Monday, September 23, 2013

Laugh it Off...

Alright, I'm going to take a moment and get slightly serious about a common issue for a lot of LE families. One question I get asked a lot is if I am scared when my husband walks out the door. I really wish I could say "Duh! Wouldn't you be?" But instead I try to be gracious and say it's part of the job and I try not to think about it. And then in my head I'm saying, "But your question just reminded me I could be a widow and my child fatherless by thanks, now I'm thinking about it."  A tip to people out there: don't ask a cop wife or family member if they are scared about their LEO! 'Cause we are, horribly, and we don't need a reminder. Instead, support us by saying "I know it is scary, let me know how I can support you."

But really, how do we feel about what our LEOs do? You may be a spouse, a parent, family member, or friend of an LEO. Their job affects us all differently. I think about if my husband was killed, how would I make a living, where would I go, and could I cope with losing my best friend? Not to mention how would my daughter go through life without a daddy? Those fears and worries will always be there. What makes the difference is how we honestly address them, and then put the fears aside. Fear inflicts unfair stress on ourselves and those around us, ultimately causing us to lose perspective on the most important thing...we only have today, make the most of it and don't waste a moment.

This is my strategy for coping with the dangers of my husband's job:

First, I address my perspective. Am I looking at the dangers and realities with a negative perspective, or a positive one? A negative perspective will leave me feeling hopeless and fearful. An example of a negative perspective may be how I think, that an accident or injury is inevitable, it's just part of the job and I better brace myself. OR, I can choose a positive perspective and remind myself what great things my husband is actually doing. And that the possible dangers cause us to appreciate each other more, focus on the minute at hand rather than the future, and never waste a moment telling the other person they are loved. There are so many other ways to live life that result in complacency and numbness. How many times have we appreciated someone but never said it or showed our appreciation? I've done it for sure. But my positive outlook about possibly losing my husband someday, or him being injured makes me think this way instead...I will never, ever, forget to say I love you when he leaves, and I will put aside petty things because when you stop to think about the possibility that this time together will be our last, it isn't worth it. I'm not perfect and I don't always do this, but it is the positive perspective I choose. I choose to look at my life this way because these two things will make my family stronger and closer in the long run. When my husband is old and gray and he made it through 25 years in Law Enforcement, I won't look back and regret my fear, I will look back and appreciate my perspective, because it made me grow as a person and we are better for it.

One way I keep positive perspective is through humor. I'm weird, that's a fact and I'm fine with it. My husband and I laugh all the time, and our baby girl is learning to, too. Fears, dangers, realities, they will always be there, so the best way for me to handle them, is to see something funny in as much as I can. My mom taught me that. We have two choices, get bitter or better. Laugh or get butt hurt. Better and laughter sound way better than bitter and butt hurt. 

I am including a link to This website has a BUNCH of stuff on the mental, physical, and social benefits of an awesome sense of humor and laughter. My favorite part of the article is this advice, take yourself less seriously! I think I can do that, just the thought of it makes me feel relieved.

Here is a snippet of a few ways to help yourself see the lighter side of life. Something even our LEOs would appreciate being able to do. Please check out this link to Laughter is the Best Medicine.

  • Laugh at yourself. Share your embarrassing moments. The best way to take yourself less seriously is to talk about times when you took yourself too seriously.
  • Attempt to laugh at situations rather than bemoan them. Look for the humor in a bad situation, and uncover the irony and absurdity of life. This will help improve your mood and the mood of those around you.
  • Surround yourself with reminders to lighten up. Keep a toy on your desk or in your car. Put up a funny poster in your office. Choose a computer screensaver that makes you laugh. Frame photos of you and your family or friends having fun.
  • Keep things in perspective. Many things in life are beyond your control—particularly the behavior of other people. While you might think taking the weight of the world on your shoulders is admirable, in the long run it’s unrealistic, unproductive, unhealthy, and even egotistical.
  • Deal with your stress. Stress is a major impediment to humor and laughter.
  • Pay attention to children and emulate them. They are the experts on playing, taking life lightly, and laughing.
 Melinda Smith, M.A., and Jeanne Segal, Ph.D has tons of awesome resources for every struggle in life. Children and Family, PTSD and Trauma, Eating Disorders, Stress, and so much more. 

We need to be encouraged in this life. We were given it because we can do it, not because we were supposed to fail. I figured that one out at my breaking point when my husband was gone and our baby was two months old. I am one of few that was made to do this...and I will thrive...and learn to laugh while I'm doing it. 

I hope you get a chuckle out of the story is about positive perspective!

This is an oldie but a goodie. Thought I would include this on the blog since my family is MHP proud! Plus I still get a smile from it. :)

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