Forgiving Yourself Is As Important As Forgiving Others

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Growing up with parents coming from two different religious backgrounds has so many pluses. One is it has made me more open to others’ viewpoints. At the same time, I don’t feel aligned with any religion really. I do find both Jewish and Christian traditions interesting and meaningful. So, I am spiritual but I’m not religious.

But for the first year ever, I thought about what Yom Kippur really means. Asking for forgiveness for sins and forgiveness of others. Supposedly, it’s the time of year where G-d decides your fate and therefore, you’ve got to make amends, and fast.

I thought about who I would apologize to, however anyone I may have wronged I’ve certainly apologized to. And if there’s anyone out there I offended, well, I am truly sorry!

But I think the person I am most sorry to is myself. For being so hard on myself.
The way I’ve talked to myself and about myself.
The way I’ve judged myself and compared myself.
The way I’ve doubted myself and criticized myself.
The way I talk to myself is most often, much harder than how I’ve talked to anyone else!
It is like I’m in some competition where the goals to be fabulous are so high and not obtainable that I beat myself to death for not being enough.
But if there is one thing I am, it is tenacious and persistent. I try so hard to be my best self. To be better. To do better. Be a better mom. Person. Partner. Friend. Worker. Etc.

Here is what I don’t do: give myself a break. Be kind to myself. Compliment myself. Believe in myself.

So here is a huge apology to myself for being so bad to myself at times.

Lovingly,

Laura

A Single Mom Birthday

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When you’re a single mom and it’s your birthday, it’s pretty much like every other day. Chores. Cleaning. School responsibilities. Figuring out all 3 meals and snacks. Usually, making most, all or planning out all of those said meals. Virtual school. The same old same old.

Your kids don’t always remember it’s your birthday. Mine didn’t. She thought my birthday was next week. It’s not. It was this past Friday. I think I’ll cut her slack since she’s 9 and we’re living in a pandemic without a real sense of a calendar or time as hard as I try to have a schedule. It was truly the first year though, that it didn’t even feel like my birthday. It didn’t feel celebratory. I did see friends over the weekend, but I don’t know. Between virtual school and the responsibility of working from home and everything else, this year has felt so depressing and isolating. I really don’t know if I will make it through 2020.

In the Dark,

Laura

One Compliment Can Change Your Day

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Today, I set up a time to meet someone new for a potentially good creative opportunity for me. The person and I chose the time and when emailing me back said, “I saw a video of you giving a speech and I’m so excited to meet with you. You’re super adorable!”

I was so flattered and surprised. It’s not often I get to hear that. It made my day. In fact, when I was exhausted and tired from a day of working and virtual school and found a massive dead spider in my house, I called upon the compliment in my mind and it cheered me up.

Truly just one compliment can change your day. Imagine then how much joy you could give someone else by complimenting them? For me, a man who is verbally demonstrative is a huge must. And in friendships and at work too— verbal affirmation matters to me. This one compliment changed the whole tone of my upcoming meeting. Imagine the power of just a few words!

With that said, don’t forget to compliment someone once a day. We all need it!

Love,

Laura

Under the Knife: Dealing With Medical Anxiety

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As a kid, I had no fear of doctors or dentists. I had Lymes Disease as a teen, and I barely fussed when they came to my house to put in a PICC line. My dad on the other hand, almost fainted.
When I had to go for an MRI to check for a potential brain tumor, I thought it was too enclosed, but I dealt with it and wasn’t nervous about the tests.
Boy, have times changed me!

i’m not exactly sure when it happened, but I would say my anxiety towards medicine, doctors and being sick really started when I was pregnant and had Hyperemesis Gravidarum. Things started happening to me that I had never experienced. I’ve never been in a hospital so much in my life until that time. A few years prior, someone in my family had gotten really sick. A few years prior to even that, another family member had quite a few major surgeries and Cancer. I think as we get older, it’s more likely that we will deal with illness and health issues. My experience with Lymes taught me that I had some drug allergies, but I rarely complained. I got blood work constantly and I wasn’t anxious, but did want to get better.

Now as an adult and single mom, I’ve learned I have many allergies to medications and I really get anxious when it comes to medical situations. I think getting a divorce and becoming a single parent through the years also heightened my level of anxiety: I must be ok so I can be here for my daughter.

I’ve learned a few things though to help manage these fears, and it’s a work in progress always:

1. Don’t Google Your Symptoms.

2. Meditation Helps You Manage Anxiety.


3. Taking Charge of Your Health Through Diet and Exercise Helps.

4. Find a Friend Who Understands Your Anxiety as a Support.

5. Don’t Google Your Symptoms.

Those five things definitely help me! Not to mention realizing I can only control so much. Diet, exercise, fresh air, supplements, and rest are also key tools to keep me in as control of my health as possible.

So, today when I learned I might need to have something cut open on me— nothing major— I felt anxious. But not like I normally would. Sure, my stomach is grumbly. Sure, I’m worrying about it a bit more than I’d like, but it’s not overtaking me. I am doing what I can to avoid having to do that, and in the meantime, I have as much of a plan as I can. I called a supportive person and that helped also.

The moral of this anxious story? When it comes to anxiety, it’s important to understand what may have triggered your anxiety or reasons for having it. For me, a rough pregnancy and becoming a single parent definitely contributed to my anxious feelings over medical situations. Knowing this and realizing that I tend to worry over these things has allowed me to help take control over my fears and refocus in a more positive way.

Breathe in and Breathe Out,

Laura

4 Things Thoughtful People Always Do

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There are certain things that thoughtful people—friends, lovers and family members — do on instinct and also, well-crafted thought. It’s very easy to tell when someone is particularly thoughtful: that person makes us feel very cared for and loved. Special. We feel safe and also, able to be our true selves, vulnerable and all, when someone is so thoughtful.
Here’s why:

Thoughtful people take action considering your feelings first.

Someone who really cares about you doesn’t make a move without considering how you might feel first. This is the person who knows how nervous you get when going to the doctor’s and in turn, calls you before and after an appointment.
The thoughtful person delivers both good and bad news in a way that considers the other person’s potential comfort level and response first.

Thoughtful People Love to Show You How Much You Mean to Them.

Thoughtful people enjoy expressing their feelings for you whether you’re their best friend or their spouse. When your birthday comes up, that person will be the first to plan a celebration for you. When you get a promotion at work or accomplish a goal, your thoughtful person will be right by your side to celebrate you. And if times are tough, that same person will be there to hold your hand and tell you how much you mean to them.

Thoughtful People Know Their Strengths and Weaknesses As Much As Your Own.

Thoughtful people know their own limitations, as well as the things they excel at. They are able to create a good network of people that complement these strengths and weaknesses, and they are very aware of their loved ones’ flaws and good traits.
In the same vein, they never make their loved ones feel bad for these flaws but instead, help the people they love to get stronger each day and also, support their friends, family members and romantic partners, knowing that somethings are harder for them than others.

Thoughtful People Pay Close Attention.

Thoughtful people are very attentive. They remember things about the ones they love, and try to tune in to their partners and friends emotions and feelings. They work hard on their listening skills. Let’s be honest: many of us are not good listeners. It really is a work in progress for all of us. Thoughtful people try to listen and keep their eyes on the ones they love. They do their best to give them focused and genuine attention, rather than being constantly distracted.

Thinking, Doing, Loving,

Laura

What If Nothing Is Really Worth It?

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The other weekend, I found myself in the woods with someone I’ll call a friend as there is no real word to describe him. It was a beautiful day and a nice hike together.
Of course, I had a great and special time. It was a beautiful evening and late afternoon. But a few times as I walked an occasional muddy path, I thought back to a really horrible memory for me. At 14, I was basically taken advantage of by a 22 year old male. Thirty years later, I can still envision myself lying in the leaves that late summer evening. I can remember wanting it to stop.

This wasn’t the “Me Too” days. This was the “It’s My Fault” decade, where women and girls and men and boys alike all remained silent about these things.
I shook the memories off, and was able to fully enjoy the time with my friend who is at times, very creative and thoughtful with plans. This was a surprise trip and a thoughtful one at that. I wanted to go back with my friend and expressed it right away. We were hiking or walking mostly on a flat path amongst a garden and the woods. It was really special. It gave the woods a better definition for me— superseding those bad memories which have left a mark on my mind that will never go away. No one tells you that. That the memories never leave but the power they once had does— if you work on it.


Lately, I have felt a struggle to stay on an enlightened and positive path. I have made huge progress and gotten so far and I’m proud of that, but I keep falling and stumbling anyway, without fail. Perhaps it’s the isolation of COVID, or maybe it’s being a single parent for a long almost seven years, but I wonder if I have anything to offer. If anything I’m writing resonates or clicks within others. I wonder if I’m really connecting with people. I see myself hitting roadblocks and nothing I do seems to get me past them, despite the fact that I work very hard. If you know me, you know I’m a dedicated friend and partner and parent. That when I commit to something, anything— I really commit to it. That’s why I drive almost an hour to train weekly. Because I’m committed.

But I have to wonder if all my hard work is really getting me anywhere and if my writing really natters anymore. If I matter anymore. Maybe it’s best I just go dark and stop writing. Maybe I’m not really offering anything to anyone.
In the small of my mind where it is quiet and dim, I feel a real loss and feel directionless and hopeless at times.

Everyone feels stuck. Everyone feels darkness and hard times. The question I’m wondering is when it ends? And when does someone’s years of dedication and hard work really pay off? When do things pay off for me?

Maybe though me writing is not adding up to anything. Maybe there is nothing left to say because, nothing has changed for me. To develop, I need new experiences and I feel I’m not finding them. I feel defeated.

Peace and love is solely underestimated. To me, it’s the only things worth living for. Without peace of mind and love, life is worthless. Money can only carry someone so far.

love,

Laura