Love Yourself for Greater Happiness #BehindTheBlogger

There are many reasons to love yourself. No matter what you do in life, you will always be you, so why not be a happier you. Yes, loving yourself can increase your happiness.

Be kind to yourself. Acknowledge some of the things that you appreciate about yourself. Making an effort to focus on the positive things about you and in your life invites a positive mindset, attitude and a better mood. It allows you to be in the moment with your greatness. Yes, you are great!

There is only one you. There will only ever be one you. Love yourself. Do your best to take care of you. Take time for you.

Sometimes, life gets busy and it can be a challenge. Sometimes, you put yourself a little lower on your priority list than you should. Remember though, take time for you, make time for you. You’re important. You are valuable.

Doing something special for you (and no, it doesn’t have to be extravagant or costly) will give you some time to recharge a bit. When done on the regular, self-care will lead to a happier, healthier you. You will likely find that you have greater resilience and more resources (physically and emotionally) available to you and in your interactions with others.

Love yourself more and you can be more open to receiving love. Acknowledge that you are lovable. Accept who you are; you will find that some people will be accepting of you, but if you are at least accepting of yourself, it won’t matter so much when others are less accepting of you. Negative thoughts and expressions can roll off a little easier or at least not create so much friction in your life and mind.

Loving yourself will help you to set boundaries with others rather than being a pushover or doormat. It will help you to be treated the way you want to be treated. You get to set the guidelines of behavior that is acceptable to you.

Love yourself. Do it. You will be rewarded with increased confidence.

Take each day anew. Each day is a gift. Love yourself in the present and keep moving forward.

Love yourself, because in the words of Martin Luther King Jr. “Hate is too great a burden to bear”. Love is louder; make it louder starting from within. Love yourself and make the world around you a greater place to be.

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#ThursdayThoughts for #NationalSpousesDay

Today is National Spouses Day. It is a day to take time to appreciate your spouse and all that they do.

My husband and I have been married for 9.5 years. We have met a lot of challenges head on so that we can move forward together in life. I was afraid of the changes in our life but more than that I was afraid of what would happen if we didn’t make them happen. When my husband got out of the Marine Corps, we moved back to Maine to be closer to our families. To make ends meet, we both took jobs in the mental health field. Over time, it became too much.

We moved into my in-laws home so that my husband and I could both make some career changes. We’ve stayed with my in-laws far longer than we planned, but I am thankful that while we have been here, we have made a lot of progress. We have learned much about ourselves and each other – how to better communicate, how to own our emotions, and how to cope with extremely difficult situations and move forward through them together. As of late, I think we have confirmed that we truly are each others battle buddy.

Steve has put a lot of hard work in over the last couple of years to go back to school. He is starting a new career in information security. He is just starting out but he is doing everything that he can to be successful and he is outright killing it! There is little that makes me as happy as when he shares his excitement or joy with me. Yesterday, I was so happy to hear he had a really great day at work.

I totally agree with him as he said “I think I made the right decision to get into this field”. In addition to his courage to pursue a completely new career, I am thankful for my husband’s unwavering commitment to me and to our relationship.

I realize that I may be totally biased, but my husband is really amazing. I have been watching and trying to learn from him. We are both really strong people, but our strengths lie in different areas.

I think Steve’s real “secret sauce” is pushing forward every day with an honest effort to be positive. He admits that some tasks and days are more difficult but each day he shows up. Each day he brings a smile with him, even if he isn’t feeling it. He told me he is now spreading high fives – he’s been giving his co-worker high fives and now people go by his cube to give him one too.

With that in mind, I aim to create more positive moments each day. I will try to smile more, even when I’m not feeling it. I want to continue to help others somehow. I also want to blog more regularly.

Steve encourages me to explore my interests and do things that I enjoy. We talked about blogging and he encouraged me to just go for it, make a plan, and work on it. I decided that part of my plan would be to join in some blogging opportunities including writing prompts and giveaways.

I signed up for my first giveaway The #PSILoveYou giveaway hop with the #TheHoppingBloggers which starts February 2nd. I’m looking forward to it! Stay tuned 🙂

Pushing Through This Week with the Help of #Hope and #Pairs

This was the 2nd week of the semester, and it’s been a little rough. Change is always a challenge and more so when there is a lot, all at once. My husband is adjusting to his full schedule of classes. Meanwhile, I’m adjusting to a new class of students and getting ready to add a 2nd class next week. Add onto that that we are sharing a home with family, and another family member recently moved in and the challenges and adjustments that go along with that… yeah, it’s been stressful and challenging.

I have been more determined though to push through at times, and slow down when I need to. As I’ve mentioned before, it’s a challenge for me to not put myself last. With that in mind, I am trying to put myself towards the top more. I am recognizing that if I spend some quality time reading a book, soaking in the tub, or playing my guitar, that I re-emerge more relaxed, and focused. I am also able to not let minor things get to me so much, and my “limited resources” are more available to me, and those that I wish to share them with.

I truly love my husband more than anything, and I want our marriage to be the best that it can be. I want to have a secure bond, and feel confident that it is so. I want to be supportive and engaged. Sadly, there are times when something is weighing on me, my mind is weighed down by it, and it weighs on my marriage often in the form of miscommunication or missed opportunities to connect with each other.

The tool that I have found to be most helpful so far is the Daily Temperature Reading from Pairs. There are 5 simple steps to check-in with each other. Appreciations allow me to share with Steve something that I appreciated about him that day and also for me to recognize that even during tough days there is always something about him or some little thing that he did that I appreciate. Sharing new information helps me to remember that there often is some little tidbit of information that I have to share with him, and I am able to share it before I forget to. Puzzles allows me to share what is confusing to me and sometimes helps me to find answers by talking it out, or other times it is something that my partner has an answer to. Sharing concerns with recommendations allows me to share my concerns, worries, fears, etc with my husband and be heard; I am also able to share ideas that I have to mitigate the concern. It helps me to feel that my concern is heard, validated, and together we are able to look at it and sometimes together we are able to see a better solution together. Lastly, we share our wishes, hopes, and dreams – at that point, I usually feel much less stressed, and more calm, relaxed, hopeful, and sometimes just really at peace.

One of my recent pieces of new information was that I was asked if I would be interested in participating in a research project “Caregivers’ perspectives on their experience living with a combat veteran”. I had mixed feelings initially, partially because I would be audio recorded, and partially because the idea of being labeled a caregiver feels uncomfortable to me. However, a possible benefit of participating is how my perspective and our story could impact future services offered to caregivers of combat veterans, and I have found that veteran couples and families like us are under-served, and under-supported. There simply aren’t enough resources available.

War and combat has significantly impacted my husband’s life, and together with that, my life, and our marriage. In some ways, it has brought us closer together, and in other ways it feels like we have to work so much harder than everyone else so that it doesn’t pull us apart. There are things that we are working to understand, adjust to, and work through. Luckily, we were able to get into family counseling at a veteran’s service center. However, while we’ve been there, it’s been difficult to get consistent appointments, there are times when the counselors are clearly overwhelmed themselves, and it’s sad to hear about how many families are not able to get in because there is only one family counselor at the center, and only 3 in our entire state. Maine has a significant veteran population, and yet there are only 3 of these counselors, 1 at each location, which is simply sad. I think that having more family counselors would help more veterans because it would help their families that help support them, and for some, I think it would also be the only way that they would find themselves in counseling in the first place because they may not seek out help on their own or for themselves.

I hope that sharing my perspective can make a difference somehow. I wish things would change. I dream about things like if I won the latest powerball, how I could really make a difference. I would buy us a house of our own, and do things like pay off student loans, and our family members’ debts, but I’d also like to build some sort of center so that there could be someplace for veteran’s, and/or their family or spouse where they could go for respite, recreation, and support – someplace that they could go where people understand their situation, someplace to recharge, and where they can be in a more controlled environment to enjoy some of those things sometimes. Maybe someday…