Why these 'little' notes?
Updated: Feb 5, 2019
If I have learned ANYTHING over the past year, it is that CHANGE is CONSTANT. It is the ONLY thing you can bet your money on. And CHANGE happens when it feels like it and on it's own terms and the way you maintain your sanity through it all is to accept the change, to become comfortable with the discomfort it may bring, and to resolve to be just as flexible as it is. Ultimately, to appreciate that you are not in control of it, but you are in control of YOU and YOUR RESPONSE to it.
On January 9, 2018, life came crashing into me out of nowhere and rocked me to my core. Literally. I was hit from behind in a motor vehicle accident on my way to work that morning, sustained a concussion, and a traumatic brain injury. And I haven't been the same since... It's crazy hard. To type. To read. To accept. To share with the world. But, it's true. Honest. Transparent. MY Reality.
And I had to figure something out. FAST. My life was falling apart at warp speed and I had no clue how to even begin to pull myself back together. And without realizing that I'd be learning a lesson about anything, I set out to adjust just a little : how I saw myself, how I loved myself, and how I took care of myself, because I knew I'd been doing a pretty poor job of it for so long. And because now, I had the time. And because if I didn't set aside some of that time for myself every single day, that time would be devoured by tasks and appointments and obligations and cooking and carpooling and cleaning and mom-ing and wife-ing and friend-ing and 'who knows what else-ing.'
I set out to do one thing for myself every day: to honor and nourish myself by writing a self- care note. That's it. Five minutes. Just one little note- and I'd post it on Instagram for accountability because otherwise I'd find any reason not to write that note and because I knew the "InstaThugs" would totally call me out on it if I didn't. #eyeroll The more notes I shared, the more comments, DMs, and emails I received from people I'd never met. Sharing their whole life stories, their hurts, their struggles with mental health, their failed friendships, their marriages that were coming to an end, their childhood traumas and the paralyzing guilt that came with attempting to prioritize themselves and to practice self- care.
And I realized now, more than I ever had in my career as a mental health professional, that people are out here HURTING, y'all. They are walking around carrying the weight of the world on their shoulders, with smiles plastered across their perfectly "beat" faces and the cheeriest "Have a blessed day-s" you will ever hear. But they are struggling with their kids and their spouses and their jobs and their finances and their physical, mental, and emotional health and the disconnect between their hopes and dreams and their current realities. The difference between what they thought their lives would be and what it really is. The difference between what they thought they wanted and what they actually got. The difference between what they prayed and cried out to God for, and what they are currently experiencing. The fact that the gift they so desperately craved, arrived from Amazon on their front doorstep, not in the customized gift- wrapping they'd paid for and expected, but in the beaten up, tattered, brown cardboard box that looked like it's been through some thangs. #forreal
It's not you, it's Me.
And because people are hurting, they are hurting others: lashing out at their kids and accusing their spouses and attacking their friends and "mean-girling" co-workers and being evil in peoples' Instagram comments and getting aggressive with the Starbucks barista for messing up their Venti green tea Frappuccino, half almond milk, half nonfat, no classic, 8 scoops matcha, no whip, double cupped, double blended. #stopbeingextra
It's not them, it's Me.
I realized quickly that when people are lashing out at innocent people, it has everything to do with them and absolutely nothing to do with the victims of the tongue- lashings. It has everything to do with their repressed feelings and nothing to do with the person they just gossiped about. It has everything to do with her own insecurities about her looks and nothing to do with the gorgeous woman who just walked by that she's rolling their eyes at and calling "stuck up." It has everything to do with her fear of being overlooked at work for management opportunities because she's had to leave work early twice this month to pick up her sick toddler from daycare and nothing to do with her coworker who doesn't have kids yet and seems to be moving up the corporate ladder much quicker than she is.
It's not her, it's Me.
And in helping others come to this realization as an "InstaTherapist" (I totally just made that word up), I had to do some soul- searching of my own and I encourage you to do the same in your quiet time alone.
Ask yourself these questions:
Have I been feeling stressed, overwhelmed, frustrated, angry, moody, or short-tempered lately?
In which area(s) of my life have I been experiencing these feelings?
Have my relationships with important people in my life become strained, tense, or uncomfortable?
In what ways could my personal stressors have effected these relationships or caused me to act out of character?
How do I accept responsibility for my actions, ask for forgiveness, and begin to repair the damage that has been done?
How do I move forward without making the same mistakes?
will I be intentional about taking better care of myself and my emotions so that I do not create a pattern of hurting the people that I love and care about?
It's hard work. It's heart work. It's necessary work. And if you allow it, being mindful and doing the work will change you for the better and lead you to your purpose. Because what you continue to deny cannot heal. Because you are constantly growing and learning and healing. And because there are people out there depending on you to grow and learn and heal so that you can help them do the same.
So that's why "these 'little' notes." Because these little notes have literally saved my life. They've given me a reason to get out of bed and push through every single day. And my purpose is to share them with you.
Love Y'all (like soooo much),