To once again reference the great Chris Rock and his insanely funny Netflix special, Tamborine, I love to play the tambourine. I always play the tambourine with my ass. Nothing makes me happier than giving a genuine compliment, making a great meal, or knocking out a helpful task. Early in my relationship, I fell into the roll of giving, tending, and playing the tambourine. I truly enjoy it. But as I tackle my issues with codependency and delve further into the underlying issues and cracks in my marriage that allowed for infidelity to sneak in, I have to acknowledge the fact that I'm not a very good lead singer. If you aren't following the tambourine and lead singer metaphor, you really need to watch the special. I can't recommend it enough.
I present as I confident, extroverted person who has her shit together. Like many of us, inside I'm desperately searching for external validation in hopes that I'll finally feel good enough. The kicker is that I get plenty of external validation. But when I get it, I downplay it. "Oh I'm not actually that fast compared to real runners and really, I've run thousands of miles so it would just be really pathetic if I wasn't fast", "I'm fast but I'm definitely not stronger enough. Have you seen how much she can clean and jerk? I can't lift even close to that amount", "My nose is crooked though", "I hate my forehead lines", etc. I've said all of these things. Back to actual kind humans who have been vulnerable enough themselves to give me the compliments of "you're fast", "you're strong", "you're pretty". It's not only keeping me down; it's bringing that kind person down with me!
And it plays out big time in my marriage. I constantly have that little devil in my brain saying "he said you were pretty, not gorgeous or breathtaking. Pretty is the low hanging fruit of compliments", "when he said you look strong do you think he actually means chubby?", "he said he believes in you but he's just saying that so you don't fall apart, which would be a pain for him to deal with". So, just as my husband is doing his work to be a better giver / tambourine player, I am taking on my homework of being a better receiver / lead singer. I will accept compliments without altering or downplaying them first. I will allow myself to be proud of my recent accomplishments, like hosting my first Instagram live for Macros and Muscles Nutrition. I will apply my thought tracking technique to negative thoughts about myself, not just triggering thoughts about the infidelity. I will lean into internal validation and affirmations until I go with the flow and believe them.
"When you're in a relationship, you're in a band and when you're in a band you have roles that you play in the band...Sometimes you're the lead singer and sometimes you're on tambourine... If you're on tambourine, play it right! Play it with a fucking smile. Nobody wants to see a mad tambourine player. Play it like Tina Turner!" -- Chris Rock, Tamborine