Don’t be ordinary…

In love. In life. In parenthood. In anything. It’s a good rule – why be ordinary?

The above quote says it all for me as we head towards the big V-day. And I may not be going where you think I’m am with this. It’s not a “To heck with jerks! You go tell him where to stick it girl!” kind of thing.

We are all so incredibly unique. Nope – we’re not all special little snowflakes to be coddled and protected from every bump in the road. But we are unique.

No two people have exactly the same life experience, outlook, talents or challenges.

Valentine’s Day is bittersweet for many, sweet for some and just plain bitter for others.

We’ve heard it all, right?  ‘Love yourself first’ and ‘you can’t love another person until you love yourself’. And these are true.

We get totally sick of hearing them when  we’d rather have an awkward date with Mr. Not-Quite-Right than sit at home alone with take-out and binge-watching GOT one more night. There’s nothing wrong with going on that date if you are just looking for a fun night out, and everyone involved has a realistic expectation of outcomes.

But please routinely put in the effort to make those statements above true.

Don’t waste too much time on Mr. (or Ms!) Not Quite Right – buy yourself a treat instead – a handbag you’ve wanted, a ticket to a sporting event, a dinner out at a lovely restaurant – and it doesn’t have to be expensive – do it on a shoestring – a walk in the park or hiking expedition of your own can be so incredibly gratifying. Take a lesson in something you’ve been dying to learn – rock climbing or painting or whatever tickles your fancy.

Self-care takes a lot of practice – you might not have that rosy “I love me!” feeling. It doesn’t matter – do the thing anyway. Take the moment – if it’s nothing but stopping working on all the other things to read for 30 minutes and have a bath. Your heart, mind and body all three will thank you. (The rosy feelings do sometimes come! I promise!)

Next, let’s consider ‘Don’t expend energy loving someone who doesn’t love you more than you love you.’

A mouthful – I know. I’m no Oscar Wilde. But I think the point is important.

Once we remember how to love ourselves, we shouldn’t work so hard to love someone who doesn’t cherish all the parts of us at least as much as we do.

When you truly love someone, you even find ways to cherish the parts of them that drive you crazy.

My SO and I have this piece down. For example – he’s reticent. Completely. HUGELY. And it drives me totally bonkers most of the time. He doesn’t communicate AT ALL when he’s upset. Then I get upset because he’s not communicating – and then he’s upset that I’m upset, and it can get really stupid.

BUT – I’ve learned from his reticence. Running off at the mouth has always been a problem of mine – but being around him has caused me to slow down and consider more carefully the things that come out of my mouth. It has taught me that not everything needs an immediate response and sometimes it doesn’t need a response at all.

Still drives me nuts when he does it sometimes (and funnily enough was the most infuriating part to me about my dad! Wished I’d learned from him instead of waiting this long.) But it’s part of who he is as a person – and it does have value.

I *think* I’m teaching him something about empathy – which drives him bonkers. We have to stop before leaving DQ to say hi to the older fellow sitting alone with his cone. He has to wait for me constantly because I have a need to know EVERYONE’S story. I want them all. He was not previously overly concerned about other’s stories – or with sharing his own.

I think he sees through my crazy eyes that wanting to know about others, because you’re truly interested in their story, can be beautiful thing, and can create some wonderful bonds (and get you some fantastic stories!) He tells me routinely that it’s part of who I am – so he loves it too.

So if you’re going to be with someone, choose a person who is willing to think that you’re a special snowflake and treat you with all the care that should afford – but who’s also willing to push you and inspire you to being bigger, better and more than you were.

No one less is worth it – have many lovely friends and people around you – but don’t sacrifice your time and effort for someone who doesn’t cherish your soul.

Don’t expend energy loving someone who doesn’t love you more than you love you. 🙂

Where’s the merit in coping well?

Continuing on the theme of unseen illnesses, I think this applies to everyone to some extent.

And it frustrates the living crap out of me.

So here it is – just because someone is actually putting effort into coping with something doesn’t mean that it’s easy.

Whether it’s a stay-at-home mom or dad who hasn’t seen another adult socially in 6 months because they take care of all the details, or someone with an illness that doesn’t look like a chemo patient or amputee, many people you know are coping. Right now. Struggling to get through the day without hiding in a bathroom stall for a cry or waking out to their car because they “forgot their jacket” just so they can breathe.

It’s hard work not letting your emotional stress bleed on to others, and it deserves credit.

A good friend of mine and I have long said that there’s no merit in being a strong woman. Not that a) we actually believe that or b) that would change one damn thing we do if it were true.

But the feeling behind the sentiment is strong.

We are strong. We push through. We don’t throw our dirty laundry and open emotional wounds on FB for all to see.

But it seems as though, when you survive with the ‘stiff upper lip’, people don’t believe you might actually have difficult things to cope with, or don’t think you need help when you definitely do.

Those who let everything around them crumble without lifting a finger to stop the fall are seen as damsels in distress (or whatever the male equivalent is) – everyone rushes in to save the day.

And those who make some attempt to cope get…. nothing.

SO – here’s a clue. When you know someone who generally copes well, and they come to you with a problem – it’s HUGE. Just because they may not jump up and scream or cry doesn’t mean they’re okay. And if they’re talking to you – it’s because THEY NEED YOUR SUPPORT. They ARE reaching out to you – by even sharing with you. They’re likely not to beg – maybe it’s pride, and maybe that’s wrong. But it’s so.

When that person you know who seems to have it all together stops you to tell you about something difficult they’re going through – without gnashing of teeth and tearing of hair – STOP. LISTEN. and help if you can.

I promise you that they’ll never forget it – and that person who doesn’t panic – who can carry the world on their shoulders without looking for all the attention – you’ll want them in your corner one day when you have your own things going on – and you couldn’t ask for anyone better.