When we were out to dinner last Friday night, Lilly asked, "Mom. Are you okay?"
Yeah. I'm fine.
No, you're not.
Is that tears in your eyes?
No. I'm fine.
Are you sure you're okay, mom? You don't look okay.
Honestly Lilly, I feel a little sad. I'm worried about someone, but I don't want to talk about it now.
I loved her noticing. I loved that she persisted in asking me, even giving evidence, that....no, you are not okay. I see your tears. I see your face.
I hope that I do that for others. I hope that I notice. And ask. And show compassion.
It wasn't just that I was worried about someone else. I honestly felt down. Blue. Sad. I always feel that way when the days get shorter (Fall is NOT my jam!) and February has never been my favorite month. In Kentucky, it meant short, cold, dreary days that I hated. I know what you're thinking...what about January. I loved the fresh start of January! The clean slate with the house. I was usually really focused on my new goals that by February I had already abandoned. (Carly said that was irrelevant to my post, but I'm leaving it in anyway because I know some of your understand!)
I need a lot of sunlight, and shorter days that happen in the fall and winter are not good for me.
Although I hate to admit it, I'm very sensitive and my feelings get hurt more easily than they should, which is not good for me either.
I hate conflict of any kind, so rather than talking things through with people, I tend to just forgive and pretend that nothing ever happened. I need to be better about admitting when my feelings are hurt and dealing with them.
Sometimes all of my weaknesses and my worry for other people and the seasons all just come together for a perfect storm. Sometimes it's hard for me to even figure out exactly why I feel down. Usually, it's several things that I haven't dealt with and never ever taking time to just REST.
I stink at REST.
Anyone with me?
Last week, a dear friend of mine shared a blog post about how to help yourself when you feel sad. You can find her blog at www.runningbeautiful.com. She gave great advice about how to help yourself when you feel sad, but her advice wasn't what helped me. Her acknowledging that she sometimes feels sad too was oddly comforting to me.
In a world where most of us spend a lot of time scrolling through everyone else's "perfect" side of life, we tend to forget that others are suffering for all kinds of reasons. Often at the exact same time that their life looks perfect on social media.
Even if your kids are well, and your marriage is moving right along and you have a roof over your head and food on your table, you can still feel sad or hurt or worried or disappointed or lonely or a million other unpleasant feelings.
I tell my kids all the time, it's okay to be sad, mad, angry, frustrated etc., I like to think that I do a decent job listening to them, relating to them, and comforting them, but the truth is, I am rarely comfortable with feeling any of those things myself.
I always say things to myself like...you have a beautiful family. Your kids are healthy. Your husband has a job. You have a home, etc. etc, YOU SHOULD BE HAPPY!!! I even feel guilty and beat myself up for what I'm feeling instead of just accepting my feelings for what they are and dealing with them.
So this is my purpose in writing today, no matter how great or how terrible you think your situation is, you have permission to be blue. Sad. Down. It is okay. I'm no expert on anything, but I think it's "normal." You don't have to feel guilty about it. Or ashamed of it. You shouldn't stay there, but temporary unpleasant feelings are okay.
Find someone that "gets you" and be honest enough to tell them. Let it out. Release it. Otherwise, we tend to turn to all kinds of things to mask our feelings, things that cause us even more harm in the long run.
For a girl who always writes about "increasing our JOY" this post might be a major bummer, but I hope that it helps you feel like you're okay. You are NOT alone. You are normal. We should always be working towards our best selves and our best lives and doing things that make us happy. If you are a believer, your faith should bring you great JOY. But my reality is that hard days or hours are going to happen no matter how hard I try to avoid them.
I hope that is comforting to you. Knowing that you are not alone, I hope that gives you the courage to talk to someone about some of the things that bring you down. I hope that sharing to the right people will release your burdens and increase your Joy in the chaos of this life.
The reality is, the sun is going to come back out again. It always does. Today, I'm back to me! I feel good. Thank God! (It is AMAZING what some REST time will do for you!) You may not think it now, but you can be happy again. Next time, I'll maybe write about some things that help me out of a slump, too. But today, all that you need to know is...You are not alone! Other people are in the exact same slump as you. ((((Big Hugs and Much Love friends!)))
Mike's two cents on this post is to add this verse...
"I have told you these things, so that in me, you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." John 16:33
This blog really is a family affair.