I think we’ve all been told “Suck it up, Buttercup!” a time or two in our lives. Lucky for the rest of the world (a.k.a. the three other people who might read this), my insomniac brain finds true life-enrichment in analyzing things like pop culture catch phrases in the middle of the night. In a terrible world full of terrible things, perhaps we need some alternative phrasing. It’s time to have catch phrases for those of us who live in the real world where “sucking it up” isn’t always the answer.
Cough it up, Buttercup.
When I would get sick with a respiratory infection as a kid, I remember my mom always telling me, “Get that junk out of there! Keep coughing it up! Better out than in!” Along those same lines, why do we take expectorants for bronchitis and pneumonia or feel better after throwing up food from the sketchy diner down the street? Because the sooner we get it out of our system, the sooner we will begin to heal! The same goes with emotions or thoughts that play off of our mental illnesses. Better out than in, folks!
I personally am so afraid of imposing on someone else or being a burden that I end up bottling up my stress and fears to the point that I begin to implode (metaphorically, of course…if I literally began to implode I would have bigger issues to worry about). I know that everyone has their own crap going on. Who am I to self-schedule an appointment on someone else’s mental and emotional calendar? Everyone else deals with their life concerns on their own…so should I…right? WRONG. I am only just now learning the freedom that comes with opening up about my struggles. How is anyone supposed to help anyone else if we never know of the hurt or pain until it is too late? Don’t let shame hold you back. And you never know…opening up about your struggles may actually earn you a “Me too!” instead of a “Suck it up, Buttercup.”
Draw it up, Buttercup.
(trigger warning – depression/suicide)
I know better than many at the moment how terrifying it is to not remember why you keep breathing. We all have reasons, but at times those reasons can become unclear and fade just outside of our mind’s visual field. We know they are there, but can’t remember what they are. As soon as that happens, we have just lost our footing on a very slippery slope.
Let me interject here that I personally don’t believe that suicide is inherently selfish. The people who say it is have probably never been close. To be at the point of suicidal ideation is to be at the point of complete and utter despair. Depression removes our ability to make rational decisions. Suicide is a plea for release from the agony that life has become at that point. That doesn’t make it right, but I would also argue that it doesn’t make is selfish either. I beg everyone to think long and hard before saying that to anyone. It only adds to the shame, which may cause a slide down a whole different slippery slope that has the same end result.
My suggestion to anyone out there who feels that they are losing sight of their reason to keep breathing is this: Tell someone. And not just anyone. It has to be someone you trust – someone you know will answer the phone every time or come to you in your hour of need. Draw up and sign a Contract for Safety. Come up with a plan to help prevent theplan. If a written document is a bit over the top for your taste, draw up a verbal contract. Sit down with your person and tell them you need their help. And be transparent in explaining why. They need to understand the urgent nature of your request. So long as you go to the right person, you will be amazed at the support and empathy you receive.
Give it up, Buttercup.
(trigger warning – abuse)
There is an extremely scary word that we all must look in the eye multiple times throughout our life: Forgive.
It is extremely difficult to forgive others who have caused us pain through physical, mental, and emotional abuse. Even harder still is forgiving ourselves for mistakes we have made in the past or for actions we took as the actual abuser. I have been the abused. I have also been the one causing intense emotional pain and trauma. If I cannot forgive my abuser, I cannot move on without being eaten away by bitterness, rage, or hate. If I cannot forgive myself, I will never experience life with peace and joy. If I can do neither, I will quickly slide down one of the slippery slopes mentioned above. (see how these all tie together?)
“We have all hurt someone tremendously, whether by intent or accident. We have all loved someone tremendously, whether by intent or accident. It is an intrinsic human trait, and a deep responsibility, I think, to be an organ and a blade. But, learning to forgive ourselves and others because we have not chosen wisely is what makes us most human. We make horrible mistakes. It’s how we learn. We breathe love. It’s how we learn. And it is inevitable” (Unknown).
Forgive. If you are unable to do anything else, do this.
Grow up, Buttercup
(trigger warning – tough love here)
Take responsibility for your own actions and feelings. The world is cruel, but it doesn’t owe you anything. It is never going to pay up for hurting you, so stop expecting it. Once you are able to forgive yourself and others, you will be able to put aside any sense of entitlement that is holding you back from experiencing love with a clear head and heart. Remember that “sometimes we are responsible for something not because we are to blame, but because we are the only ones who can change it” (Feldman Barrett, 2017). When I realized that life is cruel and then we die, I realized I am wasting the good moments by wallowing in the bad moment. I have to choose to change how I feel and react to the negative moments so I can still experience the good moments. The caveat to this is that it has to be an ACTIVE choice – this is not a one and done choice. If you take it one day at a time (one minute at a time if you have to!), it can be done. Draw strength from God and your faith (whatever that faith may be). If I can do it, so can you! Tomorrow I may need the encouragement from you when I forget how it’s done.
Wake it up, Buttercup.
None of the above can be accomplished without the others. But if you actively work on each one – survive, forgive, and changing your attitude – you will begin to see an awakening within yourself. You will see peace. You will see confidence. You will realize that you are worthy of love, worthy of grace, and worthy of respect. Once you realize your own worth, the other pieces will hopefully begin to fall into place. Thank you to my very best friend for reminding me that self-love and self-worth is necessary before we can accept love from anyone else. Once we learn to value who we are as perfectly imperfect individuals, we can demand no less from others. Let’s elevate our self-worth together and make this world a better place!
Feldman Barrett, Lisa. (2017, December). You aren’t at the mercy of your emotions – your brain creates them. Retrieved from