Take my own advice

Last night I had to take my own advice. Let me explain what happened. Yesterday I wrote a blog / post about my dad taking his own life. It was a difficult piece to write. I cried as I wrote it and when I read it out loud. Writing it brought up a lot of memories, both good and bad.

My husband is always telling me that I don’t open up and talk to him and that I need to tell him what’s going on in my head. So last night I thought that I would read him what I had written about my daddy and it would give him an insight to where my head had been lately.

So I got my computer out, sat up straight (because I needed the courage), and read him what I had written. I had to stop a couple of times because my voice was breaking and I was choking back tears, but I finally made it through. When I was finished reading it, my husband said, “Cool” and rolled over and went to sleep.

I’m not sure what I was really excepting or what reaction I thought I would get. Maybe an I’m sorry baby, or I remember that day too. Something to acknowledge my feelings and me opening up and being vulnerable. I can tell you that “Cool” wasn’t it!

I was taken back by his words and actions. He is the one always asking me to share and opening up. When I did, I felt like he rejected me, didn’t care about my feelings, and didn’t even listen to me. Doubt crept in. My self-worth dropped. I had been vulnerable, and felt like I had been slapped in the face. I thought to myself, this is why I don’t open up. This is why I don’t talk about what’s going on in my mind.

After a few hours, I was still feeling the humiliation from it. Then I realized what I was doing to myself and decided to take my own advice. First off I told myself that what I wrote was powerful, important, and meaningful. I told myself that it could help someone, someday. I said that what my husband had done, was on him, not on me. I hadn’t done anything wrong and I was proud of myself for writing it. (positive self talk) I realized that I couldn’t control his reaction or his action, but I could control mine. (control what you can).

I got up and did the superhero pose. I just stood there and took in the power that I felt. I let the pose take away the negative vibes and replace them with positive vibes. I even said da da da!!

I will never have all of the answers and I will always be a work in progress. I’m ok with that. The good news is, I am learning and I am using what I’m learning in a positive way. https://skyehelps.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=1210&action=edit

He took his own life

25 years. That’s how long it has been since my dad took his own life. Yesterday was the anniversary of his death. The anger and anguish are still with, me even after all of this time. The questions that I had then, are the same questions that I have now, but there are no answers. There is only silence.

I remember the evening that I got the phone call about my dad. I was at the Atlanta Dragway in Commerce, Ga with some friends. My mom paged me, so I went back to my car to call her back on my bag phone. (This was before everyone had cell phones). The first thing that she asked me was who was with me. I told her and she wanted to talk to the friend that was right beside me. I asked her what was wrong? She asked me several times to let her speak to someone else and I told her no, she had to tell me what was going on.

The next few sentences changed my life. She said, “it’s your dad. He shot himself.” I asked her if he was ok and she said, “No baby, he’s not.” I remember screaming and crying. I remember getting in the car to go home and talking to my mom on the phone all the way home. I remember the empty and sick feeling I had. I thought I was going to throw-up. I couldn’t breathe. I thought I might die because of the pain and shock my body was going through.

The rest of the night and following days were a blur. I remember sitting at the funeral home with my sister, aunts and uncles to make arrangements. I remember saying that I wanted to see my dad and everyone trying to talk me out of it. My sister stood up for me and told everyone to let me, it was something that I had to do. I was going to do it regardless.

The night of visitation I got to go back to a room and see my dad for the last time. Other than a bruise on his cheek, he looked like he was sleeping peacefully. The funeral director wouldn’t let me stay long with him. So every time I got the chance I would sneak out of the visitation room and go back to the room where my dad was. I got caught more than once being in the room with him. I spent that time talking to him, asking him questions that he was never going to answer, and stoking his hair. I didn’t know how to say good bye when I didn’t understand anything.

I don’t know if my dad couldn’t take the loss of his mother, she died just a few week before, or if he couldn’t deal with his dad being terminal with cancer. Maybe he was just tired and fed up with this world. I still ask why weren’t my sister and I enough? Why didn’t he love us more? Did he even think about us prior to his decision? Did he think that we would be better off without him? I wonder what lies the devil was whispering in his ear. I wonder what demons he was fighting. I wonder if he had been planning this all along or if it was a quick, snap decision that he made.

I think about everything that he has missed. He wasn’t there when I got married. He has four amazing grandsons who would have adored him and he has a great granddaughter who just turned a year old. He has missed Christmas’ and Thanksgivings. He has missed graduations and birthdays. He has missed those just because days that are filled with laughter.

I think about the impact that it had on me and my self-worth. There was a period of time when I felt that if my own father didn’t love me, how could anyone else love me. I felt that I wasn’t worthy of love. I felt like I was the problem and that I was bad for people. I felt like a failure. I cut myself off from others. I didn’t want to ever get close to anyone or love anyone because it just led to pain. And for years I didn’t let anyone in. I closed myself off from feeling to deeply for anyone, other than the people that were already in my circle. Sadly, I didn’t realize what a injustice I was doing to myself.

I now realize that whatever it was, my dad had some reason for doing what he did. It breaks my heart that he felt that was the only way out, but I have excepted it. I realize that we were enough and that the battle he was fighting won. I realize that it wasn’t us, but the lies of the demons he was battling. I know that he loved us and I believe that he knew we loved him too.

https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/

800-273-8255 National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

Self-esteem

I think that all of us struggle with our self-esteem and self-worth. As women we spend so much time comparing ourselves to others and talking negative to ourselves that we lose sight of who we really are.

So I decided to make a list of ways to improve your self-esteem and self-worth.

Hero Pose

This is one of my favorites! The first time I saw anyone do this, was Amelia on Grey’s Anatomy. She was about to go into a very difficult surgery and she did it to boost your confidence. Now I will do this pose when I need a boost. I also have encouraged my son to do it when he needs a confidence boost. It’s empowering.

https://www.huffpost.com/entry/strike-a-pose-the-super-hero-pose-for-greater-power_b_59a05026e4b0cb7715bfd507

Stop the negative self talk

Before you say it to yourself, think, would you say it to your best friend or spouse? It is really true? We have got to stop talking down to ourselves. Let’s face it, we talk to ourselves more than anyone else does. We have to tell ourselves the truth of our worth and value. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/in-depth/self-esteem/art-20045374

Control What You Can

Wow! This is a big one for me. I want to be in control and I hate being out of control. So controlling what I can and letting go of what I can’t control is still a work in progress for me. Here’s an example, my sister and I decided to get matching tattoos for the 25th anniversary of our father’s death. We are half sisters, so we don’t have that same mother. I was afraid to tell my mom I was getting the tattoo because of how she feels about tattoos and my dad. So when I told her, I told her why we were going to get them, the meaning behind them, and why I felt that it was something that we should do. That was all I could control. I couldn’t control her response and I wasn’t going to argue with her. I also wasn’t going to let anything she said change my mind. Knowing what I could control helped me with the conversation and the end result. https://au.reachout.com/articles/how-acceptance-can-help-you-cope-with-things-out-of-your-control

Celebrate the Small Things

Give yourself a pat on the back for the small things that you do or accomplish! Tell yourself “good job” or “way to go” when you get something done. You can even dance to celebrate it! Ya’ll I do this when I clean house! I tell myself what a good job I did and how great the place looks. All the while I’m dancing around. I may look crazy, but it makes me feel good about myself. http://www.femestella.com/10-little-ways-to-boost-your-confidence/

Do What Makes You Happy

Stop trying to please everyone else around you and do what makes you happy. Trying to please others is exhausting. Half the time you can’t please them anyway. Be yourself and do what makes you happy. People that love you and want the best for you will be happy for you. When I started doing what made me happy, life got better. I was able to be myself. And that was a gift in and of itself. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/tame-your-terrible-office-tyrant/201811/can-happiness-lead-confidence

Repeat Positives

If you can tell yourself negative things and believe them, then you can tell yourself positive things until your believe them. Yes, I know, this is easier said than done. Look in the mirror, or not, if you aren’t there yet, and tell yourself positive things. I am a good mother. I’m a fantastic friend. I deserve this job, promotion, etc. Every time a negative thought enters your mind, try to think of two positives. This is not an easy one for me. I have talked negative to myself for my whole life and that habit is hard to break. But I still try. And after a while you will start to believe the positive things that you are saying, even if you didn’t in the beginning. https://thriveglobal.com/stories/50-self-esteem-affirmations-repeat-them-daily-to-build-self-worth/

Things to help you relax

Things to help you relax

I can be uptight.  I get weighed down by my own thoughts and responsibilities.  I need things to help me relax.  So I decided to share a few things that work for me. Enjoy!

Breathing

Sounds simple, right?  I take deep breaths with my eyes closed and release it slowly.  I also listen to my breathing as I do this exercise.  And I do this for as long as it takes for me to feel relaxed. 

https://www.allinahealth.org/healthysetgo/thrive/breathe-in-and-breathe-out-the-calming-effects-of-deep-breathing

Soaking in a warm bath or taking a long shower

Water relaxes me.  I don’t have to be in the water, I can just see it. One of the things that I do is soak in a warm bath, with bubbles or bath salts and the lights off.  (I have a night light I will turn on if I need to).  Usually when I’m in the bath everyone else leaves me alone.  If I need to relax and my shoulders and neck are holding all of the tension I will take a long shower.  I will just stand under the water and let it flow over me.  I will stay in until the water gets cold or I feel like I’m relaxed.

  https://www.verywellmind.com/relieve-stress-with-a-bath-meditation-3144781

Yoga

I know that yoga may not be for everyone, but everyone should at least give it a try.  Yoga relaxes me.  I focus on breathing and listening to my body.  The movements are slow and the music is relaxing. (added bonus).  It also allows me to see what my body can do. https://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/yoga-for-anxiety-and-depression

Listen to soothing music

The key here, for me, is the soothing part.  I need music that is calming.  I also listen to different CD’s that are natural sounds.  My favorite one right now is thunderstorms.  I even go to sleep at night listening to it.

Write or keep a journal

I love to read and write so this one is a no brainer for me.  I will write poems, write my feelings, and even letters that I will never mail. These letters have been to people I have lost and to people that have hurt me. Sometimes I write and then shred it up. But getting whatever is eating at me out, helps, and I feel better afterwards. https://www.verywellmind.com/journaling-a-great-tool-for-coping-with-anxiety-3144672

Take a walk

When I need to relax sometimes I go for a walk.  I clear my head.  I listen to the sounds around me. I even run sometimes.  Sometimes it relaxes me and sometimes it just wears me out. Either way, my mind and body are in a different place than when I started.   https://www.nytimes.com/2020/09/30/well/move/an-awe-walk-might-do-wonders-for-your-well-being.html

Get a massage

I love to get a massage!  Oh my goodness, an hour with someone working on my muscles and getting the tension out of them relaxes me to the point I could fall asleep.   https://sageblossommassage.com/5-ways-massage-makes-you-feel-better/

Sing out loud and dance like nobody’s watching

I will turn on my favorite song(s) and sing as loud as I can.  I dance around and hope no one is watching, but if they are, they can join in.  Usually these are upbeat songs and they help me relax and refocus.  Plus I laugh at myself and laughter is the best medicine.

Laugh

Hey I just said that laughter was the best medicine. Did you think it wouldn’t make the list?  Find something to laugh about or laugh at yourself.  Even if you fake it in the beginning.   https://experiencelife.lifetime.life/article/8-ways-to-laugh-more/

Play with your pet

Oftentimes my dog can sense when I need her.  She will jump up in my lap and give me kisses while I pet her.  Petting her and the warmth of her body next to mine relaxes me for some reason.  Maybe it’s because she loves me and doesn’t want anything else from me but love. https://www.helpguide.org/articles/mental-health/mood-boosting-power-of-dogs.htm

Scream

Sometimes I just have to scream!  I hold so much in or over think so many things sometimes screaming helps.  I guess it takes the energy that I put into over thinking and puts it into the scream.  Afterwards, I feel better.

I am sure that there are many other ways that I relax, but these are my top few.  I hope that they help you.

Mighty Oak

Mighty Oak

 Kathy J Parenteau  More By Kathy J Parenteau

Stand tall, oh mighty oak, for all the world to see.
Your strength and undying beauty forever amazes me.
Though storm clouds hover above you,
Your branches span the sky
In search of the radiant sunlight you
Count on to survive.
When the winds are high and restless and
You lose a limb or two,
It only makes you stronger.
We could learn so much from you.
Though generations have come and gone
And brought about such change,
Quietly you’ve watched them all,
Yet still remained the same.
I only pray God gives to me
The strength he’s given you
To face each day with hope,
Whether skies are black or blue.
Life on earth is truly a gift.
Every moment we must treasure.
It’s the simple things we take for granted
That become our ultimate pleasures.

Source: https://www.familyfriendpoems.com

Pain Ends

Pain Ends

By Katy A. Brown More By Katy A. Brown

Breathe in the fresh air,
Put your mind at ease.
Let down your hair,
Let it flow in the breeze.

Let your eyes wander
To all the beauty to be seen.
If those toxic thoughts you still do ponder,
Then let out a scream.

Scream until the pain is gone,
Until you no longer feel afraid.
Open your eyes to a new dawn,
Let the darkness fade.

No longer compare yourself
Or your flaws to others’ perfections.
Take the negativity off the shelf.
Focus on your direction.

Pick the sadness up off the floor,
Sweep it into the wind.
Close the door on self-hatred.
Never let it back in.

For the lies it would often tell you,
You will no longer agree.
Happiness and love are what you should hold onto.
They are whom you should give the key.

Pay no attention to the toxic thoughts,
Listen to those who adore everything you are.
Overthinking was what you once were taught,
But now those thoughts you put in a jar.

Focus on your goals,
Never lose your fight.
It’s time to open new scrolls.
Everything will be all right.

Source: https://www.familyfriendpoems.com

Be You

Be you. I have spent so much of my time and energy trying to be what others expected me to be. I would hide myself because of the expectations that were placed on me. I sacrificed my happiness to make others happy. I have given up some of my dreams because others told me they were a waste of my time or that they were stupid.

I don’t know if I made others happy or not. I do know that I wasn’t happy. Living up to expectations was exhausting. Giving up my dreams was heartbreaking. I ended up being who people thought I should be, and not being me.

It wasn’t until I gave up trying to please others and stopped trying to be who they wanted me to be before I found freedom. I found myself.

You Are…

I feel like as women, we are so busy encouraging and lifting others up, that we forget about ourselves. We are the caregivers and our family and friends come to us for most everything. And even thou we love our family and friends, we get lost and overlooked.

We also need to be encouraged and lifted up. We need to be reminded that we are more than a wife, mother, co-worker, etc. So as you go through your day, remember….. You are brave. You are beautiful inside and out. You are strong. You are smart. And most of all, you are loved.

Toxic Family Members

Most of us know how to avoid toxic people, but what about toxic family members? How do we avoid the people that we have to be around? First, we need to look at and identify their behaviors.

Behaviors of Toxic Family Members.

  • They want Control. They expect you to make the decision(s) that they want you to make, not your own. They put you down or belittle you if you don’t. 
  • They Micromanage everything in your lives. They need to have a say and control over every aspect of your life.
  • They make Threats. They may tell you things will be taken away or refused unless you do things a certain way. Their way. Your views and feelings are not taken into account, only theirs.
  • They constantly Criticize. They criticize your life, your views, your friends, opinions, religious beliefs, dress code, and career choices.
  • They Gaslight. They turn things they have said around, to make you feel like you are the problem and you have misunderstood/ confused things.
  • They Blame. It is always you. You are the reason something isn’t good; you are the problem and you are causing the toxic family member to feel bad.
  • They Dismiss your feelings. You are not given a voice, a choice or a second thought.
  • They Neglect. They do not take care of a minor if unwell; They do not provide proper food and emotional support. They do not take any interest in you.
  • They abuse you Emotionally . They use the silent treatment, laughing/making fun of an individual, verbal abuse, and mind games.
  • They Lie. They tell lies to cover up things said and done, or to manipulate you. https://natashaadamo.com/toxic-family-members/

Feelings That They Make Us Feel.

I’m not good enough.

I’m a failure.

I messed up again.

They aren’t proud of me.

I need to do better.

I need to be better.

I’m not important.

They May Not Know.

There are times when the family member does not know that they are being toxic. In their own way they are trying to help you. If it’s a parent, sometimes they want you to do as they want you to do because they don’t want you making the same mistake(s) that they made. https://www.mindbodygreen.com/articles/heres-how-to-deal-with-toxic-family-members

I was an adult with children of my own before I realized that a family member in my life was toxic. I never felt like what I did was good enough. I always felt that I fell short. I didn’t feel like they were proud of me, because every time I accomplished something, I was told “it’s about time” or “I thought you already had done that.” Every time I tried to share something good, I ended up feeling awful.

Once I realized it, I focused on why. Why did this person always do this to me? Why did I allow it to happen? I believe that it came down to their own insecurities, jealousy, and up bringing. Realizing the why, helped me to navigate. I also had a talk with them about how I felt and what they did to me. They didn’t even realize what they were doing.

Now I am selective about what I tell this person. I have made boundaries that I keep in place. I also understand that often times what they say is more directed at themselves than at me. I try to use reflective listening with them, and let them know that I understand where they are coming from, but I have to do things my way.

Doctors that we need!

Here is a list of the 7 doctors that we need in our lives.

I love this list! it was posted on sun-gazing.com I gave this list a good bit of thought before I added it to the blog. I realized that all seven of these things make me feel so much better. They help with depression, anxiety, weight, and my overall being. http://www.facebook.com/sungazing

Think about it, don’t you feel better, happier, and less stressed when you are out in the fresh air and sunshine? I enjoy walking, so I get the exercise, sunshine, and fresh air all at once.

I read a book years ago, Eat Right For Your Blood Type, https://dadamo.com/. When I follow the diet that is right for my blood type, I feel amazing! It’s crazy, but there is a difference. I have more energy and feel less sluggish.

We have heard all of our lives that laughter is the best medicine. And it is!! So laugh today. Get outside in the sun and breath in the fresh air. Walk your dog. Drink some water. Eat how you know that you should and get the rest that you need.

Have a wonderful day!