Hating anyone is not in my vocabulary. Then there are those isolated moments when the boundaries aren’t so clear. I’m suggesting one of those mama bear moments. I think I almost hated those 2nd and 3rd-grade prep school girls who blocked empty seats on the bus, preventing my kindergartener from sitting down next to them. The courage on my small daughter’s face made my heart sink so completely that I waddled up the bus stairs, I was seven months pregnant with twins at the time, and gave those girls a crash lesson on the fine points of social etiquette. Then, I turned to the bus driver and nearly exploded. How could he allow such behavior to go on?
I fled the bus but not before turning to observe what followed. My child fought back tears. I know I embarrassed her not allowing her to save face. I immediately called the school with a solid recommendation; how to prevent mean girl bullying in our schools.
Heartsick I was, as the hours were ticking away, imagining how my daughter was coping. I was waiting for the school day to be over. As soon as she came home, I explained my motivation to protect her that morning and recognized how awkward she must have felt. “You’ll understand when you become a mother one day—and you’ll do just as I did to protect your child.” That small girl is 35 years old today and a mama bear to her own cub. Not a waste of time.
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Tolerance When Life Gets Tough
I have a good heart that doesn’t leave room for hatred. That means I have enormous tolerance and then none. I have no tolerance for meanness, cruelty, abuse, or petty behavior. It’s where I draw the line and how I choose to live my life.
There are times when struggles seem unmanageable or insurmountable, and then I’ll break down and cry. Crying can be healing. For whatever is tormenting me, I know that at the right moment, there will be relief from inconsolable anguish and I’ll begin to heal.
I also know that Scooby doo bandaids don’t cover every hurt. That’s why we have friends. Friends that help to heal a broken heart when time is taking its time. We’re lucky if our friends are like sisters and our sisters are like friends. They understand the comfort that springs from compassion. They hold you steady, wrap you with moral support, and calm you with the warmth of their smile. We learned early on that a hug and a kiss can mend an open wound—at least make it hurt less.
Healing a Broken Heart
The night my mother died, I thought I would die too. The pain from the loss was so unbearable; I couldn’t climb my way out of grief. Then a friend of mine took me aside and begged me to consider—“Would you, she asked, have given up one precious moment with your mother, so the pain now would be less intense?” The answer of course was, “No. I wouldn’t have.” My friend found just the right words and sentiments to take me out of my misery so I could feel alive again. But that’s what friends do. They listen, they understand, they think about you, worry about you, pray for you and stand beside you.
Our children give us reason to go on, even when life seems unbearable. My young daughter recognized my sorrow and offered her sweet empathy. Patting my back she said, “Please don’t be sad that your mommy died. After all, everyone else is alive.” Amazing that somehow this little one knew that there’s life after loss and so much to live for. I needed to change my focus. I began to write—pouring my emotions into a story about my mother. Seven months later, I became pregnant with my twins. I always held the belief that my mother sent those babies to me. When my twins were small, people would ask me, “What’s it like having twins?” For starters, “There’s always someone crying.”
On occasion there are just no words that can lift us up from despair. That’s when Chocolate Raspberry Truffle ice cream can do its magic– helping us to find our way back to serenity. If we gained a few pounds, in the meantime, well, that’s a crying shame. No use crying over spilled milk. Weeping, wailing, whimpering, sobbing, it’s really OK to cry out for help. It’s more healing than crying alone. Unless, of course, you cry wolf. Then you’re on your own.
Mending a Broken World
It’s been an incredibly long six months of 2020 and one thing has become clear – we live in a broken world. It took a global pandemic to highlight where we’ve gone wrong and to shine a light on inequality, intolerance, and the separation that is our reality. I cannot ever claim to fully understand how those who have been oppressed feel but I’m sure it’s just as instinctive as a mama bear feels when her cub is threatened. An unrelenting need to right wrongs, fight injustices, and speak up for the voiceless. Perhaps this time of global crisis is our wake-up call – a time to take that action to heal a broken world. And just like when healing a broken heart, we need each other to offer comfort, share wisdom, and find compassion. By standing together we strengthen our empathy and have a chance to mend this broken world.
5 Tips for Healing During Difficult Times
The most difficult times are the greatest teachers. Not just individually but collectively. Tough times not only offer us a chance to learn and grow but also to heal past wounds. That is an opportunity we are all being presented with this year – whether you use it or not is up to you. The following tips are sure to help you heal during difficult times. And it’s surely needed, as it seems like the whole of 2020 is a tough time. Whether you’re literally healing a broken heart or just trying to do what you can to mend this broken world, these ideas will help:
Don’t Avoid Your Feelings
Just like healing a broken heart, trying to heal during difficult times means acknowledging the experience and feeling those negative feelings. Trying to avoid negative feelings isn’t healthy and just prolongs your heartbreak. You need to work through your emotions not try to find a way around them. There are numerous ways to face your feelings head-on. I chose journaling which was hugely cathartic to me but meditation helps as well.
Another way to feel your feelings is to talk about them. There’s a reason therapy involves plenty of talking because bottling up your feelings is not conducive to healing. In fact, keeping things inside during challenging times can make things worse. This often leads to depression and anxiety. Speaking about your problems allows you to process them and allows others to provide feedback and advice as my friend did for me.
Make Time for Self-Care
Taking care of yourself is important for getting through tough situations such as healing a broken heart or standing up to injustices. As the saying goes, “you can’t pour from an empty cup” and it sure is the truth. Self-care is a tool that can be used at any time to help you deal with any situation.
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Asking for help is not a sign of weakness; it’s a sign of strength. You don’t need to deal with tough times on your own and you definitely don’t need to heal alone. Reach out to others and get the support you need when you need it. When we stand together in crisis we strengthen bonds and increase empathy towards one another. Even spending time in the company of animals can offer support and healing.
Don’t Let it Define You
Too often we allow our grief, pain, and despair to cloud our judgment and define our lives. You are not the difficult time you’re experiencing and you are not your broken heart. Challenging situations come and go even though it feels like it will never pass while you’re in the middle of it. Feel it. Acknowledge it. Accept it. Then let it go.
What ways have you found to heal during this challenging year?
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