A Little Tough Love

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I’m getting ready to kick off the new year with a four part series on time management/organizational strategies that have helped me get where I am, but I don’t think any of that has value without a little tough love.

You are exactly where you want to be.

Yes, that is exactly what I said. You are exactly where you want to be. You have chosen your life.

Now, I know some of you are thoroughly pissed at me at the moment and are thinking things like, “I wouldn’t be here if my ex…” or “I wouldn’t be here if my parents…” I’m sure all of that is true, but you made choices that put you where you are, and you continue to make choices that keep you where you are.

How can I say that? How can I be so harsh? Because I’ve been there, and now I’m not. I know how feels, and I know how it feels to break free.

What I said was harsh and maybe a little hurtful, but the truth isn’t nice. But the truth is freeing and empowering. In that statement might be hurt, but there is also freedom and power.

I’ve been married. I’ve been divorced. I’ve been a broke single mother working three jobs. I’ve been a single mother and graduate student working two jobs. I’ve battled depression and food addiction. I’ve had bad relationships with drug addicts and abusive alcoholics.

Fifteen years ago, everyone ran my life. My husband (then boyfriend), my daughter, my stepdaughters, my boss, my co-workers, my parents, my in-laws, my ex, his exes. One comment, and my day was ruined. One lie, and I was angry for a days. One criticism, and I was depressed and down on myself for a week.

I spent entire weekends in the same PJs I put on after work on Friday. No showers. No deodorant. No human contact outside my daughter. She thought those weekends were great. She ate pizza, drive through, and popcorn and watched Disney movies.

Thankfully, by the time my daughter was old enough to know what was going on, I had been working on turning things around, but I will always carry the knowledge that I gave up so much time with her.

man, depressed, hoodie

One day, my husband asked me what I wanted, what would make me happy. I didn’t know. He told me I needed to figure it out, because he couldn’t be the reason I was happy. At the time, I hated him for saying that, but he was right. It started me on a journey to define who I was and what I wanted my life to be, a tough journey that’s still in progress.

I have a great life, a life I wouldn’t trade for anything. I only have it because I made a choice to be 100% responsible for my attitude and my actions.

Don’t get me wrong. Life isn’t all roses. I have bad moments. Last fall, I had a horrible week. I was fighting with my husband, and I let everything get to me. By Friday, I was a total mess.

I spent the weekend in my PJs. I walked dogs in my PJs. I did stalls in my PJs. I turned horses in and out in my PJs. I didn’t shower. I didn’t brush my teeth. I did as little as possible.

I woke up on Sunday and smelled myself. I remembered why I choose to never let other people decide for me how I feel. I showered and went to church determined to let it go and start a new week with a new perspective.

The only things we can control are our attitude and our actions. We can’t stop people from being mean or expecting more than we can give. But we can control how we respond. We can control what we do. THAT is what shapes our lives.

In the next few weeks, I’m going to share with you how I did it. I hope that in sharing my journey–my struggles, my failures, and my wins–you will find something you can take away and apply in your own life, because my deepest desire in life is to help others find the joy I’ve found by uncovering and pursuing their deepest passions.

What can I do to help you on your journey?

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