I am a wife and a mom to three beautiful girls. I work full time as a hospice nurse and I spend every waking hour TRYING (and sometimes failing) to live this life with intention to be the best version of myself possible. What that means for me is to practice being self aware of my thoughts, words, and actions. I don’t get it right all the time but I try my best and I try not to lose sight of the person that I want to be.
Who do I want to be? I want to be a person that leads with kindness in everything that I do. I want to be understanding and patient. I want to be a friend that is reliable and genuine. I want to be a wife that is strong and sexy and supports my husband in all that he does. I want to be a mom that my kids are proud to have and that isn’t afraid to admit that I don’t really know what I’m doing half the time. I want to be a woman full of grace and beauty that radiates from my soul.
Doesn’t that sound amazing?! It’s almost laughable in this season of my life to put these expectations on myself. We are a very busy family circus and I am the ring leader. Does that mean that inner peace and tranquility will have to wait until my kids move out and I retire? No! Absolutely not. But it does mean that I have to learn to let go of the things that I cannot control and put all of my energy into cultivating love in the things that I CAN control.
Things that are out of my control:
- Kids fighting
- Grumpy husband
- Dog puking
- Flat tires
- Unexpected expenses
- What people think about me
- Spilled milk
Things that I can control:
- How I react to everything and everyone else in my life.
The truth is, chaos happens and life isn’t perfect. Are you willing to sacrifice the life that you want just because it isn’t always picture perfect? Maybe you didn’t realize just how hard you were going to have to fight for your family. Maybe you didn’t realize that kids take more than they give and getting married means learning to live with someone who doesn’t always think the same as you do. Maybe you didn’t realize just how annoying another persons habits would be day in and day out.
Life with other human beings is hard. It takes a lot of love and a lot of patience and a lot of hard work.
One of the things that I have learned over the years is that, if you want to keep the peace in your home, you have to keep your heart tethered to your family.
If you have a busy family like mine, then I’m sure at some point you have experienced a time when you don’t get to spend much quality time together. Maybe it’s playoffs for your daughters soccer team. Maybe your husband and you work different shifts and are often two ships passing in the night. Maybe you’re PMSing and overwhelmed with the house work and the entire family is walking on egg shells trying not to ignite an explosion. Who here has been overly tired and snapped at your poor spouse or kids for no good reason? I certainly have and you know what? It sucks! It’s a horrible feeling! During these high stress situations, it is so important to stay emotionally connected to your family as this kind of chaos has a way of causing hearts to drift apart. This is where the tether comes in.
If you find yourself in the midst of a season in your life where you and your family are always on the go, always rushing, and always stressed then understand that you need to take extra care of those hearts you love so much. And if you are in a season like this, I’m sure you’ve realized how hard it can be to find the time to create meaningful moments that foster enough love to keep your hearts connected. It can be done though, and the quickest and most effective way I have found is to hug it out.
That’s right. A hug. A 20 second hug. A hug that is not rushed or obligatory. A hug that says everything you’re feeling, without saying a word. I like to fill my heart with all the love that I have for that person and visualize it radiating from my chest into theirs.
It may sound cheesy and corny but that’s ok, because it’s scientifically proven to work at increasing happiness and decreasing stress. When you hug it out, your brain releases chemicals. These chemicals not only improve your mood, but they also increase your emotional connection to the person you are hugging (hello tether).
I try to give big 20 second hugs on a regular basis to my family members. In fact, we’ve made it into a joke. If anyone is being exceptionally grumpy, I just say, “someone needs a hug!” Then the smothering begins! Sometimes it ends in a fit of laughter and a big group hug and sometimes we just sit quietly, letting go of the tension. Releasing the negative energy. But it always helps. I haven’t been shrugged off yet so I will continue to do this for as long as it is effective.
When you keep your heart tethered to your loved ones hearts and stay focused on who you want to be, then you will find that everything else gets a lot easier and you can react to the chaos around you with love and kindness. And when you do that, you start a ripple that spreads farther than you could ever imagine.
Try it right now. Go hug someone for 20 seconds (preferably someone you know) and see what it does for your relationship, for your mood, and for your overall sanity.
We’re all in this together, we might as well be nice to each other.