Letting The Air Get At It (K.Blais)

An old wives’ tale speaks about letting a wound get air in order to heal better. Although medical opinion varies on whether on a wound site heals better covered or uncovered, I am of the belief that both physical and emotional wounds heal better when air is allowed to get in and the wound is given permission to breathe.

Hurt, betrayal, disappointment, embarrassment, and even humiliation have become emotional wounds common in life. Whether intentional or unintentional, because of simple negligence or ignorance, or because of malicious spite triggered by envy or revenge, wounds occur.

We are hurt by those we thought would never hurt us. We are betrayed by those who we believed had our back unconditionally. We are disappointed by how we are treated by others, especially when we would never treat them in the same way. We are embarrassed when we are called out in front of others, or when we are ridiculed when we least expect it. We are humiliated when we believe that what we thought would never happen to us, has indeed happened.

Image result for emotional wounds free pics

So, what do we do?

Some of us may bandage it all up, wrapping the damage of the wound tightly to us. We may hide the injury away, underneath a protective covering, hoping that in time the wound will heal on its own. And perhaps the wound will heal. It may disappear entirely with only a trace of a scar or it may seep for a long while, oozing within itself, barely contained behind the bandage that holds it, before eventually healing in its own way.

Some of us may decide not to cover the wound. We may let the wound remain open, airing it out, because we believe that when we can air out our wounds they will heal more quickly and with less oozing and scarring. We leave the wound open instead of covered, baring our injury, in the hope that air and time will heal.

Airing out an emotional wound requires courage. For some it may be talking to a trusted friend about our feelings. For others it may be writing or blogging about a troublesome issue, or in a less public forum, it may mean journaling or writing private letters. In any case, the airing out is important for those people to heal.

Airing out takes courage because sometimes people perceive us as angry. They may think that we are on a rant and pissed off again. They may think we are too sensitive, that we take too much to heart, that we need to let things go a bit more. They may tell us to focus on what really matters (which is entirely subjective), and to let things roll off our backs. And maybe they are right.

Maybe we are angry and pissed off. Maybe we are too sensitive, too heartfelt, and too conscientious about justice and fairness to others. Maybe we believe that the world needs to remember that everyone has feelings and those feelings should be valued no matter who you are or what you can or cannot do for someone else. Maybe we feel that being kind will always be more important than being right.

But that doesn’t make us wrong in feeling any of these ways. Airing or ‘talking’ about when we have been hurt, when we feel wronged, even when we feel insecure can help us face our own perspective, as well as to see and hear someone else’s. We can heal faster when we realize that we are not alone, that others have felt and will feel this same, or in a similar, way. We can learn from another person’s experiences, we can receive valuable advice, or we can simply hear “I get it. I understand.”

We may be embarrassed by our wounds. We may feel childish or juvenile. We may think that we appear weak or ineffective when we allow our wounds to be exposed for anyone else to see. We may feel that we are to blame for allowing these things and/or people to hurt us, in some cases repeatedly. We may even believe that perhaps we someone deserve to be wounded.

But, it takes a strong person to speak about hurt and betrayal. It takes strength and courage to reach out and to bare ourselves and our hurt to someone else. We may be allowing patterns to repeat themselves in our lives, but that is why it is so important to air out our injuries. When things hit the air sometimes the reasons for them become more obvious to us. We are able to reflect a little more clearly on ourselves and on the situation surrounding us. We can see and evaluate the truth about ourselves and others. We can learn, we can understand and be understood, and we can grow.

It may also take time, but airing out our wounds can allow us to heal more quickly and healthily. We will still continue to be hurt by others at times, this is most likely inevitable, but perhaps we can learn to allow the air to heal us. And perhaps we may also learn how to prevent a greater wound from taking place in the future.

(photo courtesy of steptohealth.com)

Calm Amidst Chaos (K.Blais)

Many of us find ourselves racing from the minute we get up in the morning to the minute we lay our heads down again at night. We rush to get up, to get breakfast and lunches made, and then we rush out the door to get to work or wherever the day may need us. We rush around at work trying to get things done, to achieve our own goals, and live up to our employer’s expectations. We rush home to our families to get supper on the table, to get to extra curricular activities, and then to get home again to get the kids and, eventually ourselves, to bed. Our day is filled with chaos, however organized it may be, and seldom do we feel or find any moments of calm.

It occurred to me today while chatting with a dear friend, that our lives are indeed chaotic and at some point there does seem to be a need to change that. In fact, my dear friend was the one who expressed this very need! Her statement got me to thinking: Where can we find calm amidst the chaos of our everyday lives?

For some of us, myself included, we rarely take time out for ourselves. We are so busy being a parent, a spouse, a friend, a (insert job title here), that we forget that before we were all of these things, we were a person first. Interesting how we can lose ourselves in being everything else to everyone else.

Now please don’t misunderstand, I am by no means implying that being those things to others makes us any less of a person, but when our responsibilities towards everyone else take priority to taking care of ourselves, even when we need it the most, that is where we can run into problems.

So, back to the question, where can one find calm when the world around us is chaos?

Surrounding yourself with positive people is a great place to start. Your closest friends should be your confidantes, your cheerleaders, the ones who go to bat for you when you can’t bat for yourself. Surrounding yourself with positive people will help you to avoid the trap of “falling into the negative” (a quote from my dear friend). And it’s ok to do fall from time to time; that’s where those positive people will help lift you up and get you righted on the waves of life again.

Calm may also mean finding something to do for you, whether it is to find a healthier lifestyle in regards to diet and exercise, or to find a hobby or pastime that you are passionate about. Decide that calm will be something that you do only for you. Think “Me Time”.

Don’t be afraid to take a break. Take some time away from your loved ones, even for a few moments, to take some deep breaths and to refocus yourself. Squirrel yourself away to read, to soak in a warm bath, or to just sit quietly to pray or meditate on life. Unplug from technology for a bit and try to remove yourself from the negativity society tries to ram down our throats. Instead, focus on the good, the uplifting, and the positive. These things can bring calm into your world in the simplest and smallest ways.

Our world will continue to be chaotic from time to time and not much may change that short of winning the lottery and moving to a deserted island. In reality, things may slow down a bit here and there, but the important thing to remember is that amidst the chaos calm can be found if you simply know where to look for it.

Live, Laugh, Love (K.Blais)

This week I tried something different.
I tried to take life a little less seriously. Oh, don’t worry, for those who know me well, you’ll know that this is definitely going to be a work in progress for me as I tend to normally do the exact opposite, but I was struck by a feeling today that really surprised me.
I had the feeling of being a little less burdened down by everything I had to do.
Like many of us, I’m sure, I get so caught up in ‘having’ to do this and ‘having’ to do that, that I forget to actually do the things that I enjoy and want to do. And when there doesn’t seem to be the time to do those things, I grow resentful and grouchy about everything else that I must accomplish and get done. I mean those things must be done and, many times, no one else is going to do them, right?
Another thought struck me – I can still make life fun and do what has to be done.
It may not seem like an overly brilliant thought, but it was a thought that hit home with me as I rushed from one location to another, trading one ‘job’ for another. I laughed at something I remembered hearing and it felt good! And I thought, ‘This isn’t so bad if I can find something to laugh or smile about!’
Sometimes that’s all we need – a good conversation with a friend, a hug from someone who loves us, a text from someone who cares, a remembered thought that makes us laugh and smile – to remind us that life is about living, laughing, and loving.
So with these new and semi-brilliant thoughts, I made some decisions as well.
I decided to forgive, even when I am truly hurt by someone’s words, actions, or inactions, by realizing that love is worth more than anger.
I decided to live for the people, issues, and things that I care about, believe in, and love, because they are my greatest blessings.
I decided to laugh more and sigh less. Yes, I sigh, a lot. I’m not sure how or when I started sighing so much, but I do. I walk into a room and I sigh so loudly that people either laugh and say in understanding, ‘Oh, yes, I hear ya!’ or frown and ask what’s wrong. Sighing isn’t usually a happy sound, but laughing is. I want to laugh more.
I decided to love people for who they are, including their faults. Yes, that’s right I am going to love their faults as well because that’s what makes them who they are. When others hurt, betray, or disappoint me, I am going to pray for the strength to love them through these difficult times because no one is perfect and I would want someone to love me when I make mistakes as well.
I am going to pray for those who I don’t understand, those I can’t seem to please, and those who continue to (seemingly) try to knock me down, because that is what they need – my prayers.
I am going to try to focus on the positive things in life and move away from the negative.
I am working to make peace with words and to do more of what I love.
I want to continue taking life a little less seriously and to live in the moment. I want to laugh loudly and to love unconditionally.
Life is for living and was given for us to enjoy, even at its most un-enjoyable moments, so I want to do just that.

Who Anchors You? (K.Blais)

My life has been a bit tumultuous lately – nothing extremely drastic, just a lot of continuous stress at work, deadlines with the course I am taking, and tons of running with the busy schedules of our lives.

I sat staring at my laptop screen for quite a while today, but I didn’t want to write about the things that “go wrong” yet again. I always worry, just a little, that when I write about those things that it could be interpreted as I am being ungrateful for my life and all the blessings which I have been given, when I feel quite the opposite actually. I worry that someone may misread my post as a plea for sympathy or, worse, attention. When I write about “those” types of days, weeks, or even months, my hope is that my readers will realize that it is an attempt to share my thoughts about these feelings, as a way of ‘venting’ so-to-speak, but also as a way for others to realize that if they have ever felt this way then they are not alone.

So I didn’t want to write about those not-so-great days which have occurred lately, but how do I get past what has been first and foremost on my mind as of late? I have always written what’s on my mind here and my readers have always seemed to appreciate and be able to connect with that. So, I will write about what’s on my mind, but I will also focus on the positive side of things: the anchors which have kept me afloat.

(image courtesy of Bing images)

I have had some stress in my life lately, but I am extremely grateful for my friends, colleagues, and my family for all the support which they have shown me. Things are not always easy in my profession. Some years we are faced with challenges that are beyond our realm of expertise and experience and we must learn how to cope and how to deal with them the best we can on a daily basis. Some days we feel stronger than others. It is on those not-so-strong days that we are held up by those who know us best. These are the ones that tell us what we are doing right, instead of pointing out (or agreeing with us about) what we are doing wrong. When we stumble and feel like we are about to fall, it is those people who reach out to us and offer us something to hold onto.

Sometimes I struggle to ask for help. I like to do things on my own for several reasons. One, I don’t like inconveniencing anyone or making them feel “badly” (also known as dragging them down), if I share my problems or concerns. Two, if things don’t work out I only have myself to disappoint or even to blame. Three, I don’t like people to worry about me or to think that I am not capable of handling things on my own.

Even writing these down I know how foolish they may sound when I put them into words. I know that we have been put on this earth to help one another and I know how much people who love you want to help. Sometimes, though, it’s hard to remember that and to accept help. I have realized how important it is to let someone listen, even if that’s all they can do. I am appreciative for all the listeners in my life. Some days just knowing that your voice is heard is enough.

Things are not always easy in the day-to-day of life as well. Some weeks I feel more like a train wreck than anything else. Even with the best of my intentions things go awry, people are disappointed, and things snowball out of hand. Schedules take over my life and there barely seems room to breathe, let alone anything else. Taking a step back and re-evaluating has proven helpful to me. Taking a “mental health” day is never a waste when it means that I can recognize that I need a break from the current stressors in my life. Allowing someone who offers to help to actually help is another way which I have found to lighten my load also. Sometimes it takes a while, but when I am able to recognize how and why people want to help, it’s much easier to accept the help they want to give. I am appreciative of all the helpers in my life. Some days getting a helping hand is enough to keep you going.

This post has been a bit all over the place, but thankfully none of my past English professors will read it (at least not to my knowledge). I guess what I have been trying to say is that sometimes stress and “life” gets us down, but we need to remember that there are people who want to listen and who want to help. There will be days where we become disappointed and hurt by those people who don’t seem willing to be there – those who seem to turn their backs on us when something better comes along. It is important to recognize that we do have those people who are willing to be constant anchors in our lives. We just need to remember to reach out to them.

Dusting Off The Shelf (K.Blais)

(Photo courtesy of
PDPhoto.org)

I had the pleasure of visiting a tiny and quaint used bookstore over the break. W and I stumbled upon Prince Street Books & Coffee Co. after we finished a fabulous lunch at a new favourite restaurant, The Schwarma House. Our bellies full, our breath saturated with garlic (so tasty, but afterwards still tasting same garlic makes one impossibly regretful), we ventured into the bookstore, a place we both had always known about, but hadn’t taken the opportunity to visit.

It was a small place, but a booklover’s heaven. My eyes couldn’t take in all the books on the shelves, each literally filled to the ceiling with a wide variety and assortment of works by many different authors and various genres. We scoured the shelves on the lookout for two books to continue a trilogy she had unknowingly began reading and now had to find out the ending to. I, having reignited my passion for reading for pleasure, was simply looking for something different to dive into.

I came across the book Best Kept Secret by Amy Hatvany. It’s titled intrigued me and, reading the inside of the trade paperback, I could already feel myself connecting with the main character and her challenges of balancing motherhood and being a writer. Her best kept secret is not one that I will reveal here nor one that I personally can admit to, but I did find myself uncomfortably relating to her relationships with others and how she let very few people “in” to see the real her. (To be honest I put the book down a few times in the bookstore, only to pick it back up and, ultimately, to make the decision to buy it. I knew it was something that I had to read. I guess you could even say that I couldn’t just leave it on the shelf.)

Like the main character, Cadence, I too have felt like I have sometimes only shown parts of myself to others. I know I am not alone in this as others have expressed these same things to me in conversations over the years. We let others see the parts of us that we wish them to see. I have often wondered if this is the allure to our social media outlets – we can paint a picture of what our lives look like and that picture can show only the aspects we want it to. (Check out Down The Rabbit-Hole for my previously posted thoughts on this.)

Sometimes it’s easier to show only parts of ourselves to others because we are afraid of them seeing the real us. Opening ourselves up permits us to become vulnerable to others – to their scrutiny, judgment, and even to their expectations. Maybe we are afraid of them seeing who we really are with our flaws, our insecurities, and our inadequacies. Maybe trust has been an issue with us and we worry that if we allow others in, they will hurt us in some way. Perhaps this worry comes from experiences we have had in the past, possibly even with different people, and we are afraid of making the same mistakes or at least feeling the same hurt or betrayal.

In the same sense, sometimes we protect ourselves in our relationships with others by holding them at arm’s length, pushing them away, or maybe even placing the relationship, person, or issue we are facing up on a shelf to gather dust. We may find it difficult to reach out to those people after we have been vulnerable with them or maybe because of who we were when we spent time with them is not who we are anymore. At other times it can feel like a bridge has been burnt, a hand in cards has been folded, or even that the straw has (almost) broken the camel’s back.

Sometimes the people or relationships which we leave up on a shelf gathering dust are the ones that we often wish we could reach out to or get back to the same place with again, but yet for some reason feel that we can’t. Maybe circumstances or time has changed, making us feel that we cannot break down the wall which has been put up or find the ladder needed to reach the high shelf. Perhaps even an apology and forgiveness is in order but we cannot find it within ourselves to take the first step in giving the apology or even in accepting it.

Sometimes the people we leave up on a shelf gathering dust are the ones that we need the most. The ones that we need to tell us that we will be ok, that no matter what we are still important in their lives even though distance, time, and circumstances may change us. We may have placed these people or relationships on a shelf but perhaps there doesn’t always seem to be an opportunity to reach up to the shelf and bring those things into our view again.

Sometimes it’s hard to apologize, especially without repeating well-worn phrases which lose their meaning over time and repetition. It’s hard to bridge the widening gap between what was then and what is now. It’s hard to open up the compartments in your mind to allow room for things to cross-sect and intertwine. Our lives become so scheduled and regimented that we can lose sight of how things can still fit together and how we can make things work simply by holding onto the hope that they will.

Maybe it’s time for a little spring cleaning. Like the books so high up on the bookshelf in a quaint little bookstore, it’s time to take down those precious things we have left to gather dust and bring them back into the light. It could be time to open again those shelved books and to read a new chapter. Maybe it’s time to renew those relationships which we have left to sit on their own. Perhaps it’s time to reach out to those who we may have forgotten or who we fear may have forgotten us.

You see, that’s the great thing about dust: once it is wiped away it allows us to see the beauty of everything that still lies beneath it.

 

 

 

Seeing Is Believing Part 2 (K.Blais)

In last week’s blog post, Seeing Is Believing, I shared that I had gone on a wee girlie adventure with three special gals to check out the legend behind Buck Hill. As promised, here is the continuation of our adventure and some photos and video footage of the experience.

(An excerpt from last week’s post)… Even in the daylight, the gate which closed off the property seemed a bit daunting. We turned around a little past the gate and then parked in front of it. It was then that we decided to return that evening to see what the legend was all about.
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Later that evening, once the kiddies were tucked into their trailer beds and the men were instructed to parent, the gals (me, “W”, and Dollface) headed out to pick up Embrace Your Awesomeness (EYA) at a nearby campsite. Even that part was a bit mysterious – EYA’s cell phone had putzed out and we were sending messages to her through her hubby’s phone.
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We were all a bit mystified and nervous about the evening. The darkness of the night was only intensified the further we drove into the countryside and away from the lights of the main highway. When we arrived at Buck Hill Road I stepped out of the vehicle momentarily to snap the picture below. It didn’t go unnoticed how much cooler and more damp the evening had gotten. I couldn’t stop shivering which is probably why the photo is a bit blurry.
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I started the video footage below as we drove up Buck Hill Road. Please be aware that the following video may include coarse language and adult content. Viewer discretion is advised. Also please note that I am, by no means, a skilled videographer. (The small bluish light you occasionally see on the screen is the compass direction of the vehicle.)

The next video clip was taken after our first attempt at calling (not worthy of video) didn’t work. It’s titled Buck Hill Take 2.

So, we didn’t “see” Daddy but we never really figured out what the whistling sound was either. (The problem with the security light flashing on the vehicle when we shut it off meant that we had to leave the vehicle running the whole time which may have affected our results.)

The owner of our campsite later told us that he believed any lights that have been seen are only lights from the Wilno Hills. I’m not sure why they would be green, coming out of the woods and swaying back and forth as if walking from one side to the other though?

There are many stories and theories about Buck Hill and its authenticity. We later learned from EYA that we may not have even been at the right gate along the road anyway. Oh well, there’s always next time.

If seeing is believing then I guess I can’t say that I believe that Buck Hill is haunted, but after seeing this Ghost Chasers video on YouTube I can understand why some might. (Once again, viewer discretion is advised! There’s something about being scared out of your pants that brings out everyone’s finest language!)

Have a look at the videos and see. If you live in the area, you may even want to drive up to Buck Hill yourself and test it out. You can choose to believe for yourself or not. After all, for you seeing just might be believing.

(Dear Readers, Thank you for taking the time to read and watch our video footage. Special thanks to the gals for letting me film our experience and for being such good sports! Love, ~ K ~ )

Friendship: A Song Of The Heart (K. Blais)

“A friend loves at all times.” Proverbs 17:17

‘Friendship’ as a blog topic is one that I’ve been mulling over for some time now. It is a subject which I have touched on and alluded to, but never really concentrated solely on in a post before. It’s not that I haven’t wanted to write about it, I just hadn’t yet found the right inspiration, I suppose. Today as I considered it once again, I found this quote and it immediately stuck with me: A true friend is someone who knows the song in your heart and can sing it back to you when you have forgotten the words (Anonymous). I like the idea of friendship being a song and finding a place in the heart.

Friends come in all variances and really, a friend is a friend. I don’t really think that there are better or worse types of friends. A friend is really a gift from God. That being said, I’ve come to think that there are certain categories of friends that many might have in their lives. I hesitate in classifying or generalizing too much because many of us will fit into more than one of the “friend” categories that I’ve listed, but I’m willing to share my thoughts:

“Forever Friends” – these are the ones that you’ve known the longest and have been friends with, literally, forever. Even though your lives, habits, and preferences change, these friends are friends that you hang on to. Maybe it’s because they remind you of many happy memories of the past, or maybe it’s that they know too much for you to ever not be their friend! In any case, forever friends are the meat that sticks to your ribs. These are the ones that you can pick up with exactly where you left off, even if it’s months or years later. Three hour conversations over coffee, poutine, and pie or hanging out talking in a backyard; these are the friends that even when life changes, they never change in your heart.

“Kindred Spirits” – these are the friends that you make an immediate connection with, whether you’ve known them for years or you’ve just really met. Kindred spirits are the friends who share your opinions, your values, and your interests. They may even look at things the same way you do, whether it be how to solve a problem or strategies for dealing with a difficult person or situation. Kindred spirits view life from a similar lens as you, whether it is with rose-coloured glasses or a magnifying glass. Kindred spirits also help you figure out whether “it is what it is” or whether “it is what I am going to make it to be”.

“Live-Life-In-The-Moment Friends” – this category of friends are the ones you can call up when you are craving fun and adventure. They usually have something on-the-go, or are up for doing anything. You may not share your deep, dark secrets with the live-life-in-the-moment friends, but you do enjoy their loyalty, company, and fun-loving attitude towards life. These friends remind you that life is about living, not just getting by.

“Friends as Family, Family as Friends” – these friends are the ones who feel like family, whether they are in actuality or not, and includes family who are your friends as well. They are the friends that you refer to as “your sister from another mister” or “your brother from another mother”, or your “friend first, relative second”. With these friends a strong, blood-like bond is formed, in that you support, defend, and are ‘there for’ them as if they really were your blood relatives. These friends may also be church family members, or friends who share your faith and beliefs. They can, of course, include forever friends and kindred spirits as well. I like to think that these friends fill a void in your life where your family is not able to and are also family who you are blessed to also call friends.

“The Best of Friends” – friends like these are gems to find. Friends who become your best friends are the ones who accept you without question. These friends are the keepers of the deep and dark moments of your life, but NEVER remind you of them. They are the ones you call, text, or email at any moment to share the good, the bad, and the ugly. They laugh with you, cry with you, and walk with you along the road of life. Best friends cheer for you, even when they know you’re going to lose, constructively criticize and challenge you when you need feedback, and lovingly redirect when you are going astray. The best of friends are ones that look out for your well-being, as well as their own, and protect and defend your family as theirs. These friends don’t judge you when you fail or fall short of your own goals and forget your song, instead they offer you a hand to help you up and get you back on your feet again. Those who are the best of friends hold your hand when you are weak and offer strength to support you in the best and worst of times. (The best of friends can also be people who also fit into all the categories above as well.)

I’ve realized that while there are several different categories of friends, there is a common thread amongst all types of friendships. We were put on this Earth together to help, support, and love one another. We have truly given gifts from God – friends to help us along life’s way. True, not all friendships will be healthy and good for us all of the time. We have also been given discerning minds and strong judgment skills to realize when a friendship needs to be loosened or released.

Friendship is a two-way street: it takes two willing individuals to put forth effort and time to equally be a friend to one another. True friendship is also about honesty and trust; without those two key elements a friendship is shaky at best. Friendship should never be about convenience or taking advantage. Friendship should be considered a revered responsibility, not an opportunity. Friendship is also about acceptance – accepting and loving someone as a friend, flaws and all. Being a friend should always be about mutual respect, equitable trust, and appreciative love.

A final thought: A strong friendship doesn’t need daily conversation; it doesn’t always need togetherness. As long as the friendship lives in the heart, true friends will never be apart. (Anonymous) Some days we may forget the song in our heart, or maybe there are days when we don’t even want to remember it, a true friend will keep singing it until, eventually, we start to hum along.

(Dear Readers, I can honestly say that I truly value each and every friendship in my life, but I will admit that some days I fall short in showing it. I know that I am not always the “perfect friend”. I get caught up in my own life, my own worries, and my own “issues” so to speak, that I sometimes forget to check in with others, to reach out to others, and to let people in to help and be helped. I think I have a really good idea of what a true friend is, but I am in no way claiming that I am that model of excellence, in all places, at all times. Thank you for accepting me without judgment and for your friendship, love, and support! Yours, ~ K ~)

Great Expectations (K.Blais)

The idea for this blog post came to me late one night as I lay lying in bed awaiting sleep. It had been a bit of a trying evening, OK, in all honesty it may have been an eventful week, full of interesting turns of events. I mulled over why I was feeling exasperated, frustrated, and beaten down.

(I am taking a deep breath and writing this blog post in that hopes that no one will be offended by my words – I write, as usual, in the hopes that you, dear readers, can relate to my feelings, experiences, and perspective and that, if you have felt this way, you realize that you are not ALONE.)

The realizations:

I place expectations on myself to “be” a certain way. I expect certain things of myself – such as compassion, consideration, and thoughtfulness – which are all things that I am capable of. I do, however, feel extremely disappointed in myself when I don’t say the right thing, when I don’t find the right words, or when I forget something which leads to me being considered un-thoughtful.

I place expectations on my children to behave a certain way. I expect certain things of them – such as respect, honesty, kindness, and sincerity – which are all good and right character traits to have. I do, however, feel greatly let down when they don’t behave in a certain way. I feel defeated when they disappoint me in their actions or words, to the point where I take it as a personal failure that I am a “bad” parent, that I didn’t catch their behavior before it escalated, and even that I didn’t say the right words to prevent the event from happening.

I place expectations on my husband to act in a certain way. I expect certain things of him – such as to listen, understand, and make me feel better – which are all things that a husband might do. I do, however, feel greatly betrayed when he doesn’t have the time to listen, doesn’t quite understand, and isn’t able to find the words to make me feel better. When I am disappointed with his behaviors, or lack thereof, I grow angry and resentful that he just “doesn’t get it”.

I place expectations on people in my life to be the kind of friend that I hope I am to them. I expect certain things of them – such as to support, encourage, and be there for me – which are all the things a good friend would do. I do, however, feel saddened and alone when I don’t feel that some people in my life are there to support me on my low days, to encourage and build me up when I am weak, and to be there for me when I need them the most. When I am lonely, even when surrounded by people, I grow quiet and distant.

All of these realizations boil down to one huge issue: there are some pretty big expectations which I place on myself and other people.

The reality:

I CANNOT control the actions of others. As much as I’d like to control how my children behave, I do not have that ability. I CAN demonstrate and be a good role model to them but the reality is that they are beings unto themselves and only they can determine how they will act. They are also young and experimenting with their own self-control and self-discipline. I can teach and I can discipline, but I cannot control.

I CANNOT assume that my husband will always understand – especially if I do not clearly communicate to him how I am feeling. He cannot read my mind, nor can he assess my mood without having a clear idea of how my day went. I CAN talk about what has happened and how I am feeling in order to gain his understanding.

I CANNOT expect that my friends will always know what’s going on, especially if I don’t share what I am feeling. People will not always know how to help if they don’t know what to help with. I CAN reach out to my friends when I need them and know that they will be there.

The facts:

We can’t expect others to read our minds; if we don’t communicate to others what our needs are, they will never live up to them. Expectations will continuously lead to disappointment if they are considered as exactly that: things, known or unknown, that are EXPECTED of ourselves and others. If we are able to clearly communicate our needs and desires, we may find that we will be easier on ourselves and on those people closest to us.

We don’t have to lie awake at night wondering where we went wrong with our children, our husbands, and maybe even our friendships. We don’t have to second guess ourselves and wonder how we managed to disappoint ourselves so much throughout the day. Being able to adequately express our intents and desires in order to receive what we want from ourselves and what we need from others will be what leads to satisfaction and contentment in our own lives, and a much better night of sleep.

(Dear Readers, Thank you for believing, reading, and sharing! Yours, ~ K ~)