What do you see here? A mess? A tripping hazard? Housework? Frustration? I see my toddler’s newfound love of coloring. Her desire to test every color of crayon. I see her running over to me with a twinkle in her eyes, asking me in her own way to please come color with her. I see her delight as I draw shapes, animals, stick figures, and houses; making me feel like my drawings aren’t as terrible as I think they are. I see my older children huddled around the paper with my toddler, interacting so kindly and patiently with her.
Is it a mess? Sure, and I already cleaned it up. But rather than getting angry and thinking “oh my god, I seriously have to play 100 crayon pick-up again?!?”, I chose to think “I’m so grateful that my daughter loves to color!” Happiness is a choice; anger is a choice.
Yesterday, I chose anger. Yesterday, I felt like a mess. It seemed like everything was going wrong, like my kids were all conspiring to test my patience at the same time. And I lost it. I reverted to my old ways, familiar ways. I screamed. I didn’t just yell, I screamed. I scared my kids, and made my oldest cry. I felt like the worst mother ever. In retrospect, I can see the beauty in the mess, though.
Just 4 years ago, this type of outburst was pretty much a daily occurrence. I was full of frustration, fear, hurt, and uncertainty. All of those feelings came exploding out of me in the form of rage. I hurt those closest to me far too often. I’m grateful that I’m married to a man who was able to see through the mess and love my inner beauty, even before I knew it was there.
While I’m not proud of my outburst yesterday, I’m proud of how far I’ve come in just a few years. This is the first time I’ve lost my temper this badly in a very long time. I honestly don’t remember the last time it was that bad. And within a few minutes, I was verbalizing my feelings, apologizing for my choices, and hugging my crying daughter in comfort. While I didn’t exactly calm down 100% after that, I didn’t choose to yell again. I tried my very hardest to show patience, compassion, and understanding. And I woke up today committed to choosing happiness and peace. So while I may have made a decision yesterday that I’m not at all proud of, I do see the progress I’ve made, and I’m choosing to forgive myself for a bad decision and celebrate all the good ones. One day at a time, one step at a time, I’m rebuilding my life in a better way. And that’s a beautiful thing.