Bullying: What my daughter did next I never expected to happen

    When my daughter Kendra was in the second grade, she came home daily complaining about a little boy in her class that was mean to her. I just listened and did not offer much feedback until one day she told me the boy broke a chair over her back. I was infuriated! However, I knew that my anger was not going to stop this boy. Instead, I asked Kendra to tell me why she thought this young man was so angry. She said she did not know. I began to ask her questions about his life. Soon she was able to put the pieces together. The young man's parents had recently gotten divorced. He switched homes every few days and Kendra was a happy kid with a stable home. This young man envied what she had. I noticed that the conversation between Kendra and I had helped her no longer feel powerless and frustrated.

In fact, I did not anticipate what she did next.

The next day when I picked her up from school she told me she stood up to this boy and he started crying. I was a little nervous at this point. What exactly did she do?

She told me she looked him right in the eye and said “I know why you are so angry. You're tired of going back and forth between homes and you hate it that your parents got divorced, but guess what? I am not the one who has hurt you and you can no longer take your anger out on me.”

That was it.

The boy never bothered her again.

Let me tell you about a kid named Jeff. Jeff was a middle schooler. He was thought of to be a bright young man who enjoyed reading, math, and science. He spent his days on the computer researching how to invent toys and change the world. He was considered by many to be a geek and relentlessly picked on because he did not fit the status quo. Jeff began to hate going to school. He was told to just ignore the bully. That did not work. The bullies just increased their intensity in an effort to get a reaction and Jeff became increasingly more depressed and suicidal. 

Jeff would be:

  • Pushed into lockers.
  • His stuff would be stolen.
  • He would be relentlessly poked.
  • Made fun of.
  • And humiliated in front of peers.

    Jeff would report the bullies, but soon the school got tired of  Jeff being picked on so they advised him to just suck it up and ignore. He became increasingly angry and the thoughts of ending his life became so predominant that he could no longer focus on living but only on dying.

                  If he died, his after life would provide no more suffering, pain or heartache. His daily suffering would be over. As a therapist, Jeff’s story breaks my heart. I wonder why, as a society, we fear conflict so much? What are we afraid? Why do schools push the idea of “Ignore the bully”?

                  Jeff saw a mental health professional who taught him that bullies hated confidence and that it was ok to stand up for himself. He soon, with much fear and trembling did it!
                  One day Jeff was playing ball with friends in the school parking lot when the bully approached him and started making fun of he and his friend. Jeff became so angry that he told the bully “I will not tolerate you treating us like this anymore, you need to go pick on kids your own size.” The boy walked away and never said another word. Jeff told his therapist that he was angry because he had no idea that's all it took. He felt frustrated that he had endured years of bullying when all it took to stop it was confronting the bully.

Stopbullying.gov states:

Be persistent. Bullying may not end overnight. Commit to making it stop and consistently support the bullied child.

Avoid these mistakes:

  • Never tell the child to ignore the bullying.
  • Do not blame the child for being bullied. Even if he or she provoked the bullying, no one deserves to be bullied.
  • Do not tell the child to physically fight back against the kid who is bullying. It could get the child hurt, suspended, or expelled.
  • Parents should resist the urge to contact the other parents involved. It may make matters worse. School or other officials can act as mediators between parents.

Follow-up. Show a commitment to making bullying stop. Because bullying is behavior that repeats or has the potential to be repeated, it takes consistent effort to ensure that it stops.

So why does ignoring a bully not work?

                  Bullies are in a fight for control and power. They often prey on those who they believe is inferior or powerless, but this is not always the case, sometimes they are simply threatened by a stronger, confident person, and choose to make it their life mission to tear them down.

 

Bullies are bullies because they have their own story of brokenness.

 

For a kid like Jeff, it is imperative that he learns all about his bullies in order to stop the bullying.

He should ask questions to himself like:

Why am I the target of bullying?

What about me triggers the bully?

Do I remind him of his dad? Was the bully once a target of bullying?

What is going on in the bullies’ personal life that has caused he or she to act and behave the way they do?

    When Kendra confronted the bully she robbed him of power and control and sent a message loud and clear that she would not tolerate it. To this day, 8 years later, this kid does not bother her. Bullies have their own story of pain and brokenness, and understanding those stories bring insight to those who are bullied. A bully needs professional help and should be referred to a professional. In the mean time if your child is being bullied you should teach them about emotions, how to handle conflict appropriately and how to fight back with their wit and self-confidence.


To the bully at school: My daughter is not ugly

 
 

 This morning, on the way to school, my daughter Kaidance, was telling me how this girl in her grade, who she has had trouble with since elementary school, still hates her and makes mean comments to her every day. She tells Kaidance she is ugly, that her hair is frizzy and tries to cut in front of her in lines.

What I love is that Kaidance will not tolerate it!

The school motto for dealing with bullies is

"Be a buddy not a bully, just walk away."

Our family motto for bullying is to fight back! No, I don't want my kids to get in physical altercations, nor do I want them to be unkind, I do want them to use their wit and confidence to cause the bully to stand down.

Kaidance told me when she will not let the girl cut in line, the girl ramps up the intensity by asking her why her hair is so frizzy or telling everyone she is ugly. No matter what the girls says or does Kaidance stands her ground and does not move. This infuriates the girl till she walks away! 

I get what the school is trying to do, bullying has become an epidemic and they are trying to give kids tools to deal with it but ignoring someone does not work!

In my practice I see a lot of victims of domestic violence and abuse of all kinds. I never tell clients to just be a buddy to their abuser or walk away. It. Does. Not. Work. The person who is quiet and unwilling to defend themselves is seen as week by the perpetrator.

A woman who is being beaten, continues to be beaten if she just ignores or abuser.

A country who is threatening to nuke us will not stand down because we ignore them.

A husband will not stop using words as weapons because he is ignored.

The mean neighbor, who does stuff to get reactions, will not stop because you ignore them.

Ignoring people or problems do not make them go away. It just causes the intensity to increase. Why? Because the person is wanting a reaction, they do not care if it is positive or negative, they want something!

Here is how you deal with a bully:

  • You show unwavering confidence.
  • You use your words to fight back.
  • You do not tolerate disrespect of any kind.

When the girl tells my daughter her hair is frizzy, I tell her to reply with “I actually love my frizzy hair!”

When the girls tells her she is ugly, I tell her to reply by saying “I am glad I do not look like you.”

Eventually, the girl will realize Kaidance is unmoved by her comments and will give up because bullies only bully those who think is weak. My daughter is not weak, so soon the girl will have to move on to someone else.

Raise your kids to be strong, confident and to demand respect! That is not unkind, it is loving yourself.

 

A good role model for a father

 


This weekend my husband and I went to the Tim McGraw and Faith Hill concert. One of my favorite songs they sing is “It's your love”.

It's your love, it just does something to me, it sends a shock right through me, I can’t get enough. If you wonder about the spell, I am under. It's your love.

My entire family is under this spell from this man I call my husband and my children call dad. He loves us all fiercely. There is not a day that goes by that I am not overwhelmed with gratitude for him. He is determined and fights for good. As a therapist, I often see that being a good dad or husband is not modeled but one can always learn. My husband is a great one to learn from if you don’t know him then find someone you respect and model your life after them. Here are observations from watching my husband that will make anyone a good dad if they follow these tips.

1.Make sure your child knows your love in unconditional. My husband told me before my children were born that he would go out of his way to make sure they knew there was nothing they could do to cause him to love them more or less. He has drilled this in their heads! His love is unwavering and will not change, regardless of what they do. IMG_6001

  1. Work hard. When my husband and I met we barely had two nickels to rub together but no matter what, my husband fought hard to provide a good life for our children. He has always modeled “Hard work pays off”. He has waited tables, sold life insurance, answered calls in a call center, coached, taught, pastored and even worked in a nursing home because not providing for our children has never been an option. IMG_6986
  2. Be Patient. Children can try our patients right? They start exploring their world and asking questions from the moment they start talking. Enjoy these moments. My husband has more patience than anyone I know. He often reminds himself that they are just little, they’re learning, and mostly he never forgets that words and actions matter, so he shows grace more than anything else. IMG_6118
  3. Be gentle. My husband has never used his hands to hurt my children. His hands are gentle, loving, soft and nurturing. He realizes that soft words and actions lead to safety, He is a safe haven of protection.

    IMG_5944

  4. Pursue their hearts. What are your children passionate about? What do they love? What is their biggest fears, strengths, and weaknesses? My husband knows my girls inside and out. He encourages their strengths, teaches them to be the best they can be and would move mountains to make their dreams comes true. IMG_8382
  5. Invite conversation. I personally grew up in an environment of “What I say goes.”, “You do it because I am the parent”. Joe, from the beginning, wanted our children to be able to argue with us, defend what they believe, and engage wisdom, knowledge,  and research. He has pulled this off well. I will never forget when our daughter Kendra came to us wanting a bedtime extension in 4th grade. Joe listened to her argument, told her to go research bedtimes for children her age and come back with reasons why and he should extend the bedtime. She did and he changed her bedtime. He always invites our children to think and pursue wisdom. Super shot
  6. Date your children. From the time my girls have been two, Joe has taken them on dates. He wants them to know he is the most important man in their life. He has set the bar high. I know one day they will date and find love but hopefully, the standard of excellence is high because their dad has been a model to them on how they should be treated.  Joe and Kaidance
  1. Model how they should be treated. This is one I see all the time. Parents, the chances your children will model the relationship you have with your spouse is very high so do it well while you have the chance. It is never too late to change. My husband kisses me, pursues me, puts me first, laughs with me, dreams with me, fights with me, and intentionally grosses our children out so he can model to them what a healthy relationship looks like. IMG_6736
  2. Laugh with them. My family loves to laugh. My husband wrestles with them, teases them and invites them to a good time and they accept the invitation. We never, ever want to lose our sense of wonder. Life is too short. Joe and Kyra laughing
  3. Engage in the fun. We work hard and play hard. Another one of my husband’s ideas through the years has been family fun night. Essentially one day a week we engage in family fun together. It can be a walk on the beach, video games, dinner out, the zoo, a road-trip or simply a fun night in that the park. The point is, no matter what we do, we choose to be engaged, laugh together and talk about life. IMG_5986 Joe and Kendra

My husband is a wise man and I am so thankful he is the father of my children. He is very selfless, loving, patient and giving and we are lucky to have his love because it just does something to usJ.


What is guided imagery and how does it reduce stress?

I currently have a 30 days of mindful meditation group going that you can join by clicking on this link https://www.facebook.com/groups/286899935052609/

What is Guided Imagery?

    Guided Imagery is great for the visual learner. It invites participants to use their imagination to visit the most relaxing place they can imagine! It is just like daydreaming. Perhaps your “happy” place is on a sandy beach, feeling the sun beating down you, listening to the waves crash into the sand. Maybe it is sitting on a river bank listening to the trickling water hit the rocks. Wherever it is you find peace, relaxation, and comfort is where you should let your mind go while doing Guided Imagery.

    While you are immersed in your scene try to let your fives senses do the work, do you hear the waves crashing against the beach? Do you smell the fresh air and feel the sand on your skin? Do you taste the salty water? Stay here, in your happy place as long as you need to, when you're ready, leave your happy place and tell yourself you're going to enjoy the rest of your day. It's like returning from a mini vacation only, you never left the room.

    Guided Imagery helps reduce stress by calming your body so you can enjoy a few minutes of relaxation!! Did you also know it also helps create resiliency, reduces your chance of getting sick and aids in sleep? You should try it and tell me how it goes.
(Don’t forget to breathe deeply and sit comfortably while you enjoy the mini vacation in your mind.)


10 signs you may struggle with depression

Did you know that according to the National Institute of Mental Health (2015) that 350 million people across the globe struggle with depression? Depression is often viewed as a deliberating feeling that often leaves you in bed. Here are 10 ways to recognize if you or someone you love is depressed.

1. You are in chronic pain. Pain can be unbearable and hard to deal with especially if the cause has not been discovered or a cure, treatment option or pain management is not available. Untreated, prolonged pain can cause depression because the pain is sent through the spinal cord to the Cerebral Cortex. The Cerebral Cortex then assigns meaning to the pain based on current or previous social and personal experiences.

2. You have an eating disorder. Individuals who eat too little or too much could suffer from depression. Often times the feelings of guilt, shame and fear take over when a person eats, leading to a vicious cycle of over or under eating. When an individual feels they cannot win, they feel defeated and often fall into what seems like a hopeless battle.

 3. You are having trouble in a relationship. Prolonged conflict in a relationship can lead to feeling helpless, stuck, overwhelmed and sad. Relationship issues can cause the brain to release unhealthy amounts of the stress hormone cortisol into the brain causing your situation to feel out of control.

4. You feel numb. Individuals often become depressed without even realizing it because they go through life like a robot with no emotion or feeling. Often numbness is a result of emotions and feelings being suppressed out of fear of being rejected or hurt.

5. You want to sleep all the time. Did you know that a healthy person only needs 7-8 hours of sleep per day? If you find yourself tired all the time and sleeping your day away, then there is a good chance you are depressed.

6. You are drinking too much alcohol. A lot of research suggests that certain alcoholic beverages are good for you. However, if you cannot wait to get home from work to open a can of beer, whiskey, or vodka and one turns into 3 or 4, chances are, you’re depressed.

7. You lack a desire to be around people. If you would rather be playing video games, engrossed in a book or spend most days avoiding people, chances are, you’re depressed. Depressed people often want to be alone.

8. You cry a lot. If you find yourself crying a lot, feeling sad and alone, chances are your depressed. Often this is the result of feeling like no one cares, alone or stuck.

9. You use drugs casually. If you use Marijuana on a regular basis to cope with life, chances are, you are struggling with depression. Street drugs often help individuals feel relaxed and carefree, however, what many do not realize, is they’re actually causing you to sink further into depression.

10. You have stopped caring about your appearance. Often when we become depressed we simply stop caring about how we look or what others might think of us. If you find yourself staying in your comfy clothes, not caring if your teeth are brushed or hair is combed, there is a good chance you can be depressed.

The good news is depression is treatable. It takes time, but if you're committed to getting better, a counselor can help you discover the root of your depression and teach you skills to overcome it. You are not a hopeless case.


The Truth About Mother’s Day

 

Mothers-Day-Pictures

            Mother’s Day is a ponderous day for me. I love being a mom and feel so proud to be the mother to our four children. They bring joy to our lives daily, however, I often think about the people who cannot have children, the children who have lost their moms, the mom who has lost her child, the mom who lost her husband and the mom whose children no longer speak to her. My heart goes out to them. I imagine the day is filled with many emotions.  

 To the women who cannot have children

            My heart goes out to you. The emptiness you feel is real and I know it sucks. It is hard when you want something so bad and for whatever reason, it will not happen. Please know it is not your fault. I know that is not always easy to accept. I hope you find joy in the day celebrating a mother in your life and never forget that a mom is not just a woman who gives birth but a woman who cares and nurtures for others, if you pour your life in a child, you’re a mother so Happy Mother’s Day to you.

To the child who has lost their mother

            I am sorry. I imagine this day brings sadness. Losing a mom sucks. Moms fill our life with joy, love, and laughter and when they are gone, it hurts. I imagine that no matter how long it has been, the pain of not being able to pick up the phone to call them never goes away.

 I would love to hear about your mom. Would you share your favorite memory of her with me? I hope that as you mourn the loss of your mom that there is another mother in your life to celebrate today.

To the mother who has lost her child

            This is the most difficult one for me to write. I cannot imagine your pain and the longing you must feel to hold your child once more, to see them, to touch them, or simply tell them you love them. To me, you are a hero because you got to love them and let them go. That pain is indescribable I am sure.  I hope that you do not skip this day. Celebrate the mom you were, are and want to be. You never stop being a mom. Pull out pictures of your child, letters they wrote you or videos you might have. I know this can be hard and you don’t want to experience those emotions and feelings again but I invite you to cry, laugh, feel anger and mourn if that is what it takes. Feeling will bring healing. Most of all, I hope that those memories bring you joy and remind you of the life you invested in for so long. Celebrate you today because you are worth celebrating!

To the mom who lost her husband

            I cannot imagine what pain you feel on a day like today. I am so sorry for your loss. I hope that if your children are young, that someone in your life celebrates you. You deserved to be noticed, pampered and cared for today. I hope that you see your husband in your children’s eyes and that his memory never dies. I hope that your day is filled with love, laughter. and hope.

To the mom whose children won’t speak to her

            As a counselor, this is the most difficult one for me to understand. Life is so short. I am sure there is a story of pain and hurt and that has caused this separation but I hope one day the pain, wounds, and hurt can be healed. Never give up hope. I hope, that even in the silence, that you celebrate you today. You’re a still mother regardless of how you are treated. 

To all the mom’s out there

            You’re not a mom just because who gave a birth, a mom is a woman who nurtures, cares for and loves children unconditionally. I know that today can be hard for many of you but I hope that even in your pain that you chose to celebrate you today because you deserve it!

Take a day to relax, catch a movie, have a spa treatment or just hang around those you love. I hope whatever you choice to do, that your day will remind you of just how special you are.

Happy Mother’s Day everyone!

Leave a comment and tell me what makes the mom in your life special


A journey to private practice

    As a child, even though I had low-esteem and little belief in myself, it never stopped me from dreaming. I remember fantasizing about being preaching or working in a hospital one day. As I matured, and after many days and hours in the school library, I decided I wanted to be a counselor. You can check out my story here http://www.ericamartino.com/2016/12/i-had-to-prove-i-was-not-the-dumb-girl-from-high-school-.html.

At a young age, I enjoyed hearing people’s stories and helping them move toward change. When I graduated high school I enrolled in a college and was planning to get my degree in counseling. Instead of getting my counseling degree at that time I chose to get married. 

                  After I got married, I begin working with my husband first at a church, then at couple different schools. We have always done well working together. One day an opportunity presented itself for me to open a fitness center for an investor in the town where we lived. After much contemplation, I decided to give it a try. The fitness center grew rapidly and soon I was running 7 different centers in 3 different states. My favorite part about my job was listening to all the members tell me their stories of pain, hope, and perseverance. After several years of running fitness centers, I decide to become a stay at home mom and take care of my sweet children but even while being at home, my passion for personal development never left me.

                  During my years at home, my husband was working hard providing for our family while attending graduate school. Since he was gone a lot, I decided to go back to school and get a degree in business. This worked out great because when he graduated he wanted to open a private practice and I knew just how to do it.  

                  We spent many hours planning, writing business plans and developing a social media plan before opening our doors in 2010. While Joe was busy seeing clients, I took care of the day to day operations of the business while I continued to finish my education and care for my children. Our practice started in a little two room suite on the East Beltline in Grand Rapids but our long term dream was never to stay small but to reach one person at time so we could change a community and eventually change the world which led us to expansion.

          In 2013, we moved our small, two-roomed office to East Paris Ave and rented an 11 room office. This was a big move for us that came with a lot of fear.

What if we could not afford the rent?

What if clients stopped coming?

What if, what if, what if……

                   We did not let our fears stop us, our mission was always bigger then our fears therefore in 2014 we opened an additional location in Lowell, MI and in 2015 we expanded to Grandville, MI. In addition to running 3 offices, Joe and I own Hopes and Dreams marriage conferences. For 7 years now, we have been traveling all around the state holding marriage conferences because we believe healthy marriages create healthy families. In addition to the marriage conferences, Joe is invited often to speak on the new stations, for the local hospitals and even the schools. Our dreams have not stopped with expanding our practices or hosting conferences. In addition to these things Joe is also working on writing a book and creating curriculum.

               It is our desire that couples all over the country can learn what it takes to make a marriage not just survive but thrive. While Joe invests his free time in writing and public speaking I work with businesses to help them grow.

                  I have been offering business consulting now for many years. I have a passion for helping small business because I believe small business help America be stronger while providing more jobs. Plus, I love showing others how they can take a dream and turn into a reality. It simply starts with a good road map.

    Are you wondering how Joe and I have time to run a private practice and do all this? The truth we have an amazing team of therapist and support staff.  Together we all strive to be the best in Grand Rapids. In order to the be the best we have learned a lot the hard way which has involved making a lot of mistakes but without mistakes it is impossible to learn.  The process to become the best has involved weeding out, adding, learning, growing and developing but it has all been necessary to achieve excellence.

    While I have been working beside my husband throughout this journey as his business developer, I have recently added more responsible and am now a therapist. I love being a therapist. There is no greater joy occupationally then journeying with someone toward healing. My journey started with a childhood dream that exploded into something bigger and I would not change any of it because this journey has brought me where I am today.


A journey to private practice

    As a child, even though I had low-esteem and little belief in myself, it never stopped me from dreaming. I remember fantasizing about being preaching or working in a hospital one day. As I matured, and after many days and hours in the school library, I decided I wanted to be a counselor. You can check out my story here http://www.ericamartino.com/2016/12/i-had-to-prove-i-was-not-the-dumb-girl-from-high-school-.html.

At a young age, I enjoyed hearing people’s stories and helping them move toward change. When I graduated high school I enrolled in a college and was planning to get my degree in counseling. Instead of getting my counseling degree at that time I chose to get married. 

                  After I got married, I begin working with my husband first at a church, then at couple different schools. We have always done well working together. One day an opportunity presented itself for me to open a fitness center for an investor in the town where we lived. After much contemplation, I decided to give it a try. The fitness center grew rapidly and soon I was running 7 different centers in 3 different states. My favorite part about my job was listening to all the members tell me their stories of pain, hope, and perseverance. After several years of running fitness centers, I decide to become a stay at home mom and take care of my sweet children but even while being at home, my passion for personal development never left me.

                  During my years at home, my husband was working hard providing for our family while attending graduate school. Since he was gone a lot, I decided to go back to school and get a degree in business. This worked out great because when he graduated he wanted to open a private practice and I knew just how to do it.  

                  We spent many hours planning, writing business plans and developing a social media plan before opening our doors in 2010. While Joe was busy seeing clients, I took care of the day to day operations of the business while I continued to finish my education and care for my children. Our practice started in a little two room suite on the East Beltline in Grand Rapids but our long term dream was never to stay small but to reach one person at time so we could change a community and eventually change the world which led us to expansion.

          In 2013, we moved our small, two-roomed office to East Paris Ave and rented an 11 room office. This was a big move for us that came with a lot of fear.

What if we could not afford the rent?

What if clients stopped coming?

What if, what if, what if……

                   We did not let our fears stop us, our mission was always bigger then our fears therefore in 2014 we opened an additional location in Lowell, MI and in 2015 we expanded to Grandville, MI. In addition to running 3 offices, Joe and I own Hopes and Dreams marriage conferences. For 7 years now, we have been traveling all around the state holding marriage conferences because we believe healthy marriages create healthy families. In addition to the marriage conferences, Joe is invited often to speak on the new stations, for the local hospitals and even the schools. Our dreams have not stopped with expanding our practices or hosting conferences. In addition to these things Joe is also working on writing a book and creating curriculum.

               It is our desire that couples all over the country can learn what it takes to make a marriage not just survive but thrive. While Joe invests his free time in writing and public speaking I work with businesses to help them grow.

                  I have been offering business consulting now for many years. I have a passion for helping small business because I believe small business help America be stronger while providing more jobs. Plus, I love showing others how they can take a dream and turn into a reality. It simply starts with a good road map.

    Are you wondering how Joe and I have time to run a private practice and do all this? The truth we have an amazing team of therapist and support staff.  Together we all strive to be the best in Grand Rapids. In order to the be the best we have learned a lot the hard way which has involved making a lot of mistakes but without mistakes it is impossible to learn.  The process to become the best has involved weeding out, adding, learning, growing and developing but it has all been necessary to achieve excellence.

    While I have been working beside my husband throughout this journey as his business developer, I have recently added more responsible and am now a therapist. I love being a therapist. There is no greater joy occupationally then journeying with someone toward healing. My journey started with a childhood dream that exploded into something bigger and I would not change any of it because this journey has brought me where I am today.


Why someone can’t make you do anything, leaving you one choice, your 100% responsible for you all the time.

Phrases  I often hear is:

“He made me yell at him.”

“We got into a fight because she made me mad."

My children will often say “I only hit her because she gave me a dirty look, if she would have been straight face then I would not have gotten so mad.”

“It's my teacher's fault I failed, if she would’ve told me about my missing assignments then I would not have failed.”

“It's America’s fault I am so angry and burning cars if they would’ve elected Hillary instead of Trump this would not be happening.”

“It's my employer's fault I am late to work; they should not expect me to be there so early.”

“It's my child’s fault he got his mouth smacked, with language like that he deserves it.”

Here is the truth, no one makes you do or say anything. I am going to say that again

No one makes you say or doing anything.

                  You are 100% responsible for yourself all the time. This is something I repeat to clients over and over again. Why do I pound this in people’s heads? Because change cannot happen as long as we believe someone is responsible for our happiness or actions.  We are all created with Will Power.

                                                    Will Power

                  What is Will Power? Will Power is the ability to resist temptation and control oneself. This is important because when a person realizes they possess the ability to control themselves it changes everything. Will Power empower you to make immediate decisions and control the consequences, this means that you have control of your actions all the time. What if you don’t have Will Power? The good news is it is a learned behavior. When you develop the ability to control your own actions it actually increases your self-esteem.

                                                Self Esteem

                  Who wants to think someone else has control over them? I certainly do not. Will Power means that you can stop:

Yelling

You can stop being mean.

You can stop eating the food you don’t want to eat.

You can stop hurting other people.

You can stop smoking.

You can stop taking drugs.

You can stop being treated like a second class citizen.

You can stop blaming the Devil for your choices.

You can decide to….

To walk away.

To make a different choice.

To live a healthier lifestyle.

To be the bigger person in an argument.

To be a better person.

To love your spouse more than you love yourself.

To love your children more than you love your job or addiction.

To choice the higher road every time.

And when you realize no one can make you do anything, your self-esteem grows! A person has a healthy self-esteem when they feel good about themselves. People feel good about themselves when they realize others cannot make them say, feel or do anything. When you realize you control you, your marriage, life, and world will become more tolerable because even when you are invited to a fight, you have the power to walk away.


How to deal with emotional pain

It has been 16 years since I experienced some of the worst physical and emotional pain I have ever experienced. My husband Joe and I were newly married and lived 10 hours from family. Joe had accepted a job at a Christian school. During our time there I became pregnant which was not planned nor expected. None the less, Joe and I were very excited! We were new to this whole pregnancy stuff and was not sure what to expect. We found a doctor and arrived at our first sonogram, only to hear the most dreaded words “We cannot find a heartbeat.” They told me not to worry; I could be early, and the heartbeat could still come. Week after week I went back to the doctor hoping to hear a heartbeat. Soon I had to come to terms with the fact the baby was gone. I refused a DNC and lost the baby at home. That night was horrible; I lost so much blood I passed out, I was fatigued and suffering from a broken heart. The physical pain was bad but nothing in comparison to the emotional pain. I felt alone and broken. Over the next several months, I did everything I could to distract myself from the pain. I was tired of feeling those disturbing emotions that kept me a prisoner to my bed.

A couple of years went by, and I moved to a new town and new doctor and life continued. I felt so much hope because I was getting a new doctor and hoping she could finally give me some answers. I was excited to ask the doctor what I did wrong to have a miscarriage. When I asked the doctor what I did wrong, she replied

“I think you need to accept you did nothing wrong that sometimes bad things happen to good people.”

This was not the answer I wanted to hear but the answer I need to hear to start healing. We begin to heal from emotional pain when we do these things:

Choose to live in a relationship with others because we are not meant to suffer alone

To deal with grief, we must realize we cannot suffer alone. It is important to surround ourselves with others, rely on them and allow them to help carry your burden. Do not be a silent griever. Your friends are not mind readers; it is important that you share with others your needs so they can help you through your grief.

Acknowledge your emotions

Most people get tired of feeling, yet it is through feeling you find healing. If you are angry, sad, feeling lonely, hating life, depressed, whatever your emotion might be, you need to name it. “Today I am feeling angry because…….” Give yourself permission to grieve.

Visit your pain and name it

Regardless of when it was it is important to revisit the pain, experience the emotions, and be honest about what happened and how you felt. Set grieving goals Grief has no time limit however what you do with your grief does. If you have been struggling to get out of bed, sleeping all the time or unable to find purpose in life then you need to set goals. These goals can be simple and involve something like:

• Today I am going to get out of bed.

• Today I am going to call a friend.

• Today I am going to socialize.

• Today I am going to do something for myself.

Setting grieving goals helps us to realize we must go on.

Pour your life into someone else

Sometimes, to move past trauma, it is necessary to pour your time into someone else. This allows you to see others pain and often brings a new outlook to life.

Try viewing your situation through a different lens

When life is hard, often you become stuck. After I had lost my first baby, a couple of years later I lost two more. It sucked, and the losses continued to feed the narrative in my head that I must have done something to deserve this. It is when I looked at my situation from a different lens that I began to heal. Here is the different lens I looked through:

• What if I lost my babies because we live in a broken world and it was nothing that I did but instead the result of a fallen humanity?

• What if I lost my babies because even though my pain was unimaginable, it was meant to be used to help others one day.

• What if I lost my babies because I had to learn that life is hard.

Accepting life is hard because its suppose to be

Life is hard because it is meant to be. We were never promised an easy life however we were promised the tools to help us endure. When we realize we are strong, we can overcome, we can fight for a new day, and that are worst circumstances, if we allow them to, can bring healing for ourselves and others, life begins to be beautiful again because we have chosen to accept what is.

Accept your pain

When we realize, we cannot change our circumstances. We cannot make our pain go away. We cannot avoid it, it leaves us one choice and that is to sit in it. It has been 16 years, and I do not know why I lost my babies, but I have learned to accept it. I have learned to accept that pain is a part of my story however it does not have to define who I am. Through my hardship, I learned I am a fighter. I did not give up, and continue to be the best me I can be. I hope those babies know that their mom never gave up but instead fought to make life beautiful, that I chose to endure and provide a good life for their father and siblings. If you have experienced pain or currently experiencing pain, do not give up, acknowledge your pain, sit in your pain, surround yourself with people you love and keep going. Do not give up.