March 4, 2012

Two Words

I know we all have them!  That one deep dark flaw we just can't overcome.  I'm not talking about something trivial like chomping your food or biting your fingernails.  That does not even come close to my most loathed personal character flaw that I am about to reveal.

Why I would be so inclined to talk about something so personal...something that I genuinely cannot stand about myself?  It does seem kinda crazy, but I believe that sometimes being completely open and honest can bring about greater change than hiding things away in secret.

Just to show my "theory" in action, I'll share a little of my upbringing.  Because of a series of events that would take way too long to explain, both my siblings ended up living outside my single mothers home.  From the time I was in 6th or 7th grade I was basically an only child.  Our family was constantly under the scrutinizing eye of others, and because of this we chose to be very closed off and private about our lives.  I got used to not talking about anything that went on at home.  Normally teenagers rant about how unfair their parents are or arguments they had, but for me I worried that anything I said would be to our detriment.  What I didn't realize is that I was creating a very lonely and depressing barrier between myself and others.  It brought me down big time.

It wasn't until I went to college and had the best roommates ever that I learned to be open and share what was going on in my life.  I learned that I could be real, that I would still be loved, and that my trials became a lot more manageable because I didn't feel isolated and alone.

This isn't even the whole crew.   We still love each other this much!

At some point in my college career (which is STILL going on almost 10 years later)  I became a very passionate person about odd things.  I expected everyone to be just as passionate as I was.  I often was outspoken and got myself into trouble.  The thing is, at that time in my life I didn't care if other people didn't like my opinions or if they were hurt by my abrasiveness.  (Writing this makes me actually wonder if my previous tendency to be closed off and private and then learning to be more open and honest was me going from one extreme to the other.  Here's to me learning a good middle ground, I guess!)

Eventually I left college to go on a 18-month proselyting mission, and this is where I received my wake up call, my slap in the face.  I was in a personal interview with my Mission President (my mentor of sorts) where we talked about a how I was doing or concerns that I had and he shared with me these two words:


zealous; ardent; impassioned: a vehement defense; vehement enthusiasm.
characterized by rancor or anger; violent: vehement hostility.
strongly emotional; intense or passionate: vehement desire.
marked by great energy or exertion; strenuous: vehement clapping.


of, pertaining to, or characterized by sudden or rash action,emotion, etc.; impulsive: an impetuous decisionan impetuous person.
having great impetus moving with great forceviolent: the impetuous winds.

Think something like this!

At the time I had no clue what they meant.  He said these were words that described me, and gave a brief explanation of what they meant.  I was cut to the could someone I respected and even loved so much, point out this HUGE flaw.  For some strange reason I wasn't offended.  I think I knew he was right.  He went on to tell me that I had spent 21 years obtaining these habits and characteristics and that it would probably take that long to overcome them.  That's a daunting thought right!  The only advice I remember him giving is to take time to think before I speak.  If I think I need to say something, wait 10 seconds and if I still feel like it should be said, then do it.  I went home and looked the words up in the dictionary reading them over and over.  If I could, I probably would have tattooed them onto my forehead or arm as a reminder of just how long they would be expected to stick around!  I cried and cried, probably for days even.

When I came home from my mission I'd like to think that others may have noticed a bit of a difference in me.  Whether that is the case or not I do not know.  I did try really hard to manage my flaws and felt pretty good about how it was going.  Then I got married!  hahahaha  What I have learned since being married is that I tend to reserve my worst habits for those I love and care for the most.  Why is it that I treat complete strangers and acquaintances better than I do those that mean the most to me?  Is that normal?  Do other people do that too?  I think about what my mentor said all those years back again and again, and yet I still fail!  I say unkind things without thinking, things that are hurtful, things that can definitely go without being said.

Side note: I am so thankful that I have a husband who is just about the complete opposite of me in most every case. He has such an amazing ability to know exactly what to say and say it in a way that is not offensive and mean.  I am glad that I have him as an example of what I should do.  I am lucky that he puts up with me and that he stands by my side even when he is usually the one that sees me at my worst. 

I keep wondering how am I going to change this?  How am I going to remember to think before I speak?  I even asked Mr. Medic if he could remind me, but obviously that wouldn't work so well.  He can't do the work for me.  Maybe if I ran to the public library and checked out all the self help books known to man, I could really make a dent in this transformation.  But then I am reminded of a quote I once read:

"True doctrine, understood, changes attitudes and behavior. The study of the doctrines of the gospel will improve behavior quicker than a study of behavior will improve behavior" -Boyd K. Packer

I guess I know my answer, but knowing is only part of the solution.  What that quote means to me is that if I am to overcome my nasty flaw then I need to study the gospel of Jesus Christ AND understand it.  Once I understand what I study, I would naturally act in a better way.  I would be able to access many of the Saviors attributes within myself because I have learned of Him and know how He would want me to be.  

Easier said than done.  Not to mention what my mentor said about it taking just as long to break a habit as it did to make it.  I'm in for a long transformation, and sometimes that keeps me from even trying.  But now is the time...I really want to make it happen before I see the same characteristics develop in my children.  

I am working on setting some goals to help me get this process going instead of just thinking about it.  Here are a few ideas I have so far:

-Of course I will be working on the think-for-10-seconds-before-I-speak thing

-Amp up my study of the scriptures  

-Incorporate some kind of study journal in addition to scripture study

-Study from the manuel "Preach My Gospel" published by my church.  
(The manuel has a section that is all about Christlike Attributes.  There is even a little quiz at the end of the section you can take and see what areas need improvement.) 

I will be adding to this list as time goes and may be expanding on them a bit.  I hope that by writing them down I can hold myself a little more accountable.  I may even give an update on how things are going.  

Without sharing your flaws, unless you feel so inclined, I would love to hear some suggestions or ideas on how you have made changes for the better in your own life.  Even those silly ideas like snapping your wrist with a rubber band when you do something you shouldn't.  I say it all the time, but I honestly believe that we can learn from one another and I am totally willing to give anything a try.  And its not just for me,  I think that everyone can benefit from new and different ideas.  


  1. Ok, must have been impressed to write such a post. After having kids and receiving a bit more stress in my life, I have discovered this is also a HUGE flaw in my life. I NEVER grew up thinking I had "anger, impulsive" issues, but I do...ha. It feels good to read about your similar issue, I don't feel as alone! ;) It's funny you ask the question: "Why is it that I treat complete strangers and acquaintances better than I do those that mean the most to me?" because I have asked myself that exact question numerous times. You're not alone. It's easy to take our greatest blessings for granted sometimes. I am currently working on this and ONE thing I have noticed that has recently helped me is to laugh. Sounds odd but when I get fired up/stressed/annoyed about something I think about how it actually can be humorous because of the way I interpreted the situation. EX. Chase and I have had a few recent disputes as of recently over DUMB things but we realized we didn't see eye to eye because of the lack of communication. Now, if I want to get impulsive with my words, I stop for a BRIEF moment and think, "is the way I'm interpreting this situation accurate?" I can honestly say, that BRIEF moment causes me to hold my tongue which in turn saves the moment. Just about EVERYTIME, I quickly realize I was inaccurate with my interpretation. The most rewarding feeling is that knowledge that I held my tongue, preventing my daughters from hearing such violent words and tone (children are great motivators). If anything I think about how I don't want my children remembering me as that crazy, abrasive, rude-mouthed, mom. Good luck to us both! I would love to hear your advice/progress. Thanks for writing!

    1. It just came to me the other night I needed to write it down, but I was feeling pretty embarrassed at the same time. Glad to know I'm not the only one. I thing the brief moment of waiting is going to be key for me too...if I can remember to do it! I'm trying to think of some reminder I can wear or something that will help.

      I had a pretty bad experience the other day when I came home from working out in the morning. Daddy had the baby up and eating breakfast already and a plate of eggs on the table for me. I immediately saw them and said "I hate eggs!" Then I noticed he was working on the broken computer and said "What on earth do you think you are doing...I had specific plans for fixing it. Why didn't you ask me first?" He looked so sad, like a little child even. I had blurted out something so thoughtless and totally missed that he had put off his important study time to make my day just a bit easier. I felt like the biggest jerk ever!

      I will keep you posted on anything I find that works and hopefully you can do the same for me. Thanks for commenting!

  2. I think that everyone has this problem at least a bit in their lives. I think that the Lord knew that I would have troubles that would bring me down or times when I would be angry and take it out on others. My advice to you is what the Lord told me in my patriarchal blessing. It says that in order to keep the sweet spirit that I have I should attend the temple even when it isn't convenient. I find that when I do that I am happier and not as prone to be nasty to those around me. I hope that this helps. :)

    1. Such a great idea. The temple really does bring a lot of peace of mind and help me realize a different perspective to life. It is hard for us to find time to go together, but recently we were instructed by church leaders to go alone if you have to. I'm definitely going to put that on the goal list! Thanks.

  3. When I was having some issues with critisizing people, I would sing "Should you feel inclined to censure" in my head throughout the day. It really helped.

    1. I'm going to have to look that one up. I don't even know the words

  4. Hey Chandee! I went to counseling! It has helped SO much! With my monsters I am working on. My counselor gave me this worksheet to do often called a thought record. It helps me understand my thoughts and feelings more and that helps me to be more rational and manage them better. If you google it you can find it in a PDF form. I'm also reading 7 Habits of a Highly Effective Person. And more than anything the scriptures. But I like how 7 Habits breaks the gospel principles into a simple form. Anyway - that's what I have been trying lately to improve.

  5. What is the format of 7 Habits? Workbook or read only? Also is the thought record anything like this one:

  6. Chandee, I loved this post. I definitely struggle with this problem and have asked myself why I treat those I love most so hurtful and others so nice. I feel like I get too comfortable and I know that my family will love me no matter what so I dont have to be as careful. But really, that makes absolutely no sense. It should definitely be the other way around. I really like what Kiya said. When I hold my tongue and step back and look at the situation from a different perspective, it most often changes everything. I have the tendency to yell at Peyton for doing something without realizing the motivation behind what she was doing. So I am working really hard on that.
    Have you ever read Mothering with Spiritual Power? I love that book. It has helped me to be a better mom and also a better person in general. It takes verses from the BOM and applies it to life as a mother and wife. It seriously is amazing. Another thing I really struggle with as a wife is remembering to put Brandt as my #1. I just get so busy and caught up in everything else that I tend to neglect him and take everything out on him. So I have started praying every night/morning that I can remember to put him first and to remember the love that we have for one another. It really has made a difference in our relationship and our home! Good luck and you are definitely not alone in this!

    1. You bring up such a good point that I hadn't thought about. Being comfortable with those closest to us enables us to be less careful with our words and actions. And, I am definitely going to put Mothering with Spiritual Power on the "to read" list! Thanks for the suggestion.

  7. Chan, this is why I started going to counseling. Of course it took a long time to find someone who compliments me. The thing is, you don't say or do hurtful things because you're not Christlike, because you are. My counselor helped me figure out where that was coming from and why. I had a hard time being kind and gentle (mostly toward Logan) because that's how my family treated each other growing up. I also, deep down, had a hard time believing logans intentions were pure and genuine. I didn't truly trust him 100%. Once I could see my insecurities and bad habits from childhood, I have ironed them out and am finding that i am much more responsive to lessons I learn when studying the scriptures, etc. I love the doctrines of the gospel. But, just like learning about Christ doesnt fix a broken leg by itself, it doesn't fix all of our tangled brain wires alone. When someone gets a broken leg, they can pray to heal quickly and then they go to see a doctor. When you want help and clarity for impulsiveness, you pray you will heal quickly and go see a doctor. I prayed for years that God would help me with certain things. I read self-help books, got blessings, prayed, studied scriptures. My heart ached for help but none came and I felt like I wasn't making much progress, like beating my head on a wall. When I started counseling, knowledge flowed quickly to me and miraculous changes began occurring. I knew then that God couldn't help if I didn't seek help from those He put on this earth to help me. I love you girl. And yes, you changed drastically on your mission. You came home with a calmness, confidence and grace that was so beautiful and still is.