Raising kids is a never-ending learning process. I have two teenagers and little one who is just about 8, going on just about 35. They are all girls, not sure if that makes things easier or harder, or just different. I consider myself a strict parent, but I do allow a good amount of freedom to my girls. I have rules, and they are expected to follow them, but I love when my children form their own opinions on topics and express them freely. Down with the old saying, “Children should be seen and not heard.” I believe that children are a gift for us to mould, but also to learn from as well. I have learned a great deal from my daughters, and I bet they have no idea.
My oldest daughter has taught me patience. Not because she is badly behaved, quite the opposite, she is a stickler for the rules. She is that child would tell on herself, knowing she would have consequences, simply because she knew she did something wrong and wanted to come clean. She needed to clear her own conscience, and she needed reassurance that it would be okay in the long run. She looked to me for that validation. She also knew that no matter what she did, I would always be more upset if she lied about it than if she had just told me the truth. So I do what any good parent should do, I listen, I enforce consequences, and offer time off for good behavior. Wait, that sounds more like a prison guard.
My second daughter, my middle child, is my gypsy in the wind. She was always so carefree and easy going, until middle school. At that point she became far more anxious and concerned about others’ opinion of her. She is not the tattle on herself kind of girl. She’s more the, “My older sister watches me and narcs on me if I do anything too stupid,” kind of girl. I watch her like a hawk, mostly because she is naive and thinks the world is full of good people. She doesn’t understand the world has some horrible, sadistic people in it and we are only trying to protect her from those people. Her anxiety probably couldn’t handle it at this point. She is sweet, caring, a little sassy, sensitive, and driven by emotions.
My third daughter is very much a mix of the first two. It is quite odd, really. If you took my first two daughters and smushed them into one person, you would get my last. She is smart, sassy, always on the side of right, but not going to narc on herself. She is an emotional being, and yet very logical and rational. In some ways she is the easiest because I have so much experience with each aspect of her personality from the previous two girls. She is cute and quirky, bright and affectionate. An all around awesome kid, just like her sisters.
My children have taught me how to love myself. Through loving them and wanting to be the best mom I could ever be, I learned the most important thing to teach them, self-love. I have to exemplify that which I want them to embody. If I want them to be strong, independent, self-loving women, I have to BE that for them, put my money where my mouth is. In order to be good parents, we have to be good to ourselves first and foremost. We have to exemplify to our kids how valuable human life is, especially our own. If we want them to grow up and be happy, successful, contributing members of society, we have to be that in our own life.
I have learned more being a parent than I could in any school, conference, or type of training. I have learned about myself, my children, and people in general. Parenting is not easy, but it is fulfilling, rewarding, and the most important job ever. It is our duty to our children and ourselves to be good to ourselves, work towards attaining our goals, pursue our dreams, and maintain our boundaries with others. Make YOU your own top priority.
One might think being diagnosed with PTSD would be a terrible fate. While it certainly is not something I ever anticipated, nor does anyone else, it could be far worse in my opinion. Keeping with my law of attraction mindset, if I allow myself to dwell in pity about my diagnosis, I will forever be a sufferer of PTSD. Coping with PTSD is not easy by any means, but good things grow from the treatment process. Learning how to process traumatic events, emotions, thoughts, and regulate behaviors is never a bad thing. Without my diagnosis of PTSD I would never have delved into the world of trauma as I have the past two years, and would not have tuned into myself and what I truly needed in order to be emotionally healthy. The time and energy I have invested in myself the past two years, and healing, surpasses the total amount of time which I have made myself a priority throughout my lifetime.
In some ways I am thankful for my PTSD, as it has been the wake up call I needed in order to learn how to make myself a priority. I have spent time learning to be patient with myself, and work on changing some harmful behaviors. I have learned how to meditate, and how to healthily argue with my negative self-talk. PTSD has given me the motivation to heal myself, grow, and move forward stronger than ever. I know some people struggle for years, even a lifetime. I do not belittle their struggle, or their journey. We each have a path to forge, and our own personal trail to blaze. I have nothing but respect and empathy for those who continuously struggle throughout their lives. I offer nothing but positive, healing energy to you and a hope for a better tomorrow.
As I have shared in earlier posts, trauma changes our brains. It alters the chemistry and how our brain processes. Trauma molds the way we process and view events. Through various therapies, those of us with PTSD learn, or re-learn, how to process emotions, reactions, behaviors, and even our own thoughts. I have come to know things about myself I would have never believed otherwise, good and positive things.
As the Law of Attraction states, we should be grateful for what we have in our lives, and I can say I am truly grateful for my diagnosis simply for where my journey has taken me the last two years. My therapy process has helped me learn how to look for red flags in relationships and stop making excuses for inexcusable behavior, to set boundaries and enforce them even if it is with myself, and to avoid triggers once they have been identified whenever possible. I have worked through most of my symptoms, and no longer suffer from a great deal of what once held me a captive prisoner in my own life. I have found independence, my voice, my creative outlet, and a passion for life I never had as deeply as I do now.
I have learned how to rewire my thinking and reword my inner dialogue in order to manifest those things which are most important. No longer do I live in the world of self-loathing, blaming my existence for all that which haunts me. No longer do I feel I deserve the treatment I received at the hands of those who should have protected me most. No longer do I feel a perpetual victim to life and those who kept hurting me. What happened and who is responsible is inconsequential. The important aspect is what I walk away with from everything. The important part is what I do now, and how I allow it to impact my life. I have learned and grown so much, and that is a priceless thing I cannot imagine my life without.
As much as I would love to be able to clone myself, and finally have those two extra hands I have needed since my first born was born, I have had to come to grips with the reality we only get one self. Obviously, I KNOW we only get one self, but it is really hitting home with me lately how much I have neglected my one self. I don’t exercise it as often as I should, although I do eat more healthily than I ever have in my life. I stress my one self too much and probably demand a bit much from my only self. I believe many of us parents are guilty of this epidemic. Why do today what you can put off until next never, because the kids require umpteen million things RIGHT NOW, and it’s just easier to take care of meeting everyone else’s needs ahead of our own?!? Can I get an AMEN!!
Law of Attraction
Recently, I started reading Practical Law of Attraction: Align Yourself with The Manifesting Conditions and Successfully Attract Your Desires, by Victoria Gallagher. Don’t roll your eyes, because I know you are rolling them and thinking I am about to unload some hocus pocus bullshit on you, but I am not, PROMISE!! A key concept I am learning from this book is putting my desires into motion by actually focusing on myself. I will never have what I want if I just sit around looking at what I do not have yet, and neither will you. If you want to lose weight, and all you focus on is the fact you need to lose weight, you will be in a constant state of, “I need to lose weight.” You may even find yourself gaining weight….oh the horror, right??
Change Your Mind, Change Your Life
Instead, focus on how you feel when you are the weight you desire to be, and what impact it will have on your health and wellbeing. Act as though you have already lost the weight. Say things to yourself like, “I enjoy being the healthy and active,” instead of, “Oh my gawd, I really want that ice cream but my ass is so fat I can barely fit in my chair.” You can see how one has a far more positive tone than the other. It is important to speak to yourself in a positive, uplifting way. Not necessarily sunshine and rainbows all the time, but kinda close. What your thoughts focus on is what you will manifest into your life. Keep that in mind. What you focus on is what you will receive more of, so be careful how you speak to yourself.
Put YOU First
I have also come to the realization I focus on others as a way to not have to focus on myself. I grew up like this, no blame, just reality. I grew up having to focus on my parents, focus on everyone else, and not really having a focus on me, or being the center of my own life. Thus, I feel most comfortable when I can devote my time and energy to others. Yes, I realize how unhealthy this is, and I am working on rewiring my brain to a healthier, more productive way of being. I know I am not alone. I know many people, mostly parents, who put their kids, their family, their friends and neighbors’ ahead of their own. It is as if we think we have to make ourselves the lowest totem on the pole in order to be a good parent, child, neighbor, friend, etc…
Happy IS as Happy Does
The fact of the matter is, the happier WE are, the better we are for ourselves, our kids, our family, our friends, everybody in our lives. Who couldn’t use a healthy dose of positivity in their life? I highly recommend reading the book and following the steps outlined, which are very well explained. It is time to take the bull by the horns and make our lives match our desires. It is time to put our SELF on our priority list, because it is the ONLY self we get and if we don’t nobody else will! To steal a quote from Dr. Phil, “We teach people how to treat us.” If we treat ourselves like second class citizens who do not deserve to be a priority, guess how we will be treated by others as well?!?
Let’s DO THIS!!!
Are you with me? Are you picking up what I’m putting down? Are you smelling what Coffee Mama is cooking?!?! I hope so! Start paying attention to your SELF! Take care of it as well as you take care of your kids, your spouse, your pets, everyone that you put on that priority list. Watch what you put into your mouth, get active, get happy, get what you desire out of life. It is NOT too late, it is NOT too much work, it is NOT hocus pocus. Start reading the book I mentioned, or any reliable information about the Law of Attraction. Start thinking about the ways in which you keep yourself bound to the ways you wish to change. Look at your contribution to your own SELF, and whether or not it is positive and affirming, or destructive and undermining.
Most importantly, LOVE YOUR SELF….
When I was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) I was shocked, truly. I had never thought someone like me could have something like PTSD. I remember my therapist sitting there and reviewing my test, a 392 question test which had question after question which seemed like the same 50 questions reworked in different ways. He kept nodding and scoring on his computer. Finally, he looks up and tells me I have a TEXTBOOK case of PTSD. Not just yes I have it, but I have a textbook case of it. He started using words like, “classic case” and “textbook symptoms.” All the while I sat there trying to focus, but struggling because I was lost in the whirl of thoughts circling in my brain. I was experiencing nightmares, flashbacks, negative association, brain fog, inability to focus, severe anxiety, and depression. I left the office trying to digest my new diagnosis and what it meant for my life. I decided I needed to learn about PTSD and began doing some research at home, and asking questions in therapy. I was shocked at what I would come to learn about trauma, PTSD, and the way society treats people with a PTSD diagnosis which are not military.
As I started learning more about my diagnosis of PTSD I began to learn how much PTSD impacts the brain. Trauma literally changes your brain. I had no idea. I was shocked. Trauma impacts several areas of the brain, including the amygdala, the hippocampus, and the prefrontal cortex. Trauma causes an increase in cortisol production and in norepinephrin response. Essentially, trauma changes your brain. Think about that. It literally, physically, changes your brain. When we can understand this concept, we can then understand why it is so frustrating to PTSD sufferers to be told things like, “You just need to get over it,” or any variation of the same sentiment. It’s like telling someone who lost a limb, “You just need to forget you ever had that arm,” or, “You should pretend you never had two legs.” Not only would people find that to be insensitive and rude, but the person who said it would probably catch a verbal beat down for having been so callous.
Meanwhile, in the world of mental health, it is completely normal, and acceptable, to most to speak like this to people with not only PTSD, but also, depression, anxiety, and other mental disorders as well. Ignorance to mental health issues is certainly to blame, but in today’s technology day and age, it does not hold water for long. Finding information on mental health issues is relatively easy to locate online, and it takes but a simple search to find. The wealth of information available is vast, and most of it is reputable and easy to understand. Knowledge is power, and the more we know, the more we can express empathy to those dealing with mental health disorders and contribute to helping instead of increasing the burden. A small glimpse into the life of someone who’s been diagnosed with PTSD, depression, anxiety, etc., offers a wealth of answers as to why their behavior is what it is, and why. Have you ever known someone who spoke of feeling lonely all the time, despite being surrounded by people? Perhaps he is suffering from depression. If he is, the last thing that is helpful for him mentally is to be told to get over it, or to join the mass of people around him at any given time.
Trauma occurs and leaves people devastated. It is not the type of devastation you necessarily see. Whether someone loses a home, a spouse, or causes an accident. Perhaps childhood abuse, or an abusive marriage, or childhood illness is what precipitated their PTSD. The truth is you may never know or understand what CAUSED someone’s PTSD, but you do not have to understand how to show empathy and compassion for what they are going through. In addition, it is not uncommon for traumatized people to have several instances in which traumatic events happen to them, only for people to label them as “drama,” and walk, or run, away. When we understand how trauma impacts the brain, and the emotional and mental states of someone, we can see why these things happen. It is as easy as having compassion and empathy. Look at people the way you want to be looked upon. Care for a stranger in need as you wish to be cared for, and do unto others as you want done unto you.
Some things are easier said than done. Hell, most things are easier said than done. When I first read this I thought, “Heck yeah, baby, no trippin’ here!” As I sit and ponder the meme and the whole aspect of life and not trippin’, I have to somewhat disagree with the sentiment, just a smidge. I have been known to trip over what would be considered a pebble or two in my lifetime. I definitely think I climb mountains for sure. Here’s the thing, when you trip over the pebbles the key is to not fall down and stay down from tripping on the pebbles.
This morning a perfect example of this occured. My 7 month old Great Dane puppy pooped in his crate. A massive, Great Dane sized poop…visualize that for a second, gross right?! Now, not only had he pooped in his crate but he had pooped, and then covered it with his blanket, and pushed it to the front of his crate, and then peed on the blanket, because that’ll show that pile of poop who’s boss. By the time I woke up this morning at 6:00 AM, the poop was a large, pancake shaped pile that was plastered to the crate floor. And given the size of the mess, my poor puppy was trapped in the back of his crate.
I cleaned up the mess, and then the puppy. I was literally nauseous and disgusted, and just cursing the existence of Mondays altogether. I mean where does Monday get off acting so nasty all early, and making my day so shitty (quite literally). My oldest said to me as she was leaving for school, “I hope your day gets better!” I thought to myself, “Pfffft, yeah because it’s starting out so fanfreakingtastically.” But then I saw this meme and adjusted my brain. I could let that event set the tone for my entire day or I could take the pebble that I tripped on and kick it right out of the way.
I opted for the second option because the first one is exhausting and just leads to a day-long bad mood. I could sit and stew over it, waiting for the next bad thing to happen, or I could be thankful that I was able to contain it to the crate and the puppy, which have already been cleaned. I skipped that stone across the water like a pro and kept it moving. We all have pebbles we trip over, which is part of life and is always going to happen. It is how we deal with those pebbles that defines us and our mountain climbing ability. It is when we learn to take a step back and look at things from a broader perspective that we learn which are pebbles and which are mountains.
Perhaps your kids give you grief getting up and ready and out the door for school in the morning. Maybe you overslept and are late for an important meeting. Did you intend to go to the gym this morning only to wake up feeling icky and not even wanting to look at your workout clothes, let alone put them on and go to the gym? Whatever your pebble is, look at it, think about it, and skip that sucker into the ocean. In the great mountain of life, that pebble will not matter one hill of beans when you’re halfway up the Kilimanjaro that is your existence. Live in the moment, each moment, and when the moment has passed, let it. Do not hold on to the energy those pebbles throw at you.