#relationships, Self-Help, Thoughts, Uncategorized

Too Many Friends = Too Much Drama

Have you ever noticed that the smaller your world becomes, the easier it is to manage emotionally? I feel that way these days, as I go to work and home, home and work, with very little in between. I see my children, my boyfriend, maybe a couple of friends here or there, and that’s it. I keep it tight. I have, as my sister used to say, “Circled the wagons.”

She told me that circling the wagons was the the best methodology to avoid drama. The more people you interact with, and have in your direct sphere, the more chances there are for drama. While I thought that seemed sort of grim and isolating at the time, I now realize she had a point. It’s a self-preservation thing.

I think back, for example, to when I was the most social I’ve ever been as a parent (we can’t go all the way back…even though, obvi, I wish I could and stay there #ihearthighschool). So it was when I had my first child, and he was 2. I was so busy out and about with girlfriends, meeting at the playground with moms, going to “Mommy and Me” at the library, and chatting for hours on the phone. I remember I even had to get a new data plan on my cell phone, because I was on it too much. Now, I sort of hate talking on the phone, unless it’s Facetime over wine. 🙂

Anyway, at that time, there were all these fights and paranoia and, “Don’t say anything but…,” or, “No offense, but…,” and “Oh, you weren’t invited?” etc.

It drove me INSANE.

Like, I was 40-years-old and legit cried to my partner about a girl fight! I was 40–and in eighth grade! I was so crazed, in fact, about this one fight, that I literally lost my geographical bearings and drove straight over the Bourne Bridge off of Cape Cod, where I live, headed towards Boston. I was, in short, deranged.

Um…now, circling back to my point of circling the wagons (double circle here), I never feel that anxiety anymore with my friends. I never feel that, “Oh my God, is she mad at me,” or that “Wait, what did I not get invited to” feeling. Ya’ know why? ‘Cause I do nothing! Yeah, that’s right. Naturally, the pandemic has something to do with it. But, even before that, I have found that keeping my social interactions to a minimum has made me feel more at peace. This seems counterintuitive, as I am super social and gregarious and I’m not good at being alone. But, keeping it tight and small, that’s the way to go…for me.

That’s the one issue I have with social media. It’s like the tight circle is inevitably larger, because you are seeing what everyone else is doing, which you are not a part of. Suddenly, your small circle is now 800-people wide (well, except the algorithms make is so I see the same 10 people). Sometimes, I’ll see two people I know socializing, and I’ll feel this sense of FOMO, like I’m missing out.

But, then, I get over it.

And I feel okay and am grateful for the peace.

It’s kind of too bad it is that way, but, I mean, for me it was. How about you?

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Becoming Your Ideal Self to Avoid “Hell”

I just heard this quote about the definition of hell: “On your last day on earth, the person you could have become will meet the person you became.

I saw this on the HBO docuseries, The Vow, and that creepy cult leader, Keith Raniere, told one of his followers that. It did resonate (as I imagine all of his teachings may have resonated with me, since I’m a perfect cult victim). And it is seriously one of my biggest fears: to not become what I could be. I have FOMO on my ideal self.

Psychologists say that this disparity between your actual vs. your ideal self creates something called cognitive dissonance, which is at the root of depression and anxiety. Hm. No WONDER I am anxious! Good thing I just figured out all of my issues…

Um, no. BUT, I guess it’s good to reflect on this idea of the actual vs. ideal self maybe, like, once a month? Too much? Okay, let’s be a little easier on ourselves (it is 2021, after all), and let’s observe ourselves like every six months. We can ask: Where are we now? Where do we want to be? What do we have to do to get there?

We can make Inspiration Boards (I have tried that), and we can write down our goals. However, the real work comes with action and commitment: committing to those goals and that ideal self.

We CAN get there. But, it takes a lot of work and sacrifice–sacrificing the moment and immediate gratification.

I remember in college I went through a serious bout of depression. I had just broken up with my first real love, and I was a shell of a human. I didn’t eat, I didn’t sleep, and I had irrational fears, like I may launch myself into the subway tracks (even though I would never want to do that). I know that’s crazy. Don’t judge! I’m being vulnerable here! I got over it, but a lot of my depression then was that I had lost myself and was not the person I wanted to be. The ideal me was very far from the actual me.

Now, I feel good about myself, but I’m a work in progress and not my ideal. We all are, I think. I do believe if I were to meet my ideal self, I might be a little jelly and want to be her. I have to figure out how to get there, but it’s going to take some work.

I hope I have it in me.

Going to write down what I want to achieve to me the ideal me…so I can avoid that definition of hell!

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Forgiveness: Why and What’s Forgivable? I Want to Know.

Everyone is talking about forgiveness and self-love today as we enter a new year. I hate when people say, “I heard this on NPR,” but I did, in fact, hear it on NPR– a conversation about forgiveness this morning. Essentially, two of the guests agreed that we have to forgive, even is no apology is made or elicited, to stop the stress cycle and allow us to heal and progress. There was a reference to looking forward and living with “forwardness.” I did always like that quote about if you live in the rearview mirror, you’ll soon be going that way. Don’t ask me who said it, because it was actually a fortune cookie message I received and have since pasted to my refrigerator to remind myself to live in the present.

I often have to remind myself of this. In fact, I wear this ring. See the inscription? “Live in the Here and Now.” My niece got it for me. I am terrible at doing this.

So back to forgiveness… By forgiving, you’re embracing peace, love and joy. You are helping your body to de-stress and stop producing cortisol (this was the scientific reasoning for forgiveness). And, you’re giving your mind a break, a chance to rest.

I do think I’m forgiving, but like what is not forgivable, I wonder? I mean, I think murder would be one. I couldn’t get over that. I could probs forgive cheating and lying, if it came with some level of contrition. What else? Um…I’d forgive stealing and hurting my feelings occasionally (not all the time). I’d be super bummed if you lit my house on fire.

I can’t really think of other things right now. Currently, I have forgiven most everyone I know for any wrongs I perceived or experienced. It feels good. Sometimes, I look backwards and feel those pangs of hurt and resentment, because, well, I’m human. And I get angry. And then swallow that anger, and it just manifests itself in heinous ways, like anxiety. YAY!

Forgiveness gives you your power back. Don’t be a victim. Try to empathize with the offender. When someone is mean to my children, I tell them, “Well, maybe feel sorry for him/her, because they are obviously hurting and sad inside to treat you this way.”

“Hurt people hurt people.”
That’s a good quote.

How do you know if someone is hurt when you meet them though? How many chances do you give them?

That’s a whole other question. What do you think?

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Happiness is…Not A Given Everyday! S’okay.

Life is hard. I hard that in a podcast yesterday, referencing the first sentence in Dr. M. Scott Peck’s bestselling book The Road Less Traveled. He said it’s important to reinforce that idea these days when we all think we need to be happy or we are doing this life thing all wrong.

That’s simply not true.

Whaaaat?

Sometimes, for maybe a day, or maybe a few years, we won’t be happy, because LIFE IS HARD, and things come up (a pandemic, a breakup, hating a job), but it doesn’t mean it won’t get better, or that you’re doing something wrong. It is just another piece to this big puzzle, and it is mercurial and evolving. Being happy is not somethings we can always maintain, despite our wishes for “a happy pill!”

I thought about that this morning when I went to let the dogs out early, and it was kind of rainy and damp, and I felt a sadness wash over me. I then thought back to yesterday, when I was at peace on a walk, and feeling so optimistic, because it was a beautiful and warm sunny day on the ocean (oh, and a vaccine may be coming and the election is over…sort of). It struck me how nothing had really changed since yesterday, so I thought I should shift my feeling to being happy. Ya know, ‘cuz it’s that easy!

Yesterday

But I did not. I decided to sit with my feelings and to accept them for what they were. Because life is hard, and we can’t expect so much! We may have to just let things be and ride the wave without impressing our own harsh judgments.

Easier said than done, I know. But something to consider, nonetheless. Remind yourself that the end game is to survive and enjoy MOST, but not all, of the ride. If we didn’t know sadness, we would not know joy!

Actual Joy Pictured

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It’s Okay to Cry

I have cried, I think, once a day for the last seven days. That’s unusual for me…now. In my 20s and 30s, I am pretty sure I cried every day. I remember one of my close guy friends told me he hadn’t cried in several years, and I was befuddled. I was like, ‘HUH!? You must be so repressed! What is happening!?”

So I used to cry about big life things, such as, “I am never going to find ‘the one,'” and ‘Why can’t I figure out what I want to do with my life?” Ya know, your basic lame, white girl problems when you’re still on the dole of your Dad.

I know I’m 28, but can you send me my rent?

Now, I cry about things like when my son and I were walking the dogs last night, and he told me that my ex-husband probably married me for my looks, but “those have lowered.” Or, when I miss my long-distance boyfriend, and it hurts. Or, that I don’t always fit in.

I am not sad, really, no. I am just in-tune with my emotions, I guess?

I cried, too, this week when I saw my daughter sleeping next to me, as she does every night, and she’s so big now. She’s almost 8. I know, I know; she should sleep in her own bed. But, I’m alone, and I like to touch her ankles with my cold feet, and to hear her breathing, as I did when she was an infant and wouldn’t nap unless I lay down with her. I cried, because I remembered how tiny she was, in her zebra, zip-up, onesie, and how she smelled of powder and cornsilk on her fine hair. And how, at that time, things were so different, and I didn’t envision co-parenting and sleeping alone on Wednesdays.

The point I guess I’m trying to make is, it’s okay to cry, even if you’re happy. The tears stream down, cleanse you of those thoughts, and you can move on. People seem so concerned with appearing happy. I guess I’m just here to say, well, it’s okay to cry…