Self-Love September; Self-Love When Your Need is Desperate

My husband and I have had a hard time this month with our oldest child who is smack dab in the middle of her challenging teenage years, and just started her first year of high school. If I thought we had gotten a taste of teenage attitude in the previous years, I was wrong. That, my friends, was a warm-up. What we're getting now is full-on disdain, disregard for our rules, thoughts, and opinions, and at times, I'm pretty sure a streak of loathing. I love my kids fiercely, but sometimes, I don't like them very much...

This past week or so has really been a struggle for me in terms of my own mental-health. Things have been said and inferred that are very hard not to take personally. I've been doing my best to protect myself, but I thought that instead of staying quiet about this struggle that some of the coping strategies I have been using can be useful to you too. Some of them are basic, and you've probably heard of them before, but sometimes a reminder isn't a bad thing. I hope they're helpful to you.

1. Do something different. Get out of your house, shake up your routine, and spend some time doing something frivilous and completely silly. Take funny pictures with Instagram filters or animal faces. Go to the mall and buy yourself a piece of clothing that makes you feel amazing. Eat ice cream in the pouring rain. Hug a child or an animal. Take a walk in the woods, by the seashore, or in your favorite shop or city. The point is to change up the energy entirely and shift your mental state. Yes, this may be a distraction from what's hurting, but it can also be the emotionaly boost you need in order to confront the difficult situation or feelings.

2. Take a bath, or cleanse yourself in your preferred way. I'm a big fan of hot baths complete with bath salts or bath bombs. I like to turn off the lights and have candles or almost no light going. I enjoy sinking into the hot water and letting it cover my body, and I especially love letting my head slip into the water so that my ears are covered and the sounds are muffled. It's cleansing for me, calming, and soothing. And if you need/want to cry it's the ideal place to clean yourself up after. I often feel once my bath is done and the water is circling down the drain that my heavy emotions are washing away with the bathwater.

3. Have a really good cry. The heart-wrenching, ugly loud sobbing kind. The kind that makes your whole face red and puffy and your eyes look terrible after. Go ahead and do it, there's no shame in crying, and the cathartic power of a good long sob can't be overstated.

4. Blow shit up. For me, playing first-person shooter games is an amazing release of anger or frustration. Seen above is my character in Call of Duty; Black Ops 4 after a particularly good round (I'm normally a lousy player... you should know this was achieved after 1.5 hours straight playing so I was good and practiced not to mention mad, lol) and I have to say, blowing up some enemies on COD was a great way to get my anger out of the way before my daughter came home from school. I know this doesn't work for everyone, and not everyone has video games at their disposal, but there are some great games you can play for free on your smartphones or tablets that can provide the same relief. And it doesn't have to involve violence either - feel especially powerful after you clear a Tetris board? Do that instead! For me, shooting games are what helps, but do whatever works for you.

5. Forgive. This may be hard for you, in your situation, or you may not be ready. But there will come a day when you may find your anger, despair, or hatred has lessened a great deal, and you can find that room in your heart to accept what happened and no longer hold animosity towards that other person or yourself. I really, really encourage you to try to find ways to forgive them/yourself, and to do it yes, in your own time, but not putting it off for too long either. Forgiveness is one of the most powerful healing processes that I know, and it doesn't even have to involve both parties publically. It can just be a simple as deciding to forgive the other person and then continuing on with behaviour and actions that aren't holding them for emotional ransom anymore. So, if you can, forgive. And watch the healing unfold before your very eyes.

I hope that these tips have helped you. The last one was the one I especially needed to hear for myself, and I'm going to do my best to engage in that process right away. My journal is probably the best tool I have for letting forgiveness happen, so if you don't know where to start, I suggest picking yours up and pouring out your heart. Let all your anger and disappointment out, and then start to list reasons why forgiveness is a good thing, why you should do it, why it's okay, and see where it goes from there.

We'll talk again soon, darlings. <3 Love you all!


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