gifts we want the most bring pain because insecurities get in the way.
One Christmas, I admired a pair of expensive boots in the JC Penney catalog. I stared at those boots and convinced my mom that was my number one wish on my list so my mom bought me those boots. I imagined how stylish my peers would find me when I showed up at school wearing my beautiful boots. However, my daydreams didn’t turn out the way I anticipated. Instead some popular girls didn’t like my boots. Rather than chalk it up to a difference in taste, I became embarrassed of my treasured gift and hid them in the closet.
I remember my mom asking me later if I was going to wear the boots which were still new and unscuffed. I told her no, so she gave them away. The sad thing of it is, years later, I think about those boots and what a shame it was that I lacked the confidence to flaunt my own style. I also feel bad because my parents wasted their time and hard earned money on that gift for me—a gift I wanted but was too insecure to use.
Others must like different styles, otherwise, why are there so many options to choose from?
Even now, I fail when I let the opinions and impressions of others sway my decisions. It makes me angry with myself and sad.
Since we cannot shield our children from all negative influences, I pray for their confidence and courage. I want them to embrace their own style, their own interests, likes, dislikes. It is fine to choose a different option. We may choose to wear a dress when everyone else is in jeans, for example. Each of us is unique. It is normal to write our own story, march to a different drumbeat, sing a different tune.
Because of this experience, I ask questions. I’ve become wiser in my shopping over the years, as well. Buying certain toys, even if coveted, may be just a waste of money. They break the first day. The child discovers the marketing gimmick didn’t live up to its promises. The item is a constant companion for a week or so and then sits on the shelf or in the back of the closet. Wanting something simply because someone else wants it or has it shouts “be cautious” to me. If someone wants something expensive, she must explain why it is important.
I know how I feel when a gift doesn’t get used. I imagine the hurt I caused by my weakness over those boots. My mom never said anything, but I bet she wondered what happened.
Buying gifts takes so much thought and time, not to mention money. As the giver, we hope to bring joy and see use of the gift for a long time. We don’t want the receiver disappointed or sad.
I suppose I shall have to explain this haunting story to my mom so I can let it go. How long does one mourn a pair of boots which were lost over something as foolish as caring about the fickle opinions of others? Learn a lesson from my story—embrace who you are. Wear the boots!
Did you ever have a similar experience?