Stress-less and learning to value me!

I’ve been absent for a while. I’ve needed to pull back and reevaluate some life situations. This season we all seem to find ourselves in unwillingly has taken a toll on many, including myself. I have been reevaluating the need for self-care. Personally, I feel in our society we rarely speak on this issue and how vitally important it is. Especially now with all these lockdowns and the spreading of fear! We are not called to fear but to faith!

This season we’re now in, at least here in the United States of America, is fall. I can look out my window at the beautiful leaves of various colors and be in awe at the greatness around me! Reds and oranges and yellows and yet, still some greens that are seemingly hanging on in a stubborn fashion. Such beauty!

Are you stubborn?

I am though I’m not sure if that’s a strength or weakness. I suppose it would determine how or where that stubbornness is used. I’ve been told most of my adult life I’m like a bulldog with a bone when I’m after something. I don’t want to let go. And this is truth! So yes, I do have the stubborn streak in me.

I believe I learned to be stubborn as a result of horrific child abuse. I believe I had to develop that stubborn streak in order to survive. Any form of abuse is horrible! I firmly believe and feel to the core of my being that ‘It shouldn’t have to hurt to live in a family!’

We use this phrase often in our ministry, Broken Pieces No More Inc.

Love isn’t supposed to hurt!

Families should be safe places to live!

Moms and dads shouldn’t want to hurt their children!

Spouses shouldn’t wanta hurt each other!

Yet, we do….daily…..and yes, sometimes in one family there is daily abuse!

So, I factor in my stubborn streak and yes, I’ve learned how to cope well living within abusive relationships. However, I’m also now realizing that is not healthy at all even though I thought so. Maybe there was a bit of arrogant pride involved! As in, ‘ha, I made it! I did it by myself! Look at me go!’ All the while I’m limping over to the corner to sit down and lick my wounds, so to speak.

When what I wanta be able to do is learn from those false beliefs, those lies, that were heaped on my little girl’s head as a child and grow into the Godly woman I’ve been destined to be! Well, shoot! I don’t know if I’m up for that or not! It takes a lot more work to change my perspective and focus on the positive.

I’ve lived in dysfunctional relationships, well, let’s just call it what it was: An abusive marriage! I felt I was strong to have endured for as long as I did without any major battle wounds! Ha! Maybe I was stupid!

How did my remaining in a cruel, abusive, demeaning relationship build me up as a woman?

How did any of that negative, toxic stuff help me grow and develop into the woman God wanted me to become?

It did not!!

If anything, choosing to remain in a toxic relationship only served to delay my growth and damage my soul!

How?

By remaining in a toxic, dysfunctional relationship I ended up damaging my health by an increase of the stress hormone, cortisol. This stress hormone increases our sugar level and also messes with our flight-or-flight responses. Because of the high stress homes, I’ve lived in most of my life, I’ve been on a constant alert state. That is not good for anyone.

I am now working to decrease my stress levels.

Photo by Pedro Figueras on Pexels.com

How? Here are some ways.

  1. Be mindful of my surroundings.

I take inventory of where I am, what I’m thankful for, items around me, and listen to my breathing.

It might go something like this:

                Take a deep cleansing breath and let it out slowly.

                I thank God for keeping me safe all my life and blessing me with my beloved husband.

                I look around and count the various objects near me that are a soft aqua blue.

2. In being mindful, I remind myself that I am now safe.

Knowing I was unsafe for so many years, beginning in my early childhood, I doubted that I’d ever have a safe place to live. Years ago, when I managed to escape an abusive marriage, I was able to live with my son and his family for a season. That time and now, being with my beloved are the two safest times in my entire life! I do not take for granted the time I now have to live my life in peace!

It might look something like this:

Oh no! My husband will be home in twenty minutes!
I no longer have the fearful compulsion of rushing through the house making sure every item is in its proper place and turned just so! There is no need to turn all the cans in the pantry facing outward nor line up the towels perfectly! That was my old life.
I can breathe deeply now because I am not afraid! I am safe!

3. As I feel safe, I am free to explore my emerging inner self.

I firmly believe as we begin to realize we are indeed safe; our mind will slow down allowing us to process daily activities in a healthier manner. Once you land in a safe place, whether it’s with someone or on your own, you will begin to hear your own thoughts, your own desires, your own beliefs. For me, I’ve learned to weight my thoughts, desires and beliefs against the Word of God! It’s His book I find wisdom and guidance as I take each step. Oh, that doesn’t mean I don’t fall from time to time but the getting back up means more now that the guilt and condemnation is falling off!

It might look something like this:

I’m having a really hard day. One where the stinkin’ thinkin’ begins to get louder and I hear the negative words echoing around in my brain. When that happens, I find myself beginning to feel depressed, maybe wanting to emotional eat a bunch of chocolate cookies or go back to bed.

What I can do instead is remind myself I’ve come a long way and I am His redeemed daughter! I can put some praise and worship music on and I can find scriptures I’ve marked in my Bible that remind me in Him I am worthy!

These are just three areas I have been dealing with. For me, there are more but progress is very possible. One step at a time! One issue at a time!

What is one area where you are growing into a more healed individual?

What is one healthy coping skill you have for overcoming stress?

I’d love to hear from you!

I pray you have a most wonderfully blessed day!

More next time!

Stay safe and take care of you!

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