Hey you! Come sit down with me for a minute and let’s chat. I think there is something you need to hear.

I have some good news and I have some bad news.

The bad news is that you cannot fix everything. No matter how hard you try to make any given situation better, it just won’t happen. The adage “you can do anything if you try hard enough,” is pretty much just a bunch of BS.

The good news is that you cannot fix everything.

Wait a second…

I know what you’re thinking: not being able to fix everything strongly belongs in the bad news column. The reality is, that it belongs in both.

You’ve spent so much of your time doing whatever you can to help make things better, but I know you’ve realized that it was all futile. You cannot help those that don’t want to be helped. You cannot teach those to listen that don’t want to learn. You cannot help those to understand when instead they just want to hide.

So, you’re going to set some boundaries. You’ve already started to do this in other facets of your life, but this last one is the hardest. This last area is where life as you know it began. This is where your heart will break.

People don’t usually like boundaries when they’ve never had them before. You will be the bad person. You will be the mean person that doesn’t like anyone. You will be impatient, judgmental, and distant. It will be your fault.

Then again, it has always been your fault, so you’re used to that old trope.

Your boundaries won’t be seen for what they truly are: protection. Protection from deeper heart break. Protection of what positive memories you have. Protection of the child within your heart.

So, while it is bad news that you can’t be The Fixer for everything, the good news is that not being The Fixer can also set you free.

Coping with the Aftermath of an Emotional Trigger

Have you ever had one of those moments where something completely innocuous is the trigger for a release of emotions that you had no idea were stored in your body?

Whether it be a movie, a story you’ve over heard, or just a situation you witnessed, afterwards you find yourself feeling just a little off. You’re not sure why, but you can’t seem to put a name to how you’re feeling.

Then, suddenly, you get it. You know exactly why you felt off, and you are overcome with emotions.

This has happened to me twice in my lifetime, one in regards to a movie I saw, and the other time was because of a story that was told to me. Both situations uncovered emotions I had buried so far down, I didn’t know they existed.

In each case, my reaction was the same: almost uncontrollable bawling, coupled with an absolute release of energy with each sob. It was if each time I cried out, I could honestly feel a weight being lifted off my shoulders. Talk about a trip! Years of therapy to “get through” things, and a movie of all things is what does the trick? Somebody call my therapist! I need a refund.

When confronted with situations like this, when you are overcome with emotions, there are a few things to do to take advantage of the opportunity to heal:

First, let it all come out. Give yourself the space to grieve, to cry, to be angry, to be sad. Don’t put a timeline on it. You need to allow your body the time to recognize what it is feeling, and let it go. Typically, a trigger will cause an immediate outburst that forces you to pay attention and focus on the emotions right that minute. Honestly, that is the best-case scenario too.

The second thing you want to do when you’re focusing on all the emotions flowing, is to really embrace it. Acknowledge your emotions, and don’t try to push them away. I mean, seriously, pushing them away is most likely what caused the outburst in the first place, right? Feel your emotions. If you’re sad, be sad. If you’re angry, be angry. Just feel. Just observe. Just be.

The third thing I would suggest doing, and it may just be the most important, is to be kind to yourself. Don’t berate yourself for crying, or believing you’ve shown weakness (the complete opposite is actually true). Once you’re finished crying, don’t try to distract yourself with a project in hopes that it will help (it most likely won’t). Be with the emotional outburst. Be with the thoughts and feelings you’ve released. Be with the renewed sense of self that remains.

I can’t say that I am the biggest fan of emotional outbursts, but I am huge fan of the results. Crying makes my face splotchy, my sinuses clog up, and my eyes swell. (News flash: I’m a fugly crier.) However, when the outburst is all said and done, I spend time with my heart and my soul. I recognize the shift that happened, and I am grateful for the opportunity to be free of such pain and such a weight. It gives me a new perspective on what is going on around me, and gives me the capacity to be more understanding of those I love, and those I come into contact with.

I hope when you find yourself in such a situation, where some random thing triggers an abundance of emotions, you find the capacity to be kind to yourself. I hope you take the opportunity to heal and to be free, because I know you won’t regret it.

Dear Toddler (aka Ruler of My Sanity),

Man, we had a good thing going! You were a strong sleeper, you listened and followed directions, and you loved running around. Suddenly, though, I’m starting to feel as if I missed the memo where you told me you were no longer interested in doing those things. Perhaps you decided life was too boring? Maybe you felt like you were being repressed, and figured you’d embrace the adage of “misery loves company?”

I’m all for pushing boundaries, and figuring out what works for you as an individual, but something has got to give. And by “give,” I don’t mean me losing my mind. Who knew that parenting was such a battle of wills? Unfortunately, I find that I have less and less of a desire to put up with the bullshit. If I was dealing with an adult, I’d be able to give the situation the finger and walk away. Clearly, that battle strategy would work with adults, as they can most often figure it out for themselves. Sadly, this is a poor strategy with children. I find myself repeating that you’re only two, and that this isn’t personal; it is growth. More often than not, the reminder doesn’t stop my tears flowing. I’m trying, I really am.

Your father and I often laugh at what we consider “toddler logic.” We know that at this age, logic is nowhere near a consideration. Because of that, we find humor where we can. When you put a bucket on your head to hide, or when you stand behind the curtains without realizing your feet are clearly showing. When you’ve decided to pretend you can’t hear me, and I catch your smirk in the mirror. Or, in those moments where in the span of two seconds you tell me you want your shoes off, only to lose your mind when I take them off, screaming that you wanted them on! Toddler logic…

I know this is a phase, and that in a year from now I’ll hardly remember how hard it seems things are right now. However, right now, mommy needs a drink.

I love you, baby girl.

My “Do Not Do” List

I get that New Years is when people make their goals for the year in hopes of actually carrying through that year. While the first day of a new year provides a fresh slate, I actually prefer to use my birthday as the first day of that next new year. At the end of every August, I determine what I would like to accomplish, and if I’m being honest, I am sure my success rate is similar to those that start on January 1.

However, this year I’ve decided that I’m not going to create a To Do list. Instead, I’m going to create a Do Not Do list. While I’m a huge fan of being productive (if anyone figures out how to relax, let me know; I need to learn), and checking things off my list make me smile, I have found that as I move through life, there are things I need to stop doing.

First on that list? I need to stop being so hard on myself. I’m sure those that know me will find this one laughable, only because being hard on myself is second nature to me. I hold myself to an excessively high standard, and while in some cases it has served me well, in others it has only served to cut me off at the knees before I even get started. So, enough with it.

Second would be to stop feeling guilty for nothing. I cannot think of a more useless emotion than guilt, and I’m over feeling guilty for nothing. I need to embrace the fact that saying, “no” is a sentence on its own, and I don’t have to feel bad when I don’t want to go along with the flow. Now, if I’m a complete asshole, I’ll accept the guilt, but feeling guilty simply because I have my own path? Forget it.

Third, and last, would be to stop holding myself back. I want to learn to be comfortable with feeling uncomfortable. I don’t want to shy away from anything, simply because I’m afraid. I’ve made some pretty big strides in being vulnerable, and getting myself out there, but I have yet to fully embrace the magic of being uncomfortable. Because of it, I keep myself on a pretty short leash. Now that it’s on my Do Not Do list, I am cutting that cord.

I’m becoming a firm believer that it is never too late to start. That age or circumstance isn’t what holds you back, as much as it is your mind and your attitude. I’m excited for the next adventure!

Onward and upward!