Late last night I found out that someone I cared deeply about had passed away earlier in the day.  Her passing wasn’t so much of a shock as the timing (Mother’s Day) and the feeling that I’d somehow been cheated.  See, I was going to visit her soon.  I’d been saying that for over a year… but something always “came up”.  Now I won’t see her again until Heaven.  When I cry today (and I will cry), it will be as much for that missed opportunity as it will for missing her.  I could have gone, just once.  Woulda coulda shoulda…

However, I am working on not dwelling on woulda coulda shoulda.  I have spent too much of my recent past (last five years) living in the past.  This is a waste; I can’t change it.  The very fact that I fantasize about a time machine instead of working on doing better now is a sign that I don’t have a very healthy connection to this aspect of happiness.

On the other hand, to keep saying that I’m going to do something “in the future” is just as vain.  As I was just forcibly reminded, tomorrow isn’t promised.

Far too often I waste my right now with regret or empty hope.  It’s time to change that attitude, step-by-step.

First, when the past rears its ugly head, I’m not going to dwell on it.  I’m going to make sure I’m not repeating a past mistake.  If not, then I’m going to move on.  If I am, then I’m going to make a plan to change what I’m doing.

Second, I’m going to stop waiting for tomorrow to do things.  “I’m going to start eating better… tomorrow.”  Why not start eating better today by putting down that cookie?  “I’m going to do more things with the kids when I have more money.”  Why not find things I can do with them for free right now?  “I’ll do better about being positive once I’ve fixed these other things in my life.”  Why not make a small change to improve my attitude along the way?

Third, I’m going to make a plan every day.  It’s okay if the plan isn’t perfect (I have a bad habit of spending more time in research and planning than in doing), but I need a roadmap.  Plans are there for guidelines; it’s okay if they’re altered.  It’s like taking a cross-country trip (I’ll use this analogy a lot).  You plan ahead of time, figure out where you’re going, etc.  But when you take the actual trip, you enjoy each moment and (hopefully) every little detour.  That’s how I want my life to be.

Finally, I’m going to stop complaining about things.  If I don’t like what’s happening, change it.  Can’t make an immediate change?  Take five minutes to make a plan (no more than three steps) to change it and then let it go for now (you know you just sang a Disney song in your head).  If I can’t change it at all (like divorce orders, for example), then I’m going to have to change how I think about it.  Period.

“If  you don’t like something, change it.  If you can’t change it, change the way you think about it.”  — Mary Englebret

If you see me complaining on this blog, call me to task!  Ask me for a plan to fix it.

I’m going to go make a quick plan for my day and then I’m going to spend a day off social media in honor of living in the moment.  My reader, Alice, has been leaving me comments about how she’s doing better off social media and I’m feeling challenged.

What will you do today?

I missed my post yesterday, so I’ll be doing two today.  I don’t want to get behind and I think each step is important enough to not miss.

Today I’m taking an emotional inventory.  Over at the UCR Wellness Center, there are several items listed in their inventory:

  • Am I able to maintain a balance of work, family, friends, and other obligations?
  • Do I have ways to reduce emotional stress in my life?
  • Am I able to make decisions with a minimum of stress and worry?
  • Am I able to set priorities?

I would add a few of my own:

  • Am I able to be emotionally vulnerable to someone (anyone)?
  • Have I forgiven those who’ve hurt me in the past?
  • Have I asked forgiveness from those I’ve hurt in the past?
  • Does the slightest stress send me into a tailspin?

I’ve always been an emotional type.  I’m highly sensitive and I have more than my share of hormones to boot.  In an emergency, I shift gears, but outside of emergencies, little things can send me into a complete funk.  I’d say that means I’m lacking in emotional health.

I don’t have a balance of work/family/friends/life.  My life consists of work, Facebook, and weekends with my kids.  That’s about it.  No balance.  I need to start making friends.

I do have ways to reduce stress in my life.  One thing that having ulcerative colitis has actually been good for is that I work pretty consistently at reducing my stress.  I read, write, watch movies, go for a run, workout… it’s not perfect (where’s the bubble bath?), but it helps.

I can set priorities, but I’m not very good at keeping them.  I’ll need to work on that.

I’m not emotionally vulnerable to anyone and I really don’t trust people.  I can name four people in my life over the last five years who hurt me badly enough that I still cry myself to sleep over it a few nights a month.  Obviously, I haven’t forgiven them either.  I’m trying; I make a point of forgiving them daily.  But it’s not sticking.  I’m not sure about asking people to forgive me.  I’m sure there are people I need to ask, but I’m not sure who.

So… I have some work to do.  I’m not even sure where to start.  Two of the people I need to forgive have completely blocked me out of their life.  I’m pretty sure there’d be a restraining order if I went to talk to them (or even tried to call or email them).  The forgiveness is going to have to come from me without any outside help.  One of those people says he’s forgiven me, but makes it clear that not hurting me is not anywhere in his priorities.   There’s only one person I can actually do anything about.  I guess I’ll need to start there.

Here are my three short-term, medium-term, and long-term goals for emotional wellness:

Short-Term (3 Months)

* Talk to person #4 about forgiveness and open the lines for healing

* Do Beth Moore study “Get Out of That Pit”

* Count to ten before I react emotionally in times of stress

Medium-Term (1 Year)

* Make stress relief a daily part of my life

* Spend more time on the good things in my life than the bad

* Open up to someone and be vulnerable

Long-Term (5 Years Plus)

* No more crying to sleep

* Either heal my damaged bridges or leave them in the past

* Balance work, family, friends, and life


Are you coming on this journey with me?  Go do your honest assessment, then make your three goals in the three areas.  You can do it.  We can heal emotionally.