The other day I smashed my finger, the result being a nice bruise on my pinky finger. Most of the time, I forget the thing is there but every once in a while I will push down too hard while typing or tap my finger against a surface, and a shot of pain will remind me the bruise is still there.
I mention my finger because it’s had be thinking of my other bruises. The emotional bruises caused by the trails and tribulations of life. Doesn’t matter how the bruises got there; everyone has them. They dwell deep beneath the surface and they never completely heal.
For most of us, we go about our lives without giving them a second thought. Until, that is, life pokes at them, and the pain comes rising to the surface. Then wham! The pain hits you as fresh s the day the bruise was formed. Doesn’t matter if you’re older and wiser and deduce the cause of your pain. It still hurts. Same where my finger hurts when I hit the shift key vehemently.
Yesterday was one of those days when the world decided to converge from a variety of angles and poke a whole ton of bruises at once. I won’t bore you with all the details. Suffice to say, I was hurting all over, and as a result, had one hell of a breakdown. Poor Captain Pete had to hide at Home Depot to avoid having his head taken off. (Don’t feel too bad for him. He consoled himself later by going on eBay and purchasing a train model.)
Anyway, now that it is morning, and I’m thinking a little more clearly I have realized what needs to happen when life decides to take a poke. (I apologize in advance for the mixing of pronouns.)
Realize it’s okay to feel bad. Feelings — conflated or otherwise — matter. From a very early age, I was taught to work through my pain. To buck up. Ignore my overly-sensitive nature. But, let’s face it, there’s only so much working through one person can handle. At some point, you have to stop and acknowledge the bruises. Sometimes you have to have the pity party. Cry at the pain. Pout on the sofa with ice cream and the TV remote. Figure out why you hurt so badly. But most of all, grant yourself permission to hurt. Because you do.
Practice self-care. This weekend wasn’t the best opportunity for self-care because we were doing a home fix up project. It would have been a little awkward for me to curl up on the couch with my journal while the Captain hauled carpet rolls down the stairs. But I found few moments for myself, even if was just sitting in my car in the grocery store parking lot.
By the way, this morning, I realized that self-care doesn’t have to be down time or alone time. Sometimes saying no is a form of self-care as well. My point being that when life whacks your inner bruises, take some time to put your mental well-being first.
Talk it out with someone who gets it. Support is so tremendously important, and let’s face it, husbands don’t always get it. The poor Captain might be an awesome guy but when I start wailing about self-worth and other esoteric concepts, you can tell he wants to run for the hills. (To his credit, he tries.) Fortunately, for him and me, I have the bestie of all besties who does get what I’m talking about, and she let me call in a ton of best friend chips this morning.
If you don’t have a best friend, or if you don’t want to talk out loud, get a journal. My morning pages are filled with silent cries over bruises that have been poked and returned to the surface over the years.
Finally, give yourself a mental hug and know that you are not alone. We all have bruises.