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Posts tagged ‘healing’

When the Past Hurts Say Hello…

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Sometimes the past stays away for a long time and then unexpectedly knocks on the door, says hello, brings in their baggage, and wants to stay.

You hear a song, see something on TV, look at old pictures, find old things, have a conversation, read something, or have a dream that brings the memories of old to the surface. Though you’re living in the now, the past sometimes tugs at your sleeve, begging for your attention. Psst, don’t forget about me….

Sometimes our memories are pleasant, making us smile and laugh. Inside jokes, family gatherings, vacations, fun times with friends, your kid’s art projects and memorabilia collected throughout the years, something or someone that helped you grow and change for the better, firsts, buying your home, anniversaries of jobs, marriages, friendships, and so much more. While we should live for today, it’s okay to remember yesterday. It helped us become who we are today.

But sometimes, the memories and feelings they stir up are anything but pleasant. I had a moment like that this morning. Someone is celebrating their birthday tomorrow and dreads it each year, because they keep hoping their dad will acknowledge them and then is disappointed every time. I know this feeling. I share a birthday with my dad and he’s not once called, sent a letter, come to visit, asked me to visit, or done anything to wish me happy birthday. I’ve done so for him and every effort is ignored.

It’s hard to ignore the past when it’s part of your present. There’s still a part of me that longs for my dad’s love, effort to have a real relationship, and healing for all the pain over the years. Despite all he’s done, he’s my dad and I do love him. I think a part of him loves me, but sometimes I’m not really so sure.

I needed to lift myself out of the depression I felt trying to swallow me whole, but wasn’t sure how. I felt the tears coming and kept trying to stop them. I turn 40 this year and I still feel like a little girl begging my daddy to love me. How do I not dwell on this???

Some advice I gave this young person was though it’s easier said than done is to try to focus more on those who are there for them and less on those that aren’t. Advice can and is usually easier to give than take, but I knew I needed to try. I had just posted recently about moving forward, not staying in the past. I knew I owed it to myself and anyone I’ve given this advice to, to take it to heart myself.

A part of me does long for my dad’s love and attention, but if I dwell on that or anything else that I can’t control, I’ll be an emotional mess every day. I can’t control others or many situations, only myself and how I react to what happens. I may not have the affection I seek from him or many others, but I do get it from so many more. They show me love and it’s that love I should focus on, treasure, and give to them in return.

So, past and even present pain, I say this to you, you’re not welcome today. I will take your baggage for you, place it and you in an Uber, and send you on your way. You will not destroy me with your negativity, not today, no not today. I hope this helps even one of you who may be struggling this way yourself. May you know you are loved and use that as a light to get through to a good place. When the past hurts say hello, let us tell them goodbye.

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Love is Stronger than Hate

Love-Heals

Hate is powerful and it destroys all it touches, causes great devastation in its wake. Hate fuels a mind to do awful things and sometimes it seems like there isn’t a weapon strong enough to stand up against it, so we lose hope.

Yet there is something that is more powerful that can be wielded against it, something that can triumph. Love is a force that can overcome hate’s strongest arsenal, against its every attack. Love is what hate fears most. If we, one person at a time, seek within ourselves that strength, we can stand up to hate.

It’s natural when provoked to get defensive, lash out with harsh words and hurtful actions. That’s what hate is counting on, for us to let anger, jealousy, greed, spiteful behavior, and the temptation to succumb to the dark parts within us to win.

It takes true strength to resist the dark sides within us, to find the good and let it prevail. When we know love, both how to give and receive it, it’s easier to listen to the goodness we have in our hearts. Sometimes it’s hard when we’ve been hurt to trust in love’s existence and in its power to heal. It’s easier sometimes to build walls and keep it out, to try to prevent it from hurting us again. What we don’t always see is that it’s not love that hurts us, it’s the absence of it that does.

It took me awhile to see just how strong and wonderful love really is, but now I know its power and refuse to turn from it ever again.

I’m grateful for love. I’m blessed with knowing many forms of it. I have God’s love with me everywhere I go, a love that overcomes everything. I have the love of two wonderful kids, a love that lights up the darkest days and shows me what it’s like to love another without reservation, a love that will last as long as I live. I have the love of an amazing husband, the kind of love one reads about, but isn’t sure really exists. He’s my best friend and partner. I have the love of family, a bond both bound by blood and something more special. I have the love of incredible friends, a love not bound by blood, but something just as strong. What’s even greater still is that I have the love to give back, love that inspires and fuels me daily. To be able to give and receive love is the biggest blessing I have been given.

Let love fuel you, heal your wounded heart, help you let go of anger, and inspire you to show it to others, so it may help them as well. Show a little love today!

The Cost of Empathy

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Most of the time, I feel my ability to empathize with others is a valuable trait. To be able to put myself in one’s situation and allow myself to feel as if I was going through whatever is going on has helped me help others. It, in many ways, is really a blessing. Empathy and sympathy are two different animals and not many realize that. To sympathize is simply to feel bad for someone and to empathize is to truly feel the sorrow, pain, anger, frustration, and so on yourself. Not everyone is able to empathize with others and when you’re able to use that ability to help someone and it’s successful, it’s an amazing feeling.

Sometimes though, it takes a lot out of you when you feel too much and often times, there’s not much you can do to get away from that. Sometimes seeing or hearing about bad things happening around the world will get to you. When there’s so much weighing on you, it can pull you into pits of despair. Sometimes that very thing we may call a blessing one day, well it can feel like a curse the next. It can be really hard to separate yourself from the pain that surrounds you, especially when you yourself have things going on.

When you’re struggling, some may even tell you it’s okay to take a step back from everyone else and focus on your own life and while you know on some level that they’re right, this overwhelming sense of guilt haunts you. “But they need me! What if I can help?” And doesn’t it sometimes help us when we’re able to help others? Yes, sometimes helping another can heal your own soul and what a gift that is. Sometimes though, it can be too much to handle. How though, do you convince yourself to actually put yourself first?

There is a great cost to one’s self when you empathize with others. We don’t always see it or wish to acknowledge it. Sometimes we feel that is why we’re here, to help others so that they’re not alone, so that we might do some good in this world, especially when there’s so much hate surrounding us. But to open yourself up and allowing other’s lives to touch your own and get to you, well it changes you. It can become depressing, keep you up at night, make it hard to eat or push you eat too much, cause crying fits you don’t always understand, and cause damage to your well-being and relationships. People may ask, “Why do you always put other’s needs ahead of your own?” “Why can’t you tell people no?”

Some find their ability to empathize a great strength, for it takes a lot to be able to do this. To make yourself vulnerable really does take courage not everyone possesses. Some though, they feel it is a weakness to make yourself a “slave” to others emotionally, if you will. Some feel that it makes you weak to be that vulnerable, to feel that much, and to allow it to drag you down. I feel, after really thinking about it these many years, that it is both, for me at least. I think it can make me strong, especially when it allows me to truly help another, to make things better for someone, even if just a little. I hate seeing people in pain, of any kind, especially those closest to me. If I can help ease their pain at all, I am glad to do it, most days. There are times when I feel it does hinder me though. There are times when I feel like it’s too much and that it’s taking its toll on me. Sometimes I do feel weakened by it.

I will admit that there are times when there is so much going on and my mind feels as if it’s going to come unhinged. And while there’s some feelings of guilt for “abandoning” people who need me, sometimes I admit it is best when I shut myself out from those around me so that I can focus on me for a moment, so I can think and sort things out. Sometimes I need a breather, some time to relax and let the stress levels come down. Have you ever felt that way? Have you ever needed to walk away from everyone else for a little bit so that you could fix your own problems? Have you ever felt so dragged down by what everyone around you is going through that you feel like you’re about to lose control of yourself? What do you do when you feel these things? And how do you convince yourself that you’re not being a bad friend or relative? How do you convince yourself that it’s okay to look out for you before others sometimes?

Mostly, I do feel being, what some call an Empath, is a good thing. But yeah, it really can cost you. The trick is to find a healthy balance, but often times we don’t know how to achieve that. I think it’s a learning process, one we may never fully succeed at, but perhaps get better at as the years go by. Here’s to learning, growing, helping  one another, and yet not neglecting ourselves. May we get even a little bit better each day and finding ways to improve both our lives and those around us.

Life is one heck of an addiction

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When you think of addictions, it’s easy to turn your mind to drugs and alcohol. They’re definitely abused by many around the world. But, there’s so much more out there that consumes us, that we find hard to let go of, that we choose to let control us. It’s a choice we willingly make every day. What will be more important to us today and what will we do to hold onto it?

Sex, gambling, cults, wars, and other things can be addictive too. They can consume you and lead you to dark times. Ah and let’s not forget about caffeine! Many are addicted to that and don’t realize it, that is until and unless they don’t have it. Then you end up with migraines and not feeling so hot. If your body is used to it and you suddenly take it away, your body revolts. It’s one of the more innocent ones, but it’s still an addiction if you just have to have it. But, it’s all your choice. When people say that they don’t have a choice, they’re making excuses to hold onto their vices. It’s not easy to quit, to walk away, or to get help. In fact, it’s really hard, seemingly impossible. But, it’s always possible to get help, to find your way out of its grasp on you.

There are other addictions that many don’t even think of as such. Some of these are, but are not limited to, your career or relationships. How many times has someone said, “My career cost me my marriage or my relationship with my kids” or “When I was dating so and so, I lost my friends.”? Your career didn’t end your marriage, you did. You chose it over your marriage. Your relationship didn’t end your friendships, you chose your partner over them.

Addictions aren’t always easy to recognize. Sometimes they’re hidden in plain sight and are a part of our every day lives that seem commonplace. But, if something or someone becomes more important to us than everything else and we become so fixated that other things and people take a backseat in our lives, then there’s a problem.

I’ve struggled with addiction myself and I didn’t see it until way later. Part of that was because it wasn’t something many associate with addiction. It was hard to admit and own up to. Shame took hold and then anger, mostly at myself, but that I took out on others. Every single day I wake, I fight to keep a clear head, to keep my priorities straight. We all do, it’s just an easier battle for some than others. Life can be one heck of an addiction. So, what’s important to you today and what will you do to hold onto it?

Not All Abuse Is Physical

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Physical abuse is nothing to turn a blind eye to. It can break you, it can even kill you. It will leave lasting marks and not just the ones others can see with their eyes. I am by no means belittling those who have been physically harmed or are currently in that situation. It’s something that needs to be taken way more seriously than it is. I have not been physically beaten. In that way, I have lucked out. I have however known people who are close to me that have been through it. I have seen what it does to them, both physically and mentally. It’s a horrible thing to see someone go through. I hate violence, it’s such an ugly thing. Men, women, and children fall victim to violent acts daily and it breaks my heart. If I knew someone was being abused, I would not stay silent, thinking that it’s none of my business. I would step up and find a way to help.

Sexual abuse is not quite the same, but it is still physical and it’s also something that will leave scars no one can see. It will leave you changed and talking from experience, it sticks with you for the rest of your life. Even if you try to make peace with what happened, you never forget. This too is nothing someone should remain quiet about if they know someone is being put through this. I know some feel it’s not their business and some feel they may only cause more damage, but I can tell you that it’s vital to get someone out of situations like these. (I can’t watch Law & Order: SVU without feeling something.)

But, physical acts of violence are not the only forms of abuse. There are people that have never laid a hand upon another, but they have done great damage to those around them. Verbal abuse and neglect does damage to people as well, damage that leaves scars, damage that isn’t so easy to get over. It is hard to just come to terms that it’s not their fault somehow and it creates a lifetime of self doubt. Often times, the physical scars will heal, fade, and seemingly disappear, while the emotional damage it leaves behind sticks around. (though not always, sometimes the physical abuse leaves permanent damage as well.)

All forms of abuse are horrible for anyone to go through and it’s often not easy to speak up about it, either of fear or shame. I think it’s very important to do what we can to help others who have gone through or are going through it. It’s so easy to feel alone and isolated, like there’s no way out, no way to heal, and no way to possibly have a good life. “I’m damaged, too damaged. There’s no hope for me. I’ll always be this….” I have said and thought these things myself. And as someone who has struggled with overcoming the past myself, I find it vital to be there for others. There is always hope to get through and to find a way to heal, as long as there are others willing to reach out to them.

If you don’t feel like you can help, at least don’t make things worse. What we do and say may not always seem to resonate negativity to us, but it may just be causing harm to someone else. So, I want to impress the importance of watching what we do, how we act, and what we say. Don’t be the one who brings others down, even unintentionally. If somehow we find that we have hurt someone, then make amends. No one is perfect and we all have said and done things, whether intentional or not, that have hurt others. So when we cause harm, we ought to own up to it and do what we can to make things right. There is so much hate, violence, and cruelty in the world today and it only seems to be getting worse. So, I urge all willing to listen to do their part to not let it win, to instead let the light shine, to be beacons of hope and love. Let us all do our part to help one another heal.

How Do You Let Go?

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I am a person that believes in forgiveness, no matter who you are or what you’ve done, not just those that we feel are worthy of forgiveness. And I know I too mess up and seek that from others. So, if I want that from people, I know I should be able to do the same for them.

There are people in my life I still have a hard time fully forgiving. I have let go enough that I want them in my life and that just the thought of losing them tears me apart. And most days, things seem fine. But there are days when I realize the hurt is still there. How do you let go completely? How do you make it so that when the bad memories resurface, you’re not filled with pain and resentment?

I am nearly 37 years old and most of the things done to me were many years ago and yet when the memories make their way to the forefront of my thoughts, the pain feels new. I hate that the anger and hurt still exist within me. I have been praying, talking with God, for years and asking for healing. I wonder sometimes though if the pain will live with me forever and that is not something I want. I want to let go.

My parents tore my life apart from an early age and throughout my early adulthood. My dad preferred alcohol and secluding himself over bonding with his family. He has hurt many over the years, not just me. Many still cling to their anger and sense of betrayal when it comes to him and wonder why I don’t fully do the same. And I think they assume it’s just so easy for me, that I hold him in some false sense of being. I know what he’s done and the pain he’s caused. I am not blind. Some forget that I too suffered because of him.

He called me names, often insinuated that my mother cheated on him and that I wasn’t his daughter – though he always refused every offer to get a paternity test done, threatened my life more than once, put me down, didn’t contact me when I was with my mom – not even on OUR birthday, and just made me feel outright unloved. He seemed to feel zero shame for what he was putting me or any of us through. I still find it hard to understand him sometimes.

Though he sort of explained his behavior towards me and apologized when I was 21, things have have never been easy between us. I did reach out to him a few years ago, because despite everything, he is my dad and I love him. But, I must admit, I find it hard to write to him because when he does write back now and then, his letters are filled with anger at the justice system, family not being there, and life in general. He has burned so many bridges and hurt so many people and sometimes I wonder where his sense of humility is. I feel torn between being there for him and just walking away sometimes. I love him, so much and I have had horrible nightmares about losing him, ones that leave me in tears. But then, the past comes back to me sometimes and I feel so hurt still. Again I ask, how do I let that go?

My mom and I are in a wonderful place these days and I thank God for that. Our story isn’t any easier, in fact I think it might be a bit more difficult. When I was little, she and I were close. But then, when I was about seven or eight, things began to feel strained. I remember how often she made me feel alone, whether she was home with me or left me with someone else so she could go out. The worst was when she was in the same room with me and yet I felt so alone, it was like she was gone anyway. We’d gotten to a point where we no longer connected.

And when I was 10, things really took a turn for the worse still. She met a man at the State Fair, where she’d decided to work for the summer, so she could make some extra money. I know we needed it, she was raising me alone. When she first introduced him to me, I wasn’t sure what to think and then, I thought perhaps he could be a good guy, after all my mom liked him. In very little time, she had him move in with us. Months later is when things went terribly wrong.

He began to molest me and I finally got the nerve to tell my mom, after some time. She told me she’d confront him. In the end, it didn’t do any good and he kept doing it. After awhile, I told her again and still no change. The last time I told her, I was 13. She told me that if he did it again, he’d be out. Yet things still didn’t change and I’d had it. So, I wrote about what I was going through. A friend I had made while riding the city bus to school had noticed me writing it and saw how upset I was. She asked me what was wrong, so I showed her my notebook. She told me I needed to get help, only I didn’t know where to start. So when I was at school, a classmate also noticed I was upset and asked me what was wrong. I was surprised, she was someone I didn’t talk to much and yet, I showed her what I’d written on my way to school. She told me we needed to go the school counselor, so I went with her. I showed him what I’d written and by the end of the day, I was taken from my home.

I stayed with a friend and her family for a couple of days and then I was put into foster care. My mom had been given a choice the night the cops got involved and she chose him. He was arrested, but after he was released until the trial, she let him live with her. I felt so betrayed and part of what still sticks with me is that her mom looked the other way too. She was sexually abused by my grandfather and my grandma didn’t do anything. She wasn’t there for my mom or my uncles when they needed her and now my mom was doing the same thing to me. My mom still hasn’t totally let her pain and anger go either and yet she was able to break my heart. It’s still a sore subject between us, what happened when I was a teenager. She didn’t know how to be there for me, I get that more now than I did back then. Mental health issues run in my family and I know how hard it can be some days to be a good parent and even tougher still when your child is going through it too. But, the pain I feel over what happened is still so real. And like my dad, I have nightmares about losing her and they hurt me every time. I cry at the thought of losing her. She means so much to me, more than I could ever say. I want to let it all go, all of it, but I don’t know how to fully do so. How do you it? Is it really possible for me to not feel the pain anymore?

And, another thing I wonder about sometimes is how can you be overall be so very happy with your life the way that it is and yet still miss parts of the past, especially parts it feels like I shouldn’t? How does one put the past where it truly belongs, in the past, and leave it there? I know we all remember things from our past from time to time, there’s nothing wrong with that, unless one is still trying to live in it. The good and the bad, it’s done and I don’t to dwell on it. The pain exes caused me and that I caused them, the good times I had with them, the friends I left behind and the ones who walked away from me, the mistakes I made with my son and now the fear I’ll let my baby down too, and so on. I want to live in the here and now while I am here to live it. Any advice? How have any of you let go and moved forward?

I feel so horrible sometimes that I still struggle with this, with the anger, the pain, and the inability to let it all go. I know I am only human and shouldn’t beat myself up, but sometimes it’s so hard. I love my family, all of them, and no matter what any of them has done or I have done, I just want us to be close. I want to remember daily that I am not the me I once was and that I am doing the best I can to not repeat those mistakes, especially the ones I made regarding my son. I want to show him constantly that I am here and my baby who will be born in April that I am going to be there from the beginning. I want my husband to know that I am trying the best I can to support him, be a good wife and partner, and that no matter what, we’re in this together. I want my friends to know that I am here and will do what I can to be a good friend and hope that they will do the same for me. Life is about today and making each one we’re given better than the last, about loving and being loved. I just struggle with dealing with things sometimes. I know we all do and I am not alone in this. Blame it on the hormones or just thoughts that have haunted me for years, but I needed to get this out. Any wisdom or thoughts are welcome and appreciated.

 

Rest In Peace, Marie Irene

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The tears have yet to dry, the sadness is still fresh upon our hearts when the news hits us that yet another friend has passed away. This one hits a little closer to home. This was someone I had talked to a lot over the years. Our sons had even become friends. It feels like yesterday when she and James were at our place celebrating Zach’s 6th birthday. A few years later, we got news that his dad had died. Suicide. 😦 She found him. She had to explain to her son that his dad was gone. All the while, she’s been battling Cystic Fibrosis. This young woman has gone through an awful lot and though we would go months without talking, when we would catch up, it would feel as if no time had passed. My heart is broken once more as I find that now it is she that has left us. Only recently, someone else I knew had passed. I didn’t know him well, but others I know did and my heart grieved for their loss. But now, I suffer a loss of my own as this time it’s also a friend of mine and what’s worse is thinking of James, now 11, who has lost both of his parents in just a few years time. There have been a lot of deaths within the various groups of friends that I have, many I haven’t known or known that well, but their deaths impacted many I know and so I felt pain. It is so sad, watching so many die around you. I know that life still goes on and that we best honor their memories by continuing to enjoy our lives while we have them to live. But, right in the very face of grief, that’s not so easy to think about. I do ask for prayer, for those that Marie has left behind to mourn her, most especially her son. She was so young. I am glad that she no longer suffers, but I really do miss her. Rest In Peace, sweet Marie Irene.

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