I’m not one for New Year’s Resolutions. I figure why would I make big changes in my life just because I changed the calendar? Shouldn’t we make these valuable changes throughout the year as needed?
However, in the spirit of the season, I’ve decided to share a few things that the residents of the Madhouse need to focus on.
1. Be kind to ourselves. As in, I need to be kinder to myself. Rian needs to be kinder to herself and Alexi needs to be kinder to himself. I’m terrible for berating myself and my kids have picked up this bad habit.
2. In that same vein – stop expecting perfection from ourselves and those around us. I am terrible for wanting things perfect (although those who have been to my home would never suspect this). I’m more about being perfect as in what other people expect me to be. This is, of course, a defense mechanism – if I’m perfect then no one can find fault with me and no one can pick on me/harass me/bully me/hurt me, etc. I need to remember that these people who are judging me are just as flawed as I am, only in different ways. It was Michael J. Fox who said “I am careful not to confuse excellence with perfection. Excellence I can reach for; perfection is God’s business.”
3. Laugh more. There is nothing quite as healing, or as wonderful, as laughter.
4. Be more present. In the now. Here. We here at the Madhouse are daydreamers. We are often lost in our thoughts to the point of being oblivious to what’s happening around us (this may be one of the worst parts of PTSD for me; getting lost in memories). This can also involve being lost in a good book, movie or TV show or, in the case of my children, a really flashy TV commercial (it’s true, if the TV is on you might as well talk to the wall because it will be more responsive than my kids). I wrote about this last year in The Art of Avoidance.
5. Become more social. I’m afraid I’ve become far less social since the fall when I started the med purge (see The Detox Blues). Because I have felt so moody and so down I opted to pull away from social activities such as church or girls’ night (I don’t have a lot of close friends either, since I don’t trust people easily it takes a lot for me to allow people in, also one of my dearest friends, K., moved across the country so I haven’t been able to see her). The reasons were very valid at the time; I was hyper-sensitive to large groups of people (still am, but not as bad), VERY moody and you know that filter you develop over time so you don’t say something hurtful and slightly crazy even though you’re thinking it? Mine disappeared, completely, which made for some very uncomfortable moments. I’m not the only one who is suffering socially. Both Rian and Alexi seem to have lost their closest friends for reasons I know not. They haven’t had a friend over or been invited to a friend’s house in at least 3 months. The only companions they have are each other, which is great that they get along, however I don’t think it’s benefiting their social development. So developing our social relationships will be a very important endeavour in the coming year.
6. Start a Jar of Gratitude. Basically, you take an empty jar and place scraps of paper with it. Throughout the year everyone in the family fills out the slips of paper with things they are grateful for as they have happened. At the end of the year you empty the jar and read all the positive things that happened throughout the year. I think this is a great idea since we (I especially) have such a bad habit of focusing on the negative. The little wonders of life often fall through the cracks in my memory. I may call it a “Good Things” jar though, just to be different.
I think that’s it, actually I think that’s lots! I hope everyone had a safe and Happy New Year. And I pray that this is the best year yet.