Must Be Nice

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If I hear someone say this one more time in response to another person’s good news, good fortune, or good luck, I will seriously throat punch. My patience is starting to wear thin like WOAH for such a selfish lack of sharing in another person’s happiness.

Guess what? There’s enough happiness and goodness to go around. And we each come by it through different means at different times, usually without knowing the whole of someone’s back story. I wouldn’t want to get there the same way you did, and I’m pretty sure you wouldn’t want to get there the same way I did.

At some point this year, I started to understand when I’m feeling jealous, envious, or as if there ISN’T enough goodness and happiness to go around–or when I’m feeling scarcity for some reason– it’s time to move back to the mindset of abundance. Of gratitude. To spread love. To generously compliment. To be EXTRA gracious. Not in the form of insincere flattery, but to truly share in happiness WITH people– instead of competing for it– which really doesn’t work or make sense, anyway.

So please. For the love. When good things are happening for the people around us, can we all agree to stop saying, “Must be nice” and try one of these instead?

  • I’m so happy for you

  • You deserve this

  • This has been a long time coming

  • I hope you enjoy every second

  • I feel so grateful to share this with you

Or how about this?

Must be nice to have such good things happening in your life…and I wish you many, many more.”

The end.

 

 

Fighting for Gratitude

gratitude

Gratitude has not come easy to me today. You have no idea how much I would love to have woken up this morning completely and totally happy and grateful and smiling. But. I didn’t. I woke up to a quiet, empty house. Sort of sad. Sort of lonely. Peaceful. Totally peaceful. But sort of just… not feeling festive and holiday-ish. I made my coffee, puttered around the kitchen. Fed the dog. Watched a little Scandal and DID give thanks that I don’t have Olivia Pope’s problems. Damn. Those are some big, big problems. All the while trying not to feel what I still feel so often: Broken.

And so I cried. And cried. And cried some more. I let myself feel the ugly, crappy, familiarity of it all. I talked to a few people who really love me so much– and I hated to be the downer in the conversation– because that’s not a role I enjoy. Ever. But they each reminded me of this: I am totally loved. I am totally supported. There is so much right even though sometimes it feels like there is still so much wrong. And that we are all broken in some way or another.

The tide comes in. The tide goes out.  And on holidays especially, it can feel like the tide always comes in. Good news though: It will go out again.

 


 

So if this is you at all today– if you, like me, are struggling with grief of any kind, it’s okay. It’s okay to feel whatever it is you’re feeling.  Allow yourself the chance to feel it and process it and find what’s true in it and what’s not. And then, use whatever self-care techniques work for you– and out of self-love, decide to bounce back. Because it IS a holiday, and despite not everything being exactly the way you’d like, there is still a lot of goodness. Tons. Tons and tons of goodness. So get up. Get dressed. Work out. Turn on happier music. Set a timer for 3 minutes and write down a rampage of everything you have to be grateful for. Pray. Meditate. Read something good.  Watch Scandal. Call or text the people you love and tell them so. It helps and it works and I’m doing it.

Happy Thanksgiving, dear reader. I’m thankful for you.

 

Another Round of “What Not to Say to Your Struggling Friend”

e4fdff0a1508f0c5e69dcbc04de02a21But wait! There’s more! In my aggravated haste, I missed some of the BIGGEST offending phrases! BIG as in WAY too awful to be left out! If you missed the first list, check it out here. And listen, we’ve all been guilty of being in a tender spot with a struggling friend and not known what to say– myself included– but there are still some things better left unsaid.

So  please…Join me for another round of “What Not to Say to Your Struggling Friend!”

God has a better plan

Sighhhh. Of course He does. That would be just like him, wouldn’t it? How sweet. And maybe next week or next month, or next year, I will see that and find peace in that. But today, right now, I wanted THIS plan. MY plan. And I’m sad and disappointed that my plan did not work out.

God must have something really special in store for you

I am totally calling bullshit on this one. I have heard this line for 20 years. Maybe He does, maybe He doesn’t.  Because maybe–just maybe–this is just how life goes. Sometimes, really crappy things just happen. And the only reward for living through it is…living through it. (Which, you know, IS a big deal, but still…)

Don’t Cry

Don’t tell me what to do. K. Thanks. Because I am crying. And when you say “Don’t cry”, now I feel like I have to fake my behavior because you’re uncomfortable. People cry. We all survive. Trust me. I would’ve drowned by now.

Someday this will all make sense

Maybe it will, maybe it won’t. Today, it doesn’t. Today it sucks. Can we please just acknowledge the suck of today?

And finally…(but certainly still NOT a conclusive round-up!)

Things could be worse

SIGH……(I’m yelling now) WELL OF COURSE THEY COULD BE WORSE! Let’s now list all of the ways things could be worse. I don’t even know where to start. It’s long and involved and ranging from the house burning down to starving children in Africa. The only way you can use this phrase– THE ONLY WAY– is if you look at your very, very close friend and say it JUST LIKE THIS, “Shit could be worse. I mean, you could have bad hair. Or ugly feet. Or no style. On top of everything else you’re going through.” And then, after that, buy her a beer. Because you both know you’re kidding. Period.

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{A perfect example of what NOT to say to your friend.}

I loved hearing YOUR input on the first list! If you’ve got more, lemme have ’em!

And I promise– A list of helpful, validating, gentle things to say is on its way…

 

 

My New Running Partner

Running

As I was leaving the house for my run that morning, I was already running late. Torn between skipping it completely or rushing to fit it in, I chose the latter and scrambled out the door. Total self-imposed stress, I know, but still better than berating myself the rest of the day for missing a run. Within moments, I realized I had forgotten my watch but didn’t want to waste time going back for it. And as long as I wasn’t going to time myself, I figured I’d skip using Runkeeper, as well.

If you’re not familiar, Runkeeper is a GPS app that tracks every aspect of your run and also offers voice coaching with time and pace cues. If you’re having a good run, Runkeeper is your friend. On a bad run, you want to throat punch her.


So for the first time in a very long time, I was running without a clock. Without being timed. Without the compulsive need to check my pace and mile split times. Simply put, I was running without the pressure of performing and competing against myself.

My counselor asked me recently if I enjoy running and what I think about when I run. She wondered if it was a peaceful mental place for me. (Yes, I have a counselor. She has this amazing ability to help me process life events and relationships, and in turn, formulate healthy responses and reactions. I adore her and she’s worth her weight in gold) Ummm. Wow. The fast answer would’ve been, “Yes, of course I enjoy running.” And I do. To an extent. But you’d never know it by the self-talk that normally bounces around in my brain:

“Ugh. God, I’m so slow today. Is that all the time that’s passed? This sucks. What the hell is wrong with me? I do NOT want to run 9-minute miles. Mother of pearl- I wanna be sub 8 on this. Or at least low eights. Have I gotten slower? I need to eat better. Less beer would probably help too. I should really cross train. I say that everyday and never do it. Dumb. This hill is kicking my ass. I suck. How did I ever run 2 half marathons when it feels like I can’t run 4 miles today? I’ll never be able to run a full marathon.”

You get the picture. Big sigh. It’s not very nice. I’m kind of embarrassed by it. My counselor went on to ask me if I would ever talk to a friend the way I talk to myself. Ummm no. Never. Ever. So what would I tell a friend who was having a bad run? “Hey! Not every run is going to be your best. Every run is different. You still got out there today! You’re still running! Look at all the people who never exercise or run at all. Be proud of yourself. You’ll do better next time.” Woah. Big difference.
So there I was, running without any self-imposed pressure–and though I was tempted to worry about my time, I made a conscious effort to just simply run at a pace that felt natural to me. And then I did something that felt sort of corny at the time. I started to think about some quotes I’d read recently -the ones about living in the moment and enjoying life and being fully present. So part way through my run, I made myself breathe as deeply as I could and started to meditate on the positive things in my life right now. It’s very possibly been the worst year of my life (or 2nd worst year anyway) and therefore seemed like a loser idea,  but this is what I heard in my head:

“I love that the sun is shining right now. It’s an absolutely beautiful morning. The trees are changing colors and it’s amazing. I’m so thankful I can run this morning. I know my schedule won’t always be like this, but it is today- and I’m thankful for that.”

I could feel the tears starting to come.

“Thank you God for my kids and how well each of them are doing. Thank you that they are happy and healthy and each in a good place. Thank you for my parents and how much they love me and support me. Thank you that I have brothers and a sister that love me and would do anything for me. Thank you for the friends in my life that love me and adore me and think that I am lovable and funny and kind.”

I am in the home stretch now, running down my street with tears streaming down my face. “Thank you for my home. I love my house. My yard. My dog. Life has been so, so very hard- and yet there is so much sweetness too- I am overwhelmed. “

The day I forgot my watch, I probably didn’t run my fastest 4 miles ever, but it wasn’t my slowest either. I loved the happy and free girl I ran with. In those moments, yes, I loved running- but I loved my life, too. And that’s a good run day.