I’m not a psychologist but sometimes I play one on this blog. Haha! Just kidding. I’m definitely not a psychologist. I’m a mom, a wife, a daughter, a designer. I’m a lot of things, but my passion is in helping families thrive. So, I like to pass on valuable tools I’ve accumulated over the years from some amazing people who have stepped into my broken and scarred life. I began a series a while back to honor my dear friend and counselor, Dave, who passed away in July. This series is also to document, share and grieve the loss of this amazing man!
One of the most valuable tools Dave left with me is originally from positive psychologist, Martin Seligman. He developed the acronym, P.E.R.M.A. I believe it was originally meant to aid in PTSD.
P = Positive Emotion
Although these suggestions seem a little simple, they are quite valuable and effective when practiced regularly. I believe strongly that our society creates an environment in which women (in particular) feel they must achieve perfection. Emotionally and physically. We end up self-loathing believing this will catapult us into change. Toward perfection? When you think about it, it’s quite insane.
A couple of months ago I experienced somewhat of an epiphany. You see, I’ve had a reoccurring nightmare since my oldest daughter, Emma, was born. In the dream, I am beating Emma. I feel no anger. In fact I’m crying and wanting to stop but I can’t! She is begging me to stop and wanting to know what she did wrong through frantic tears. I always wake in a pool of sweat and fret over it for days. This dream has been a common thread in my life for 19 years.
This summer, I had the dream again. I woke as usual frantic and heart-broken and begging God to explain WHY I’M DREAMING THIS!! This time something new happened. Maybe due to all of the healing work I’ve done over the past year, but I heard the Spirit of God within me. He gently whispered, “This is what you do to YOU, my child!”
Wow! Honestly, I would struggle with the desire to hurt someone who treated my child the way I treat myself! This is when I realized THIS MUST CHANGE!!
This is sort of embarrassing to admit, but in order to combat these self-mutilating thoughts I have begun writing 5 things, every day, that I love about ME. It’s funny because it really has made a difference! Sometimes it’s as minute as “I love my laugh”. Sometimes it’s encouragement to myself like, “I love the way I love others.” Think of it as someone loving on one of your babies. Who wouldn’t benefit from this!?
E = Engagement
Go to a restaurant, and look around. See how many people are ignoring the company in front of them by staring at their phone screen. How many hours are lost checking our Instagram, FB, Twitter? Don’t get me wrong. I love social media! I also could get lost in it! So many beautiful images and inspiration as a designer! Plus, I’ll be honest, all the words of affirmation received on social media! However, I think it is so important to remember the people sitting right in front of us! Mady will only be 15 for another DAY! Audrey only has one year left of high school! Emma is only home from Nashville a few times a year! My precious husband will only be this age for a blink. I will miss him some day! Time will run out this side of heaven. That’s a fact. ENGAGE while you can! Be present in the moment!
R = Relationships
This one is a good one! We are meant to be in community! From the time, God saw that Adam was incomplete without a “Help-mate”. However, the most valuable piece of relationship is that it is a healthy one! So many people feel obligated to unhealthy relationships. Primarily because they are “family”. This is false. One of the most healthy steps I have taken is ending harmful relationships and filling the gap with people who truly have my best interest at heart. Life is too short to feel obligated to these harmful relationships. Seek life-giving, affirming relationships that will help you and your family to thrive!
M = Meaning
To serve an entity or cause bigger than yourself, offers more healing. I’m working on this one, honestly! It’s tricky. It’s hard for me to serve without feeding the pious pharisee inside of me. What I mean is, to serve because I love the Lord so much, and not begin to serve for “works” sake. I want to serve because He first loved me. Not to convince Him to love me. It’s tricky, right? But when accomplished, I do feel a peace and a sense of living beyond myself! And it’s crazy because living beyond myself, ironically, helps me to find myself!
A = Accomplishment\Achievement
In a round about way, this helps the POSITIVE part of this acronym. To run a marathon, go back to school, create something in design, write a book, start a blog, all of these examples can aid tremendously in overcoming depression, and so many other tools of the enemy.
Write down a goal. A crazy goal that you’ve always dreamt about. Pray about it and DO IT!! You can! In fact, you never know why God has put this desire in your heart! We all, ultimately depend on each other to carry out the plans God has put on our hearts! I believe it’s all a part of a bigger picture.
I hope this has helped you in some way. I hope you feel inspired to be the best you for your family’s sake. Remember, we must put our oxygen mask on first and then assist those dependent on us.
Happy Family Friday!