Saturday, November 16, 2013

10 Tips for Surviving this LE Life

Whenever the baby is napping I take some me time and peruse Facebook and Pinterest. One thing I see ALL THE TIME, are questions from people (especially wives) on how to deal with the negative PR that's out there. Do you wonder that too? I definetly have struggled with this, and I want to share how I have overcome the painful, and sometimes angering situation of seeing people hate on cops.

Minding my own business one day, I decided to make a Facebook cover photo for my personal page. It happened to be National Law Enforcement Day so I knew I wanted to make it LE themed. Not having any photos or support ribbons on my computer I opened my Google search and searched "police". Stupid idea. There was a fair share of great photos and links, but all my eyes went to were the hate photos, the negative articles, the really hurtful comments. My blood was literally boiling I was so mad and frustrated. I eventually sifted through the crap and made my cover photo, but during the process I was inundated with so much negative associated with Police that I became really burdened.

This situation will happen to us ALL! Whether you're a wife, a parent, or, sadly, the child of a LE Officer, you will come in contact with people who hate your Officer, and by association, hate you. I've already experienced it. Several people I thought were friends ended up saying to my face, "My boyfriend doesn't want to do anything as couples anymore because your husband is a Cop." or "I'm uncomfortable with your husband's job so it's making it hard for us to be friends." What the heck, right? Man that was hurtful! (I have sense gotten over that because I know we are worth having as friends, and if you can't figure that out...too bad for you. Back to the story...)

When I see my husband parked in his patrol car on the side of the highway I want to blare my horn, flash my lights, yell out the window, "THAT'S MY SEXY HUSBAND! I'M SO PROUD!" When I go to the store and buy the fixings for a yummy dinner I know my hubby needs because of a bad day, I want to tell the cashier all about it. I want to wear my MHP sweater around town, I want to have a car bumper sticker that says, "Proud Trooper's Wife." I want to shout to the world because I am so proud of my husband. But I can't. I have to be careful of who I share with because of the hurtful things they may say, our family's safety, my husband's safety, professionalism...all of it. And it sucks!

It feels like every time I watch a video online of an Officer doing something great I have to endure the comments of ignorant people that can't seem to figure out that, though there may be a bad apple once in a while, not all Cops are rotten. When I check my Facebook I sometimes see people commenting on news posts about how cops accidentally shot a young kid, or ran a red light, or whatever. I want SO BAD to comment on those posts and say,  "YOU ALL HAVE IT WRONG!" But, again, I can't.

So how do you survive all the negativety around you? This is MY strategy:

1. Most important!!! Find other LE people to surround yourself with. Find a support group, fellow Officer's wives. Auxiliaries. Online support groups. Positive Facebook pages (or blogs! whoot!). Whatever means you find your LE family, find them quick and cling close. You will always have a safe place within this group. They will understand your struggles, they will know where you are coming from, and they will be able to help you. I personally have been embraced by several LE wives (Hi Karen and Rhonda!) and they have helped me chill the heck out!

2. Crazy doesn't win the argument. Don't be the crazy wife, parent, sibling etc who argues with people in attempt to defend your Officer. It won't work and it just steals your peace. You can't educate ignorance. Period. Move on from people like that and don't engage. (Harder said than done, I know, but sometimes our defensive posture harms more than helps.)

3. DON"T READ THE COMMENTS!!! Seriously. Don't! Resist the urge to scroll down on a news page and read comments. Again, it steals your peace and shreds at your strength. If people have nothing better to do than sit on the internet and hate on Officers from the protection of their desk...you're better than them anyway and you don't need to associate.

4. Pray. A lot. Our resources go beyond our fellow man. We have a supporter who is kind, perfect, and patient. When times get tough and you feel like you have no one, remember, you are NOT forgotten. You are NOT alone.

5. Talk about it. If you are struggling in any way with your LEO's job, find someone to talk with. Find a good friend to chat with over coffee. Find a pastor, or a counselor. Sometimes it does get that bad. But it's not the end and it's never hopeless. Getting our feelings out helps so much. Think of it as sloughing off a dirty layer of skin...it's gone, done, and dried up, and you can walk away.

6. Laugh. Operate with a sense of humor. Operate with a God given joy. Haters are dumb and they don't even know it. One of my favorite ways to remind myself to laugh about a negative situation is to recite the quote, "Don't like Cops? Try calling a crack addict." Gets me every time...cause it's true.

7. Know what you know. You know your LEO is AWESOME! You know he/she has a heart of a sheep dog protecting its flock. You know why your LEO does what he/she does and you know they are doing something GOOD, despite what people think. Cling to that and learn to be ok with being an island at times in your life. As LEO supporters, we have a duty to our Officers. We have a duty to cover them with prayer, to be strong when they can't be, to be encouraging, to be positive. All of these traits start within ourselves. Have confidence in your belief and love of Law Enforcement...they need you. I finally learned how to and now I'm writing this blog! 

8. Take a break. Do you ever wonder why I sometimes post recipes or links that have nothing to do with Law Enforcement, even though this is a LE themed blog? Because we all need a break. We understand our Officers need a break from the job. They need a place where they can shut off the TV's and just be. As supporters, we do too. Don't forget that life goes on. Don't focus on the negativity, it will suck you dry. You have a great life to live and when it comes down to it, Law Enforcement is just a job. Shut the news off, stop clicking on the video/article links for a while, don't talk about their job, and just take a breather.

9. Stay in the positive zone. Let those of us who are willing to sift through the crap do it. I mean, find positive blogs, forums, and Facebook pages and stay there. When you find a positive place, enjoy it. I heard the Lord's whisper to write this blog. That means I see all the good and bad everyday, all day long. He is giving me the strength to weed out the bad and present you with the good. So let people like me do the dirty work and just enjoy the benefits that positive encouragement brings. My mission is to be the buffer between the painful negativity and the truth, so more people hear about the awesome job our Officers are doing. Sit back with your coffee and enjoy the many safe, positive places that are LE themed. (my resource page has several great places...check it out!)

10. Finally, let it go. One of my readers emailed me the other day with some advice. She has been a LEOW for 20+ years. Her awesome words were this, "One thing I have learned after all these years is that my husband is safer doing Law Enforcement IN God's will than he is doing anything else OUT of God's will!" Wow! Right? How simply but beautifully put. So I encourage you to cling to that reminder when you feel burdened. When you see the negativity online or in the news remember our men and women in uniform were BORN for this. The Bible says this, "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart" Jeremiah 1:5 Our Officers were set apart for their calling. They can do it and they will do it, no matter how negative the world is, no matter how many evil people work against them. God ordained them in the womb to do this job. And He set YOU apart to be their wife, parent, sibling, or friend. You can do this too...and that includes surviving and thriving!
  


10 comments:

  1. An excellent word! I used to wonder if there was something wrong with me because people would make comments like, "Oh, I bet you just worry yourself sick" or "I don't think I could do it, I'd worry myself to death every time they go out that door." Well, I don't. I am very proud of my husband (Police Officer) and my daughter (Sheriff's Deputy) and my son-in-law (Police Officer) but I know God is watching over them and all my worry will do nothing but make me and everyone else miserable. I just entrust them to God's watchful eye because I know He loves them so much more than I ever could.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am so glad you have experienced God's grace for the challenges we face! And you have a tough job, x3! I will be praying for your family! Thank you for your comment!

      Delete
  2. Not sure how I landed on this post. One of those "click after click after click" days led me here. Obviously it was a God thing. Number 10 hit me hard and continues to play over and over in my head as my husband just passed the two-year anniversary of his on-duty shooting. Thankfully, he recovered fully and went back to work, but it has wreaked havoc on this leow's mind from time-to-time.

    I will find a way to post that quote - "One thing I have learned after all these years is that my husband is safer doing Law Enforcement IN God's will than he is doing anything else OUT of God's will!" - in a place I can see it regularly. Thankful for God's calling and protection over my husband's life.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Praise God that you found the post! And I will be praying for you!!! You are also in God's will which means He has given you the grace and strength to keep going! I am so glad you shared and I pray peace for your mind, as well as the ability to overcome your fears and the anxiety you are going through! Keep strong...sending an LEOW hug your way!

      Delete
  3. Thank you!!! You are right on my sister!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thank you for this blog post, it was very comforting to know I'm not alone with these thoughts! I was just discussing with a friend about the frustration of not being able to share how proud I am of my hubby and she was blissfully unaware of the difficulties faced by a LEOW. It's hard for other people to relate!

    ReplyDelete
  5. As a new comer to the LEO life (boyfriend just became an office) it was extremely helpful to read this and read the comments and know I'm not alone in certain worries. I have very few friends who understand I can't always make plans set and stone or I might cancel last minute because, well, I want to see my boyfriend after I haven't been able to spend much time with him in about 5 days. Thankfully my family is extremely supportive and understand when he can not make it to events but I had a lot of anxieties of the unknown or how can I be supportive or even how to handle the fact that this isn't a normal you get to see your boyfriend a lot in yalls free time kind of relationship. Thank you, I truly enjoyed reading this and knowing theres others out there that understand.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Sarah! Thank you for your comment. I'm so glad to hear you have a support system through your family. You are part of a very special "blue" family, one that definitely understands the struggles and the good times that come with the life. You are definitely not alone. Blessings to you!

      Delete
  6. Toni G 6/7/2017 I am not an LE wife but I am the only civilian working with LE in a small department. I want to thank you for these 10 tips for surviving this LE life! I truly needed this today! I have cried for almost 24 hours over the bashing "my chief and officers" are taking from ignorant, stupid people who have no clue what life would be like without "my guys/gals in blue". I am truly grateful for your words which will go up next to my desk to keep me grounded in what really matters. God will keep us all safe. God bless you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Toni, you are so welcome! Thank you for supporting your department and having their backs...it takes a special person to be strong enough to back the blue. Hugs to you and I will be keeping you in prayer! Blessings!

      Delete