I remember visiting a women’s domestic violence support group once. I was single at the time, and I wasn’t in any domestic violence situation. However, I had just gotten out of a relationship with a man who was very verbally abusive. From the very beginning of the relationship, he would always put me down and try to control me. One night he became very angry with me just because I wouldn’t kiss him goodnight the way he wanted me to. I was thinking, “I barely know this guy!”
When I started thinking about how I seemed to attract these abusive men, I decided to talk to a facilitator (and counselor) because she had a lot of knowledge about the patterns of women in abusive relationships. I was looking for more information on the subject. I had just attracted two men who were interested in having a relationship with me, but I found out they both had violent past relationships! It was an eye-opener for me because I realized I was still attracting the same type of men. The counselor was really passionate about the subject. She has helped many women understand their value after they have endured many years of abuse. She told me that she knew it was her calling to do so. When we met, she helped me to gather information on the subject and counseled me about the recent break-up I had gone through.
She invited me to visit her support group, and I did. I remember walking in slowly, not knowing what to expect. The house was warm and cozy. She brought out chocolates and other refreshments and proceeded to introduce me to the group.
After others shared their experiences, I shared my story. Afterward, the facilitator brought out free gifts—free beauty products! We all had just visited dark places in our lives, but at the mention of beauty products, our spirits were lifted. We were giddy, like little girls again, as we tried on lipstick, lotions, and perfume. Although I felt like a five-year-old playing in her mother’s make-up, I was learning a profound lesson. It doesn’t take much to lift a dreadful mood. I couldn’t help but laugh as the ladies came alive! All memories of their troubled pasts had vanished right before my eyes—if only for a few glamorous moments. It lifted my spirit to see the shift from feelings of sadness and regret to excitement and fun.
From that experience, I learned that it is important for us to feel good about ourselves as women. Even if the feeling initially comes from a little dab of perfume or a little rouge on the lips, it’s all the same—self-love and appreciation are important for those who are broken inside.
Recently, I thought about the ladies, and I was inspired by the event all over again. I decided to give myself a little boost by trying this electric-blue eye liner I had found. It wasn’t much, but it was a small step. It was a step toward a foundation I was already building on in my life—to change the course of my life, no matter what is going on.
Here are some other tips to help you focus and better take care of yourself:
- Have a time of the day in which you set aside time for prayer, meditation, and Bible reading. The mornings are a good time, as this helps set the tone for your day.
- Set aside some “me” time. This a time in which you do something you really enjoy, such as reading a novel, listening to music, journaling, or simply sipping a cup of tea. Remember to choose an activity that helps you unwind.
- Make a list of things you need in order to properly take care of yourself. For example, I really need to drink more water; therefore, I have to remind myself to do it. I also have to remind myself to take my vitamins. I actually do it by talking to myself as if I were my own mother, making myself take them! It’s crazy, but many of us have to be made to take time to do those things that are good for our health. In the past, there were times when I would try to skip on eating any vegetables and fruit during the day! Again, I have to make myself eat what I need to eat in order to stay healthy—yes, it requires extra effort and discipline at times.
- Pray for direction and clarity. Pray for the wisdom to understand how to better use your resources, such as your money, time, and energy. Pray over your relationships and other areas of your life.
- Take the most stressful thing you’re dealing with and “cast” that care upon God. I often make a list of the things I want God to take control of. I also make a list of the people I want to pray for.
- Get as organized as humanly possible.
- Make your home as comfy as possible for you, first and foremost. When you do, more than likely, everyone else will enjoy it also.
- Make a note to find ways to reduce your stress as much as possible. For example, if you travel a road that has aggravating traffic each day, try to find a calmer, more peaceful route home. It could take longer; however, if you have the time, it may be more beneficial to your peace of mind in the long run. As always, pay attention to the promptings in all of these areas. He will lead you and give you the wisdom you need. These are just suggestions.
*excerpt taken from my book, “Bittersweet; Dealing with Our Emotional Issues.”