5 Really Good Things To Do When You’re Angry

Last weekend Dennis and I had one of those fights that came out of nowhere and blindsided us both.   It was Sunday afternoon and we were taking a leisurely drive talking about our goals when suddenly everything went south.  (I’m sure it had something to do with money, but now 4 days later even that important detail of what the fight was really about escapes me.)

You know the kind of south I’m talking about.  The kind that makes you want to screech the tires and slam doors.  The kind of mad that makes you want to get away from the person causing you pain as fast as possible.

I was driving.

As our argument got more heated, I headed the car for home.   We continued the tit for tat groveling into the house.  The decibel of the fighting got worse and Dennis (who never does this, it’s only the 2nd time in 30 years of marriage), said “I’m gonna leave.” He grabbed his car keys and headed out the door.

I was glad.  I couldn’t wait for him to get out the door.

Stunned, and not sure what had really just happened, I loaded the dishwasher and slowly wiped the counter.

Then, I loaded the washer.

I switched on my Adele CD and joined in her croon “I Could’ve Had It All.”

I grabbed my Pledge and dustrag and violently attacked the furniture.

I wiped down window shades filled with dust that hadn’t been hit in 6 months.

I pumped the Windex onto the TV’s that were covered with an invisible black film.

I wrangled with the sheets and made the bed.

Nothing could stop me.  I was like a mad woman attacking my anger like some housecleaner Hercules.

That lasted for about 15 minutes.

With my back to the bedroom door, I didn’t even hear Dennis re-enter the house and then the bedroom.  I was too busy letting the tears stream down my face as I sprayed more Windex and mopped gunk off the bedroom TV.  He was within 1 foot of me and the TV when I finally noticed his presence.  And then I turned around, locked eyes with him and fell into his arms.

We embraced for what seemed like a very long time.  Adele kept on singing her lusty soul tunes.

We kissed.  Said I’m sorry.  Made-up.  (I’ll let you fill in the details on this one.)

And for that, I’m very, very glad.

When you’re in love, fighting is inevitable.  I don’t advocate fighting nor do we do very much of it. 

But sometimes a good fight is the cleansing agent that paves the way to greater understanding.

It’s what you do with your anger that counts.  Holding it inside is the absolute worst thing you can do.  It’s toxic.

It’s okay to get mad.  It’s okay to be furious.  And occasionally, it’s even okay to leave to just put some space between the anger and yourselves.

There are good things to do with anger, and there are some very bad things.  Here’s 5 really good things to do when you’re angry.  They may seem silly, but they provide a good bridge until you can get to the other side again.

5 Really Good Things To Do When You’re Angry

#1.  Clean the house.   Turn yourself into a whirlwind.  Attack the toilet.  Scrub holes in the kitchen floor if you have to.

#2.  Hop on the treadmill.  Pound it out.  Increase the level or the speed and put your fight into the machine, not each other.  The other alternative to this is taking a walk.

#3.  Sob it out in the shower.  Cry yourself dry.  Then, with your hair still wrapped in the towel, take a nap.

#4.  Call a friend and rant to your heart’s content.  Do not, I repeat, do not call your family.  Friends can usually get over your spouse’s supposed shortcomings, family cannot. 

#5.  Organize just about anything.  Your closet.  Your junk drawer.  The entire garage or house if you’ve got that much anger.  Then just make sure to get rid of the stuff you’ve purged immediately before you can cool entirely down.

Hopping on the treadmill and taking a walk are two different things.  Dennis is a take-a-walk kind of guy.  He actually went out to sit by the lake while we were fighting and didn’t really ever leave at all.  I’m more of a hop on the treadmill kind of woman.  I can pound out my frustration on the machine.

But the best thing of all to do when you’re angry is this…make-up.  Mingle your tears and hug it out.  Say you’re sorry.  Begin again.  Because of all the things worth fighting for in this crazy mixed-up world…love is the most important thing of all.

“I love you not only for what you are, but for what I am when I am with you. I love you not only for what you have made of yourself, but for what you are making of me. I love you for the part of me that you bring out.” – Elizabeth Barrett Browning

My friend Stacey just formally announced her engagement to her beau Willy Nelson.  Now I know what you’re thinking but NO, it isn’t the country western singer Willie Nelson.    They’re planning a Christmastime wedding in a beautiful chapel nestled deep in the Ozarks of southern Missouri.  So what’s so amazing about this engagement?

Everything.  But mostly, because it’s love worth waiting for.

In a society where we get impatient waiting in the Taco Bell drive-through to get our double decker taco, waiting decades on love seems incredulous.

Willy and Stacey collectively waited half a century to write their own love story together.  You see, Willy’s 39 and never been married.  Stacey’s getting set to celebrate the big 5-0 this year and has been divorced for over a decade.  She’s raised 2 kids pretty much on her own and was committed to getting her babies raised before she allowed herself the luxury of love again.

Rare.  Even shocking in the 21st century.

Willy and Stacey were introduced to each other through a home-based business, the Body by Vi Challenge.   Stacey had nixed dating, even putting the thought of it out of her mind until her son had graduated from high school.    She hurried to work, to soccer, to the Mediterranean touring groups of seniors, to church, to the grocery store and back again.  There was never time to even sit down to think about love.

Willy had instituted a new rule of not dating anyone in his business, having been hurt by that before and so he put his head down and kept growing his business. 

Both hearts wanted love.   Both hearts deserved love.   And the heart knows what even the mind won’t allow.   Because the right love is worth waiting for.

Both had their guards up and were content to be business partners and friends.  What started as team members became business partners, partners became best friends and it blossomed from there. 

They continued to work together, noticing their skills complemented each others.  They were helping each other grow their businesses without realizing the amount of time they were spending together and doing things others would have considered ‘dating.’    After being asked by friends and team members if they were dating, it finally became obvious to them and they admitted to themselves they were falling in love.  They began dating as best they could, 2,500 miles apart. 

Yesterday, a full 12 months from their first date, Willy got down on his knee to ask Stacey to be his bride in Loose Park near the rose garden with a honkin’ diamond and a Body by Vi bag draped over his arm.  Her grown daughter Katie (whom he had asked for her blessing) was hiding in the nearby parking lot to hug and congratulate her Mom once it was official.

The engagement is official.  The wedding date is set.  Stacey and Willy are both breathless and giddy with their newfound love.   Their joy is contagious.   We’re planning an engagement party and anxiously awaiting an invitation to their winter wedding.   And most of what I know about this is…it’s a love worth waiting for.    My Grandma was right…good things come to those who wait.

What’s the One Thing You Wish You Could’ve Changed About Your Life?

You know, the one thing that if you could’ve changed it would’ve made an epic difference in your psyche?

Mine is this.

My Mother has OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder). It R-U-L-E-D our life. It crippled my Dad. It wreaked havoc on any happiness that ever tried to enter our front door because it was the MONSTER of the house. It turned two little girls (me and my sister) into enemies. It made me super strong and super fake because I was so busy pretending that everything was a-ok. It destroyed our family.

I was the happiest girl you could ever meet. Still am.

For the most part (oh, 85%), it’s true. I am happy.

The other 15% is a mask that I wear to hide the torment, the gut-wrenching pain, the all-encompassing fear and the pretense wanting to make my life ‘normal.’ (It’s not.)
Lest you think I’m trying to be Miss Perfect, I have ADD and am borderline bi-polar (I lean more to the manic phases than the depressive) and those are both deemed mental illnesses. (Yes, Mom, I said the word mental illness about myself.)

I danced the people-pleasing dance so suavely for the first 45 years of my life. Then, I crashed, burned out and failed big. Let my impulsiveness and my ADD take me to places and projects I shouldn’t have touched and lost everything I ever owned in a misguided and underfunded real-estate business.

I wish my Mother would’ve gotten help for her OCD. When I was a little girl. When she still read me my favorite book “Madeline” and yelled pedal-pedal-pedal as I learned to ride my little red bike. When change was still possible and the imprint of craziness wasn’t imprinted on my mind and my heart and my soul and my life.

Yes, I said craziness. Because now I’m 50 and this angst still lurks in my soul each and every day. I fight it. I fight hard. Most of the time I win, but sometime I’m simply and utterly too tired.

I wish my Mother would’ve gotten help for her OCD. I wish I could’ve helped her, but as a child I didn’t know how. I tried to be the good girl. I believed that if I worked hard enough and pleased enough people, everything might turn out all right.

It didn’t.

Here are the 10 gems of wisdom I learned from the “One Thing I Wished I Could’ve Changed”:

#1)
OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder) is a mental illness. It is a disease. The disease was not my Mom. She is as much a casualty of her own disease as I was. SO SAD

#2: The Monster is the mental illness. The Monster is not my Mom. GET HELP

#3: My Mom’s responsibility was in taking care of her children. She did not. She left us mentally bruised, emotionally battered, and spiritually scarred for life because of her own selfishness. TAKE CARE OF YOUR CHILDREN

#4: My future is not dependent on my past. The choices I make today determine the path I will take. CHOOSE A BETTER PATH FOR YOURSELF

#5: My Father was as responsible for my shattered psyche as my Mom was. For decades I viewed him as a hero and just within the past couple of years did I understand that he was an accomplice to the abuse. I know that his intentions were pure and that he believed keeping the family together was paramount, but it crippled us. Parents are responsible for keeping their children safe…no matter what. IF YOU SAY OR DO NOTHING TO PROTECT A CHILD, YOU ARE THE PERPETRATOR

#6: Pleasing people is futile. Treat people with kindness. That’s all you can do. Not everyone is going to like you or want to be your friend. It doesn’t matter. GET OVER BEING LIKED

#7: My fake happiness worked. I am happy. Secrets pervaded my entire childhood. No one knew what was going on in my home. Secrets rarely are good. It has only been in telling the cold hard truths that I have felt liberated and cleansed. DON’T KEEP SECRETS THAT HURT

#8: Not all endings are happy ones. Sometimes they are devastating. LIFE WILL GO ON

#9: Family is ultra-important but there are some circumstances in life that can’t be changed. If your blood family leaves you, make your own. Sometimes friends can be closer than family…and they actually like you just the way you. FAMILY ARE THE PEOPLE YOU CHOOSE

#10: If you can’t control something, can’t change something and didn’t cause something then you have absolutely NO power in making it better. USE YOUR OWN POWER FOR GOOD

Life is a tough teacher. This lesson took 45 years for me to learn.

Challenge:Write your own story. Excavate your own lessons. Teach them to someone else so that what touched you, won’t hurt another. Use your own power for good.

How to Really Touch Someone’s Life

“The workings of the human heart are the profoundest mystery of the universe. One moment they make us despair of our kind, and the next we see in them the reflection of the divine image.”
-Charles W. Chesnutt

This week has been a week of reflection for me. As you know from one of my earlier posts, my best friend Terri’s father-in-law died on Monday night. The service to honor his life isn’t until Saturday.

I’ve written the funeral program.

We’ve made all the copies.

The food has been ordered for the dinner after the service.

The music that’s being played during the Visitation is being downloaded and burnt onto CD as we speak.

I’ve hugged his grieving wife.

I’ve prayed for comfort for the family.

And still, I can’t figure out why this one’s hitting me so hard. This one should be like a friend-of-a-friend, not a family member.

Is it because my Dad’s been gone for a little over two years and I miss him dearly? Is it because as I watch this generation go to their final resing place I know that I’m next?

All this reflecting has made me more than a wee bit sentimental. I find myself tearing up at weird times and in weird places. The UPS Store, for instance.

This week has been a grand opportunity for me to let Terri know how much she means to me. She’s the friend I sat next to in 9th grade Social Studies class and ate pizza and pumpkin pie with at overnights at her house. The one who never took her make-up off but never got a zit. She’s the one who shows up when I’m in a bind no matter what’s she’s got going or how inconvenient it is for her.

She’s the one who holds my heart.

She’s been touching my life for the last 35 years. We’ve had 6 babies collectively, married 2 amazing guys, each run our own businesses, leaned on each other through numerous ‘child’ crises, celebrated at our children’s weddings and now we’re watching each other’s grandchildren grow up. We’ve fallen apart and gotten back up, together.

Time has been our friend. Terri has been the continuous thread of my life. She shows up. She listens. She never judges. And she always tells me the truth, even when I would rather not hear it.

That is how you really touch someone’s life. You show up. You listen. You tell the truth and you leave the judging for God.

And it’s not done through an email or on facebook. Touching someone’s life for real takes being there, in person. For the good times and the bad. At weddings, but as Rudy Guilliani wrote in his book “Leadership”, especially at funerals.

Putting the Finishing Touches on Personality Prints


I’m known for my over-the-top personality so I’ve created Personality Prints.

Personality Prints are 100% customized notecards, magnets, prints and canvases that tell the story of you. We offer you a list of 200+ personality characteristics to choose from (you pick up to 13) and then we get to work building you a custom creation that you’ll treasure for years to come.

I’m anticipating that the majority of our Personality Prints will be done as keepsakes or gifts, but we encourage you to create one for yourself while you’re at it.

It’s amazing to see your personality come to life in the form of a Personality Print. You can order them in bold, organic, shades of gray or soft colors and with or without a birthdate. A picture of mine is above…we’re still tweaking. Just wanted to let you know in advance what’s coming up.

What Will Your Story Be?


I just finished having lunch with my friends Terri and Mike and Mike’s Mother Carolyn. Yesterday they said a permanent good-bye to Mike’s Dad Bill. I’m writing the funeral program and over lunch we talked about Bill’s life and his loves.

Here’s a small tidbit from my initial musings: Time is a treasure…honoring the life of William Diehl

Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

To honor your commitments is to honor God.

Bill loved his wife, his family, his church and his country. He celebrated a lifelong marriage of 56 years with his wife Carolyn. He was father to 3…Vicky, Mike and David, grandfather to 6 and great-grandfather to 6 more. He was the kindest, gentlest man you could ever meet. He loved woodworking, square dancing and playing games.

A steak and potatoes kind of man, he was no frills and no fuss. He served in the US Air Force for four years during the Korean War and spent XX years working as a _____________ at ________________.

Bill Diehl was a man of honor. His legacy stands on a foundation of God and family.

I still have a few blanks to fill in as you can see.

As I sit and reflect on Bill’s life after our lunch conversation, I find myself asking…what will your legacy be and who will write it?

Will it be personal and treasured, or will it be taken from a box of copy that can be duplicated 1,000 times at the funeral home.

Will it be you?

Because the truth is, no matter what the words say after you’re gone, you’re writing your own legacy right now. This very minute. And unlike Bill’s whose blanks are there because I simply didn’t know the answers, your blanks are there for you to fill in. You’re writing the story. Your story.

Will it matter that you were here? Did you live every day for comfort and security or did you stick your neck out on a few big things that might somehow change the world.

Did you take time for the people who really matter to you? Or were you simply too busy?

When you’re gone, who will care? What dent in the universe did the hyphen of your life make.

These are big questions. Only you know the answers. It’s your story. Write it well.

You Cannot Make Someone Love You


Love isn’t supposed to hurt. Love is supposed to be filled with smiles and moonbeams and fairy dust and happiness. Love is supposed to inspire and fulfill you.

Except when it doesn’t.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve recited I Corinthians 13:4-8 4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 8 Love never fails.

The good Scriptures say love never fails. So why am I feeling this sad?

It can be a friend, a parent, a child or a spouse. We feel misunderstood and unappreciated. The utopia we believed to exist flat out doesn’t. They don’t care as much as I care. They don’t love as much as I love.

What am I supposed to do with these feelings? Am I supposed to get angry, wither into a million little pieces or bury our relationship?

No.

I’m supposed to go on. I’m supposed to weep when the spirit moves me. I’m supposed to let myself be human. I’m supposed to feel.

I just re-read I Corinthians 13 again. And I think I figured out where I’ve been going wrong. I HAVE been keeping a record of wrongs. I’ve been marking notches on the ‘this is what I’ve been contributing’ side of the relationship list. I’ve been feeling underappreciated in every way.

But that’s all about me. Love isn’t all about me. Love is about US.

So for now, I’m going to try and stop keeping my record of wrongs. I’m simply going to be available. I’m going to love this person for who they are, not for who I want them to be.

I’ll let you know how it turns out.