NEW CASTLE —
Do you know how to let it go? I mean really ... REALLY ... let it go?
I've found myself slipping into a depression recently, and I know that much of it is because I'm feeling overwhelmed. I allow outside forces to influence me too much, and since I'm in this stage of trying to improve my life, the negative feedback is little bit like getting slapped in the face.
I have to keep fighting myself to let the negativity go, and hold on to the progress that I'm making, even if the outside world feels compelled to criticize. That process is exhausting, and I think that's where the feeling of being overwhelmed comes in.
I find myself constantly asking why I'm trying so hard to be perfect when it seems I'll never measure up in every else's eyes.
My biggest major victory was quitting smoking. It was the bad habit I'd picked up to help alleviate my stress, and it was the thing I hated most about myself. Unfortunately, it's also one of the hardest habits in the world to break.
I tossed the cigs and chose nicotine replacement in the form of a nicotine inhaler, also known as an e-cig. (If you don't know what that is, it's basically a battery with replaceable cartridges of nicotine. When used, it looks like you're smoking a cigarette, and you even blow out water vapor that looks like real smoke but isn't. You step down the level of nicotine until the addiction is broken.)
I'm not going to pretend to be modest here: I was so proud of myself that I could hardly fit my head through a doorway. I'd been to hell and back, and I didn't turn to drugs or alcohol or any of the other major (so I thought!) destructive behaviors to cope. But I'd stupidly self-medicated with smoking, and we all know that addiction of any kind takes an iron will to overcome.
So imagine the sock to the gut (and ego) when several people made comments like "technically, you're still smoking" and "but you're still addicted to nicotine, you know" and "well, it's a step in the right direction."
Are you freaking kidding me? I just gave up the ONE crutch that I allowed myself, and I feel like a little kid who had her security blanket yanked from her hands and set on fire in right in front of her!
But not one of these people were, or ever had been, smokers, or addicts of any kind — at least that I'm aware. So while I tried to keep from crying (without a smoke) and not lash out at anyone (without a smoke) and tell myself to still be proud of myself (without a smoke) and not let it upset me (without ... a ... freaking ... smoke), I had to remind myself that I'm not trying to better myself for the critics — I'm trying to better myself for me.
Same deal with a couple of comments about my parenting skills recently. A teacher made a statement that there's "no discipline" in my home, in front of my child and another teacher. When I shared the story with a friend, she agreed that the teacher is right. Now, let me just say here that I'm not trying to argue semantics, but "NO" discipline is not quite the same thing as "NOT ENOUGH" discipline, the latter of which I have no problem admitting guilt to.
I told my son that day the teacher had a point, although I felt she was unprofessional to have said it in that setting. I said as much to the friend too, but still felt a little honey-badgerish having to defend myself. The way I look at it is that my kids are basically well-behaved kids, and they both have hearts bigger than most people I know — and that alone tells me that I can't be completely falling down on the job. Again, none of this criticism comes from anyone who has spent a single day living in my home, nor walked a mere inches in my shoes.
The funny thing about depression is that it offers a peculiar detachment from the emotions that usually boil right on the surface for me. Sure, it still hurts, but I feel more objective about it all than I usually do. For most of these critics, no real harm was meant by their words, and for the rest, it was just lack of understanding.
The irony is not lost on me that I learned a valuable lesson provided through a side effect of a condition as damaging as depression. That's the way God works sometimes. I couldn't learn to let things go — really, REALLY let things go — and so I was showed how.
I'm not perfect just because I'm now a non-smoker, and my children will never be perfect no matter what type of discipline I choose to use, whether the critics agree with it or not. What matters is that I keep trying to be the best person that I can be, and that I try raise my children to be the best people they can be.
What matters more is that I let go of every else's notion of what is perfect, because I really have no interest in trying to live up to impossible standards. It's demoralizing and depressing, and in MY home, we write with pencils that have erasers. And what's more is that we know that we're flawed, and in many ways broken.
But we know that it's through our cracks that the light of God shines through, and hearing those messages is far more important than hearing the voices of critics.
NEW CASTLE —
Do you know how to let it go? I mean really ... REALLY ... let it go?
- News Bloggers
Josh Drespling: My daughter’s invitation was irresistible — and so was her performance
What agony is this?What evil villain has prepared this dastardly event and entrapped me in its bitter grasp? The scene: An elementary school gym on perhaps one of the hottest and most humid days of the year.
Gary Church: Speaking to Neshannock students lands me in principal’s office
When the phone rings, and the caller says, "Gary, Tim Kolodziej," I start bracing myself for another exciting adventure. On this particular occasion, he wanted me to speak at Neshannock High School, for Career Day.
Tim Kolodziej: Five lessons from the ‘gas pump karaoke’ couple (with video)
Consider this a warning. Your cheeks are going to ache from smiling so much. You’re going to be humming these songs until you go to bed tonight. You might even bust a dance move in your office. But that’s OK. Watch the accompanying video anyway.
Gary Church: Dang! I missed out on meeting Pat Toomey — whoever that is
Sometimes I say "Yes" to something before I think about it. I received a call from The News office, wanting me to take photos of Pat Toomey's visit to the county courthouse. Very eager to do so, I said, "Yes!"
Mitchel Olszak: Snooping threat to the free press
In “All the President’s Men,” reporter Bob Woodward conducts late-night meetings with a source in a parking garage. That source, Deep Throat (later revealed to be high-ranking FBI official Mark Felt), was worried that he would be exposed as a tipster in the Watergate scandal.
Josh Drespling: Sick and tired of being sick and tired
I'm sick of being sick! It has been over a week now fighting this ungodly pestilence that has settled in my body. Despite my best efforts, this plague has taken a firm hold of every avenue of my being. It has become the most constant and present force in my life.
Gary Church: A REAL buffet for Father’s Day? Now that’s saying a mouthful!
My favorite thing about Mother’s Day is the buffet. I can do some real damage with a nice spread of food laid out before me. A good, homemade buffet can't be beat.
Tim Kolodziej: Want true gratification? Then delay it
Whether you are an athlete, an entrepreneur or a stay-at-home mom, you will be faced with dozens of temptations today. For better or for worse, your life depends on your choices.
Gary Church: A little trimmer is just the right fit for someone my age
There are definite signs in my life that show I'm really starting to age. I can't believe that I just bought a battery powered trimmer/edger. The gas trimmer I have now is 25 years old and very powerful.
Lisa Madras: I’ve still got plenty of questions, but now I have family to help answer them
What’s something new you’ve recently learned about yourself? Oh, happy day. I've been waiting my whole life to have a great answer to this question, and now that I finally do. I can hardly believe it myself.
- More News Bloggers Headlines
- Josh Drespling: My daughter’s invitation was irresistible — and so was her performance