"I love you."
Sometimes it's the most simple statements that can save your day. The power of words like these can be measured in different ways. They can turn a frustrating morning into something that can be salvaged and laughed about later. They can make the gloom outside the window not disappear, but dissipate. They can take a sullen mood and lift it right off the ground until a new perspective appears.
Positive feedback from a loved one, a friend, a partner or a parent: it's what makes our hearts want to keep beating inside our chests. That swell of comfort and wave of warmth let us know that while things may be shitty at this particular moment in time, it's only temporary.
Your toddler falls apart every five minutes and kicks and screams like it's going out of style? It's normal. It's maddening and soul-crushing, but it's what the little terrors are supposed to do to develop.
Your work hours got cut and your freelance career has taken a dip? It's okay. Things will pick up again soon. Opportunities and setbacks balance each other out.
Your stress levels feel out of control, something you can't reign in no matter what you try? Don't worry. We all have days where our blood pressure skyrockets to the stratosphere. Things will calm down again soon.
"You're doing a good job."
"I love you."
Take this to heart, self.
Remember what's most important. It's not the fleeting screams of a soon-to-be-threenager or the highs and plateaus of your career. It's what's found here, in our kitchen on a rainy Friday afternoon: unconditional acceptance from your people, the ones you love you best.
Take time to recall the positive aspects of your life, the things that are going right.
How your daughter slept in for the first time since moving to her big-girl bed and didn't wake everyone up in the middle of the night. How good it feels to sway with your husband in the middle of the day while you both work from home, Barenaked Ladies softly playing in the background. How the miracle you made together laughs and tries to squeeze in between you to get in on the group hug and share the family love.
All of this adds up to something big. Something bigger than stress or money. And it's what makes our existence on this planet bearable and lovable and sometimes awful.
It's called life and none of us can do it alone. So today I choose to listen to those precious words gifted to me by my husband, and I also hear what he isn't saying when he sees I'm struggling with everything.
"It's okay. I've got you. Lean on me. I'll point you home."