Giving in to Anger, is Gambling with Your Mental Health

“Anger is a distraction,” my mom said, “it’s a person’s way of distracting themselves from the real problems (or pain) in their lives instead of dealing with them.  And you pay a price for it.”

Yesterday, I had a conversation with my mom about why people, especially women (myself included), will often fly into irrational anger – even if they seem responsible, calm, and kind in everyday interactions.  Yes, it’s irrational anger.  To be furious at something that is true, and then to feel the superior prerogative to attack someone out of anger, is irrational behavior.  It is one thing to be angry, it is quite another to lash out at others in your anger.

“And you pay a price for it.”

This is what ultimately is the key to avoiding giving in to unhealthy actions that come from feeling angry.  When my mom was in her 20’s-30’s, she had to learn to deal with her anger, and she admitted to me that she had a lot of it back then.  It was easy to fly into it, to express her anger, and she gave little thought to what expressing it cost her.  In the 1970’s, it was popular psychology to feel confident in expressing your anger or rage.  Now, from recent science on this subject, we actually know that when you express it, your anger doesn’t get better, in fact, it actually gets worse and grows into more and more… anger.  In extreme cases, giving in to your anger can cause abuse or even murder.  Indeed, even Jesus described an angry tongue as being capable of “murdering” someone, how much more so when one is giving in to their feelings of anger in a truly violent way.

It wasn’t until my mom came across a book by Abraham Low, Mental Health Through Will-Training, first published in 1950, that she learned that giving in to anger, is “gambling with your mental health.”

When you feel those feelings of anger or “temper” as Low describes it, your peace and inner solitude are disrupted… you’re rendered ineffective and distracted from accomplishing the tasks of your daily life well.

“You can pay the price of that for days,” said my mom.  It tangles you up, wastes your precious energy, and robs you of your mental strength and health.

***

A large part of being mentally healthy, is to understand how to remain calm, responsible, and how to deal with your own anger.

Dealing with your anger means simply not acting out in it.  It means having self-control.  Humility instead of “intellectual snobbishness” (the desire to show superiority).  To have enough character to behave courteously, friendly… in order to create good will with people you are required to do everyday life with, and strangers you may not know.  Being a mentally healthy person means you take all these things into account, and ACT accordingly.

Yes, being mentally healthy means having wisdom and discernment to know you are obligated to control your actions and behavior.

Being mentally healthy means you do not give yourself permission to lose your temper and lash out in anger against others.  To lose your self-control and pay the price of your peace, the embarrassment, the destructive temper feelings, and the shame that comes when you’re finished giving in to your emotions and realize the damage you caused.

I talk about my mom often on my blog, she was instrumental to a lot of the knowledge I have, and who I’ve become as a woman, wife, and mother to my children.  She really was amazing growing up, always giving advice and beautiful instruction on life.  It is wonderful to still have her here, and yes, she does know about & read my blog.  One of the things she did when we were young was to read a Proverbs chapter a day, based on the days of the month.  I’ll never forget the way she’d read the Bible to my brother and I as we were curled up next to her, and I’ll never forget hearing those words of wisdom as they are still with me.

Here are some of the great verses to remind us what God says about anger and losing our temper:

The mouth of the righteous is a fountain of life, but the mouth of the wicked conceals violence.  Hatred stirs up conflicts, but love covers all offenses.

Wisdom is found on the lips of the discerning, but a rod is for the back of the one who lacks sense.”  Proverbs 10:11-13

***

The lips of the righteous feed many with their instructions….  The mouth of the righteous produces wisdom…. The lips of the righteous know what is appropriate….” Proverbs 10:21a, 30a, 32a

“An evil person is trapped by their rebellious speech, but the righteous escapes from trouble.

A man will be satisfied with good because of the words he chooses to speak....”  Proverbs 12:13-14a

***

“With the words of their mouth, the ungodly destroys their neighbor, but through knowledge the righteous are rescued.

Whoever shows contempt for their neighbor lacks good sense, but a person with understanding keeps silent.

“A gracious woman gains honor….  A kind person benefits their own self, but a cruel person brings disaster on themselves.”  Proverbs 11:9, 12, 16a, 17

***

“The thoughts of the righteous are just, but guidance from the wicked leads to deceit.

The words of the wicked are a deadly ambush, but the speech of the upright rescues them.

A fool’s displeasure is known at once, but whoever ignores an insult is sensible.  

Whoever speaks the truth declares what is right….

There is one who speaks rashly, like a piercing sword; but the tongue of the wise brings healing.

Truthful lips endure forever….

Those who promote peace have joy.

A righteous person is careful in how they deal with their neighbor….”

Proverbs 12:5-6, 16, 17a, 18, 19a, 20b

***

A patient person shows great understanding, but a quick-tempered one promotes foolishness.

A tranquil heart is life to the body, but jealousy is rottenness to the bones. ” Proverbs 14:29-30

***

A gentle answer turns away anger, but a harsh word stirs up wrath.

The tongue of the wise makes knowledge attractive, but the mouth of fools blurts out (without self-control) folly.

The tongue that heals is a tree of life, but a devious tongue breaks the spirit.

The lips of the wise broadcast knowledge….

A hot-tempered man stirs up conflict, but a man slow to anger calms strife.

The mind of the righteous thinks before answering, but the mouth of the wicked blurts out evil things.”

Proverbs 15:1-2,4, 7a, 18

***

When a man’s ways please the Lord, He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.

Patience is better than power,

and controlling one’s temper, than capturing an entire city.”

Proverbs 16:7, 32

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Joy of Summer – Our Sandy Playground

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We’ve been loving the hot Summer weather these past few weeks… because it means getting out to play in the sand and water!  Sandy feet, relaxing with the baby in a hammock under an umbrella… it really can’t get better than this!!

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I loved this pink bird… pink is my favorite color.

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Come back bird!  LOL He thought I was nuts….

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This bird was a cutie (below) he had an adorable MUSTACHE!  Soooo cute.

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Show that thing off!

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Mr. Peacock.

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You’re gorgeous and you know it….

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It felt like a rain forrest here… like we were exploring in a jungle of some kind!  Exciting adventures!

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This family was adorable, offered to take a picture of them altogether with their phone after I snapped this so the husband could get in.  So sweet.

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Adventure Inside a Cave

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Today was the perfect day to venture inside a cave… it was raining cats and dogs, gloomy, a little cool, and perfect for our family field trip

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It was raining constantly, but the baby stayed dry under a blanket, and tucked into my Bjorn (like a Snugglie) carrier… venturing down into a cave wearing a baby was a little difficult at times (extra weight on a decline then incline anyone?), but it added a whole new element of excitement to our family adventure.  I loved holding him close and at the same time getting to hike inside a cave!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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We headed down into the cave with a tour guide and our group, the total descent was about 18 stories down.  Water was rushing down the walkway into the cave… and we imagined what it’d be like to get flooded in!  We’ve clearly watched too many Magic School Bus episodes, but I thought it’d be great to spend the night in a cave!

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It was dark and majestic inside… our oldest had never been inside a cave before, so learning it through real life experience awed him.

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This was the view directly above us (photo below)

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The discovery crawlway, found in 1960, was just so awesome… everywhere we turned, every new room we entered was just breathtakingly majestic.

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There was a beautiful pool of green-blue water, so ethereal….

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We were already incredibly deep, but you can see the crevices where the cave just keeps going and going, further and further into darkness.

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And then we started the long ascent…

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And finally, made it to the surface, with it’s oval shaped ceiling at the very top

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We spent about 3 hours there, their ropes course and zip-lining were closed because of the rain, but their maze was open.  My husband and our oldest did the maze – and it was my husband’s favorite part because of how much fun it was with our son.  Next time we’ll have to do the ropes course together for a date!

The beautiful rain and hill country

The beautiful rain and hill country

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Breathe… Even When Your Children Paint Themselves with Chocolate

This time of having a sweet, adorable, can’t hold long enough little baby has just been so wonderful.  He’s already 3 weeks old, and I’m wondering how he’s gotten this far already without it seeming to have taken that long!

With all the new changes that come with adding a new little family member to your mix, one of the hardest things for me is finding balance between nurturing the two of our sons.  I was worried about this beforehand – how would I spend enough alone time with my oldest, how would he respond to having me less – having to share his mommy that he’s had all for himself for the past 4 1/2 years?

I found a surprising answer to my worries one day soon after we’d brought our baby home.

It was time for my husband to go back to work, I was calm and peaceful – I could handle this!  My husband usually leaves after lunch with us and we watch him leave outside as my son races his dad to the end of the block.  He comes back to our cozy house like a little warrior and it’s nap time.

This time though, he really didn’t want to take a nap… and after days of us letting him forgo naptime, I decided maybe he was old enough to play on his own while the baby and I settled down in the bedroom.

I popped in a movie, snuggled up close to our baby – smelling his heaven-like scent – and we drifted off into a deep, much-needed sleep.

Maybe an hour or so later, I was woken up by the sound of water rushing & my son screaming for my help.  In a serious daze and confusion, I stumbled into his restroom down the hall expecting some kind of emergency and found the sink, the floor, and my SON all covered in dark brown…

CHOCOLATE???!!!

Seriously?!?!

He was standing there at the sink, furiously scrubbing away at his dark-brown colored arms and legs, with a look of terror, crying and shouting at me that it wouldn’t come off!  Still in confusion and bleary-eyed from sleep, I shouted over his crying “What on earth did you do?  What IS that???”

“CHOCOLATE!!!!  It won’t come off!!!!!

Why… OH WHY did you paint yourself with chocolate, Baby???”

I thought it’d make you laugh” (he said to me crying).

At this point, it was so hard not to laugh, and yet I was upset that he would do something so crazy while it was naptime & I was so exhausted caring for a newborn.  I wanted to be mad at him, but it was so hilarious!  I took the washcloth from him and started scrubbing his arms – it really WAS hard to get off… this boy had really, REALLY rubbed the chocolate into his skin!  I worked at scrubbing him inch by inch until we finally got him cleaned up… the chocolate disaster bathroom would have to wait for later – when I had more energy to scrub again.

We had a talk about it – a “you know what you did wrong, right?  You won’t do this again, right?” kind of talk, and decided we would forget about the incident.  I think him enduring the shock and horror of thinking he might be chocolate-covered for his lifetime was punishment enough!  😀

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And now I’m in a Bible study to learn how to Breathe…  how to find freedom.

To not let things consume me – like worrying or stressing over my time with each child or being addicted to the glow of social media.

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This is a journey of finding freedom.

Freedom to write with more purpose.

Freedom to choose my words more wisely…  instead of feeling enslaved to keep on arguing.

Freedom to choose to be respectful, even toward someone who’s been really disrespectful towards me (that’s a difficult one).

Freedom from being enslaved, worked up, stressed out… freedom to breathe.

(Bible study is Breathe by Priscilla Shirer 2014)

What Makes a Good Mother?

motherhood

With my pregnancy with boy #2 well on its way at 20 weeks this weekend, and my husband’s and my anniversary being today, 7 years of learning and growing together ❤ , motherhood has been on my mind a lot lately.  My husband is working a difficult schedule from afternoon into late at night; he’s gone right after lunch, and comes home long after our son’s been asleep.  This means that our adorable son only gets to see his dad in the morning, and loves to push the limits with me in the afternoons and evenings – often driving me insane. 🙂  This also means that I appreciate my husband all the more for how much he really contributes to child-rearing, and helping me with household chores!

The frustration has made me realize the importance of really being a good mother – a consistent, patient, loving, and caring mother – even when you are pregnant, tired, moody, and your little son is realizing he can get away with more when dad’s not around!  I have to constantly remind myself that the pregnancy is why I feel exhausted and extremely low energy, and that my son still needs me to be the best mom I can possibly be right now, regardless.  I’m glad I have my own models of motherhood to look up to – my own mother, and various other women who were so supportive and unselfish for the only sake of the children under their care or around them.

Its a beautiful and challenging model of motherhood for me, and of trying to be better at all of it, for his well-being.

 

Here are some character traits I was thinking about early this morning, things I want to focus on more and develop my inner being’s muscles in:

 

To be truly attune to my son – interested in him and everything he is doing and telling me.  To really listen to him and his concerns, his adorable thoughts, and most importantly, his questions.  He asks the most interesting and deep questions about life for a child who just turned 4 years old this summer.  He’s so intelligent and understands things beyond I’m sure, what I understood at that age.

To make bedtime like it used to be – before I was lacking energy, moody, and pregnant.  I’ve always thought that bedtime was the best time to have one last impact on your child’s day – to get last words in of counsel, or assurance, and a last attempt at praying and leaving them with spiritual guidance.  Even reading to them (which has always been part of our bedtime routine) simply shows them how much you VALUE them as people in their own right.  Without my husband being there for support and literal “back-up,” bedtime has been rushed and stressful at best, and tumultuous at worst!  I’m amending this… bedtime is supposed to be peaceful, reassuring, and that last push for connection and love that can last a lifetime of remembrance for my son.

To be kind, even when tantrums are at their peak and I’m thoroughly exhausted from what seems like endless confrontations. 🙂  He is the most assertive little one I know – whereas my husband and I are both extremely easy going people, our son (at this age at least) is definitely more head strong, and takes more energy to constantly explain and discipline.  Even though he may be harder in this one way, I wouldn’t have him any different, he is so wonderful and is such a complex mixture of tender-hearted sweetness.

There are so many other wonderful traits to mention, to be caring, honest with him, supportive, affectionate, lovingselfless, being strong (having strength to endure times like my husband’s schedule), having great humor, creativity to ease stress, ingenuity, and stability no matter our circumstances or my cocktail of pregnancy hormones.  🙂

When a Little Weight Goes a Long Way: Can Body Image Issues Ruin My Marriage?

“She hates it when i look at her while she is naked, or nearly so.  I cannot help it, I love to see her like that.  The thing is that she is not comfortable with her body, she did gain weight during this pregnancy; and she always has a hard time taking/keeping weight off.  I don’t care about that, I will love her; I made that commitment 7 years ago.  She still makes me want her, and I wonder if she feels the same.  Does anyone know how to ask a significant other if they still find you attractive? If so, please inform me. Seriously.”  (A Worm’s Life, blogger)

This post is about body image issues… I think I can say that every woman, to some degree, probably has a touch of it, and has to work to overcome it, but it can be especially bad after having a baby – to the point where it interferes with intimacy.  When we gain all that weight during pregnancy, we don’t feel attractive; and when it’s hard or slow-coming to get that weight off, it can mess with our minds and ruin our confidence in the bedroom.

Your husband doesn’t care, he thinks you look amazing.

Let that sink in for a little while.

Unless you’ve let yourself go and don’t care about your looks or how much you gain, your husband isn’t going to have a problem with a little extra weight.  It’s all in our minds that it makes us unattractive.

“I don’t care about that, I will love her.”

“She still makes me want her.”

And about wanting to see her naked, “I cannot help it, I love to see her like that.”

This is honestly what nearly every husband is thinking when their wives have body image issues.  He loves her, he doesn’t care that she has extra baby weight – only that it prevents her from sharing her body with him.

Men need to see their wives naked – they relish it, and often replay it several times during the day when they’re bored. 

You are your husband’s only sexual outlet, that’s too big of a responsibility to let self-consciousness get in the way!

Some ideas for having a better body image:

  • Workout at least a few times a week – studies have proven that if you are exercising regularly, you are going to be much happier about your body, even if the changes aren’t visible yet, you’ll feel better & stronger & healthier
  • Stand naked in front of a mirror and thank God for all the positive things about yourself – everything that you consider beautiful or attractive, body parts and personality traits – realize His amazing love for you, and don’t let yourself think any negative thoughts- thank God for the struggle with body image, there’s something powerful in thanking Him for things that bother us, we accept it as a way to change to grow

 

Rainy Day Boots

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We love the rain!  A few weeks ago, it was raining for a couple of days… being stuck inside the house is never fun… so we went out when it stopped for awhile.  Water was still running off the roof so my son grabbed his old rain boots that don’t really fit anymore, and tried to catch water in them. 

It made for an adorable photo opp!