Attitude Adjustments, Be Happy, Be Kind, Happiness, Kindness, Loyalty, Married to My Best Friend, Negativity, Relationships, Respect, Self respect, Support, Uncategorized

Protecting and Defending Your Relationship

I have written about the struggle I’ve had standing up for myself….being a doormat.  I’ve carried a lot of hurt through life because of it.  I’m very sensitive, and I have felt that it is my biggest weakness.  However, I’ve also discovered that being sensitive is a strength!  I have compassion and empathy for others because I can understand the feelings of pain and of being disrespected, that someone can feel at the hands of mean people.  I am not afraid to stand up for those I love and care about.  Number one in this situation would be with my marriage.

Recently, an acquaintance of mine confided to me that her husband’s friends were coming between them, and they didn’t like the amount of time he was spending with her.  They felt that she had changed him, and they were trying to discredit her to him.  I felt sad for her, and wondered why her husband didn’t stand up for her.  Not that his friends aren’t important to him, but how much do they really care about him if they are disrespecting his wife and their marriage this way?  It’s petty and selfish.

A few years ago, I worked at a really horrible place, and dealt with some co-workers who disrespected Al, and my relationship with him.  While they may have just been trying to “protect” me, or explain to me what they might see as logic, my relationship with him was not their business. One person told me it would be over and done with in 6 months, without even having met him. Another questioned whether I knew him well enough to know what he likes to eat…..seems a bit trivial to me, but I did know what he liked to eat, among a lot of other things!  I really saw their “advice” and “concern” as nothing more than petty jealousy, because I would have less time to socialize with them.  But I would not allow them, or anyone else, to disrespect him, or our relationship.  I didn’t understand why they just couldn’t be happy for us. I made sure to let them know that I would not tolerate anyone disrespecting him. If they really cared for me, they would not do that.  Not only did they disrespect Al and our relationship, but they also disrespected me, by questioning my decisions, and my feelings for him.  Thank goodness I no longer work there, or with those horrible people! Once Al did get here, they weren’t very nice to him at all.  Glad I moved on! Since then, Al and I have both been told that we look and act happier and more at ease than they’ve seen us in a long time.  I knew that those people were jealous of our happiness, and couldn’t believe that anyone could be that happy.  Why should we have to prove it to them?  Why was our happiness a threat to them or anyone else? Why did we have to defend our happiness?

I don’t know why people feel the need to be mean, rude, or disrespectful, or why they would try to sow seeds of division in your relationship or marriage.  I try to respect the decisions of my loved ones.  I’ve learned that I won’t agree with everything my family, friends, or co-workers do, but I am still able to have compassion, respect, and understanding for them.  Their life is theirs, and not for me to interfere (as long as they are safe…..abuse would be a different story).  I still support them, and their quest for happiness and acceptance.  Isn’t that what we all want?  Don’t we all deserve that?

In our marriage vows, we promised to love, honor, cherish, and protect each other. Actually I remember saying we would be each other’s “biggest protector.”  That did not just mean physical protection.  It also meant that we would defend each other’s character, honor, and dignity.  My husband and the support I get from him in our marriage make me strong….strong enough to stand up and defend it (and him).

If you are married, or in a committed relationship, protect it!  Protect each other.  Don’t allow anyone to disrespect you, your significant other, or your commitment to each other.  Like I’ve said in other posts, there are so many mean people and unhappy things in this world.  Lean on each other because then you’ll know that at least you will always have one person who has your back!  If you don’t, your partner will feel it, and know that your commitment isn’t genuine.  And if you are one of those individuals who feel the need to try to place doubt or uncertainty, or are just simply unkind……stop.  It’s not your place.  It’s not your business.  It’s incredibly selfish.  Let others be happy.  Let others live their lives.  Be happy for them.  And if you can’t be happy for them, leave them alone.

 

 

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Be Kind, Happiness, Kindness, Loyalty, Relationships, Respect, Support, Uncategorized

What Kind of Friend Are You?

Sincere.  True.  Real.  Faithful.  Loyal.  Genuine.  Unpretentious.  Righteous…..

Fake.  Phony.  Insincere. Bogus.  Artificial.  Fraudulent.  Bitter.  Jealous…….

Which character traits sound the most appealing?  Those which show true concern, love, friendship, and compassion, or those that show cruelty, anger, resentment, and hatred? We have all known people on both sides of this.  I have dealt with many people who pretended to be my “friends,” or pretended to care, only to feel used or tossed aside when I could do nothing more for them, or if they saw me as some sort of threat.  I’ve also been blessed to have people in my life who have shown true compassion and care toward me. Whether it is the recent weather emergency here in Florida, an illness, the loss of a family member or friend, or a difficult job situation, I know exactly who I can or can’t count on for kind words, a helping hand, a hug, or just a shoulder to lean on.  I also know who just doesn’t give a damn.  Let’s avoid those schmucks!

Recently, I have been very fortunate to see the good in a lot of people.  Stepping up to be my friend, offer support, and showing true concern to someone who is struggling speaks volumes about that person’s character.  To know that I have people in my life who truly care about me (and Al) is extremely comforting, and we would do the same for them. Family, friends, friends who become family…….I am loyal, and I don’t forget when someone is good to me.  I also don’t forget when someone treats me badly.  I’m not vindictive or petty, but I remember how people have made me feel, and it isn’t very easy to open that door again once it has been shut.  There’s a pretty good chance that I will keep someone at arm’s length if they hurt me or someone I love.  I will not be rude or unkind, but it’s hard to forget feeling hurt, especially if you have been there for them in times of need.

What kind of person do you want to be?  A true friend who is loving, kind, and supportive?  Or one who is insincere, artificial, and selfish? I know who I strive to be (not always successful!) and I’m glad I have some very real and loyal people in my life.

Be real.  Be kind.  Be sincere.  Be supportive.  Be a friend.

Be Happy, Dog Lovers, Dogs are People Too, Loyalty, Man's Best Friend, Uncategorized

He’s Not a Dog….He’s Family

I’m a dog person.  My whole family loves dogs.  In fact, I think my first best friend was our family dog, Pepper, an overweight, cookie loving, temperamental Boston Terrier who we got when I was two years old.  My parents had another Boston Terrier before that, named Buttons, but I don’t remember him.  During my adult life, I’ve had three dogs.  I learned the hard way not to get a pure bred because of health issues.  My first “baby” was a little Schnauzer named Tyrone.  He was good to me, but he had a mean side, and would sometimes bite for no reason. We aren’t sure exactly what was going on with that, but for the most part, he was a good dog.  He died of pancreatitis at the age of 8, and then I found out that Schnauzers are prone to that.  My next dog was a Boxer named Buster.  He was VERY protective, and had beautiful markings.  He loved me and my children, but wasn’t crazy about their father.  If he played with the kids too rough, Buster would put his mouth around the back of their dad’s leg to warn him to leave the kids alone.  Buster also ate the bumper off of his truck, so there weren’t a lot of warm fuzzy feelings between them.  Buster died of cardiomyopathy at 6 years.  Then I found out they were prone to that.

Now I have Andy.  Andy is a small mixed breed….his mother was a Shih Tzu, and his dad was “wearing a sweater.”  Andy was on his way to the pound, along with his brother, and was too small to be taken away from his mother.  I took him, and a friend of my son’s took his brother.  I saved him, but I know that he saved me too!  We rescued each other.  It was a very difficult time in my life, and we bonded immediately.  Andy has been with me through a lot of hard times, and through a lot of happy times.  Dogs always get most attached to one person in a family.  I’ve been that person because I’m the one who takes care of them, and they know they can count on me.  While they love the whole family, they tend to rely on one person the most.  Andy is 14, mostly blind (especially in the dark), and almost completely deaf, and has a pin in his back leg from a fall off of the back of the couch, but he acts like a very young dog.  Even his vet said that he would never know he’s an older dog by looking at him if it weren’t for the gray over his eyes.

Dogs know dog people, and dogs are a good judge of character.  I have seen dogs go to complete strangers and fall immediately in love with them.  I’ve also seen dogs growl at complete strangers.  I believe a dog knows what kind of person you are, and if I hear Andy growl at you, or not want anything to do with you, then I have a different feel for you too!  I trust my dog’s instincts!  If a dog doesn’t like you, then you are the problem, not the dog!

I cannot watch the ASPCA commercials without breaking down in tears.  I realize that is the intention of those commercials….feel bad, send money…….but it’s just too hard for me to watch.  I have donated things to animal shelters, and do what I can.  Animals aren’t in the situations they’re in because of choices they make.  They are there because of the choices humans make. I grew up with Bob Barker telling me to “Help control the pet population.  Have your pets spayed or neutered.” I have followed that advice!

While people are making decisions on whether to evacuate their homes or not because of hurricanes or fires, some choose to stay because of their pets.  Either there are no shelters taking pets, or they may have to be separated from their pets.  I saw where some shelters were setting up cages outside of the shelters for pets.  That would not work for me or Andy.  He’s old, he would be scared and anxious.  That would be very stressful for him (and me).  No.  If I couldn’t stay with my dog, I wouldn’t evacuate.  I feel horrible for these people who are forced to leave without their pets. How can you leave behind a family member?  They are NOT “just dogs,” or “just cats.”  They’re FAMILY.

He’s more to me than just a dog.  He’s like a 4th child to me.  He knows when I’m happy, sad, afraid, or sick.  He’s my friend.  He’s my family.  He understands me.  He’s spoiled, a bit lazy, and has anxiety (definitely my dog!).  He demands to be given treats when I open a can of Coke……therefore, I nicknamed him “Demandy” a few years ago.  He is a worthless protector because he’s afraid of everything.  He’s not a good critter catcher because he doesn’t see them. But he’s mine, and he loves me, and he never lets me be sad or worry all alone.  He used to stare at the door until I came home.  Now that he’s losing his vision and hearing, he lays in front of the front door, waiting for me to come back.  He looks at me with one ear up, and the other one flopped down in his eye.  His under bite makes him look like he’s smiling.  I watch Al, my giant of a husband, snuggle with him on the couch, and let Andy kiss/lick his nose.  I see him save pieces of his pizza crust to sneak to Andy, thinking I don’t see him (I don’t give him “people food”).

Yes, Andy is not only the king of his castle, and a cherished member of our family.  He is also the best dog ever……

Be Kind, Being Strong, Coping, Fear isn't weakness, Invisible Illness, Just Breathe, Loyalty, Support, Uncategorized

It’s Okay To Be Weak

Have you ever known someone who is very good about keeping composed, and holding everything together?  Some people always seem to be the strong presence in difficult situations.  You wonder how they manage at times.  I have been this person most of my adult life.  I don’t let on that I am struggling.  I make a joke to try to lighten their mood (or mine).  When my mother died, I showed very little emotion outside of the funeral. At the time, my ex husband was living in New Mexico, and I was alone with 3 children in Kansas.  Our family dog had died the previous day, and it was also the week of Thanksgiving.  It was a really crappy week!  After the funeral, I had to be the strong one for my kids, and hold it together.  I didn’t want them to be afraid if their mama was upset.  I didn’t feel that I could let my children or my co-workers know how much I was hurting. In fact, the day after my mother died, I went to work, and only told two people what had happened!  I just didn’t want to let on to anyone that I was hurting or afraid, and I taught my class that day without ever letting on that anything was wrong.  I couldn’t fall apart.

I’ve been there to support friends, co-workers, and a few family members if they’ve needed me.  Or, I’ve been supportive of them in their goals, dreams, educations, careers, relationships, raising kids, etc……just being there……being a friend.  One thing I’m not good at though, is asking for help or support when I need it.  It’s very hard. It makes me feel selfish.  It embarrasses me.

This week, I had a moment that I’ve always considered “weak” for me.  I was in my classroom with a colleague after school, talking about school things.  The conversation turned to something personal, and I fell apart!  I burst into tears.  I sobbed.  I think my friend/colleague was surprised because she hadn’t seen me that upset before.  Everything I’ve been dealing with caught up with me, and no matter how many positive posts I put on social media to try to keep my spirits up, I just couldn’t hold it together at that moment.  I was tired.  I was hurting.  I was tired of being strong.  During the conversation, another friend came in, and they sat there with me, letting me vent and cry, while they hugged me, and told me it was okay to lean on them, and that everyone needs to feel safe enough to do that sometimes.  Things have been very hard for me lately, and I guess my emotions were like a pressure cooker.  While I have the best husband/friend in the world, I guess I needed to know that I can also lean on someone else for support sometimes.  Al is still, and always will be my ROCK.

Of course, at the end of the conversation, my friends and I hugged again, and being me, I had to make a silly joke to make everyone laugh!  One of the friends said that it never fails….Lauri will always try to cheer someone up, even through her own tears.  She said it was a “gift.”  I have never thought of it like that.  I do believe that the cure to a lot of painful situations is laughter, but I never realized that my sarcasm or self deprecating humor was a gift.  That was nice to hear.

I have learned that it’s okay to lean on others.  I will still struggle with it, because it’s just not like me to show that type of emotion very often, but I know it’s okay, and no one will think I’m weak for doing so.  I’ve also learned through this health issue who really cares about me (for those who know the specifics….for others, I am not really ready to talk about it much yet, but I will at some point). Phone calls, texts, emails, prayers, good vibes………it’s meant the world to me.  It’s been a huge struggle for me, and it’s nice to know that I don’t always have to be the strong one all the time.  I have people in my life who love me, and really do care.  They’ve shown me.

So even though sadness is a part of life, it can be a positive experience in that you learn who you can trust, and who truly cares and will be there for you. They make you realize you aren’t alone. They make it okay to not always be the strong one for everyone else’s sake.  They make it okay to be “weak” sometimes.

Doormat, Loyalty, Self respect, Uncategorized

Nice to Meet You….I’m a Doormat

Have you ever known a doormat?  Some of us are doormats.  I believe it’s a choice to be this way, but a lot of my problem is that I was brought up to be nice, and non- confrontational, not doing anything to embarrass myself or family, or show any anger. Sometimes I really wish I could stand up for myself more without being looked at as a bitch.  I tend to stand up for others a lot faster than I do for myself.  I am fiercely loyal and protective of those I love, and will stop at nothing to defend or protect them.  However, when it comes to standing up for myself, I’m a doormat.

I am extremely sensitive, which can be a strength and a weakness.  I can hurt for others, and feel their pain, but I also get my own feelings hurt pretty easily, especially when I try so hard to be a good person, and be compassionate to others.  The difference is that when I hurt for someone else, I attempt to reach out, console, or comfort them.  That’s just the way I am.  I can’t let someone suffer with sadness, anger, grief, or guilt without attempting to help them.  I believe this is one of the reasons I’m a good teacher…..I feel for the struggling student. But when I get my own feelings hurt, I need the same type of compassion and comfort, and there aren’t a lot of people who can see it in me because I suppress it, and hold in that pain, so as not to be selfish or embarrass myself. Believe me, those scars run very deep! I don’t want to make situations worse, so I keep my mouth shut.  Sometimes it comes out as sarcastic humor, or self deprecating humor.  That’s a defense mechanism I learned early, which I discussed in an earlier blog, in trying to entertain everyone.  Then I go home and cry because of the pain.

I realize that suppressing hurt is not a healthy trait to have.  My parents were both worriers, and it affected their health.  I’m afraid I got a double dose of it.  I’ve always wanted to make others feel good about themselves, be supportive, show an interest, cheer them up, make them laugh, and even if they have been hurtful to me (to my face or behind my back), I still treat them with respect and kindness.  I might tell a funny story about my escapades, or make people laugh to hide any hurt I might feel.  I know that being nice is the right thing to do, but it sometimes makes me mad that I allow words or actions of others to hurt me, and I don’t say anything.  Some would say I need a backbone.  If I were a man, I’d be told to “grow a pair.” I’ve been told to stop being a doormat.  I have stood up for so many people over the years, and all I want is for others to stand up for me when I need it (or deserve it).  I need a “me” to stand up for me!

I can count on a few people to stand up for me, and I’m fortunate to have them.  They know my heart and my struggles. They know how tender my heart is, how much I would do for others, and how much I value the positive happy things in life…..the beauty in our world, and always looking for the good people in it.  Maybe someday I will stop being a doormat, and learn to love myself as much as I love those around me.