I Just Yelled at a Stranger!

I yelled at a woman last week.


She was unkind.

She was controlling.

She wore an ugly mustard-colored crocheted hat.


But she did not deserve the words out of my mouth that made her speechless.


I returned to my apartment, sat down for a bowl of cereal at my kitchen table, and knew something was wrong with me--very wrong.


My two kids cannot remember the last time I yelled at them.

My co-workers have never heard me raise my voice at them.

My form of yelling at my husband, Nick, involves my voice becoming stern and a decibel louder than usual.


One thing was clear: I had managed to contain a hidden, inner tornado from the people I loved, and let it rip on the unexpecting stranger in the yellow hat.


As I sat mindlessly spooning a combo of bran and milk into my mouth, I easily began to justify my actions.

1. I was sick. My head was throbbing with pain.

2. I had just finished the busiest and most stressful work week of the year.

3. It was early in the morning and I was desperately tired.

4. And if those things were not enough, I unknowingly had PMS.


Though all true, there were other signs of hidden inner cracks.

1.     Five pounds (2.5 kg) weight gain in the last two months.

2.     No matter how busy or exciting the day, I dreamed of just crawling into bed and escaping to the land of silky sheets, down-filled blankets and pillows.

3.     Mindless facebook and internet browsing--hoping that I could find something to give me peace and rest. Life was incredibly busy and successful, and I still felt restless and bored.

4.     I had broken one of my personal codes to remain patient and kind with those around me. I wished I could somehow chase down the unknown woman, gift her with a new stocking cap, and apologize for the way I acted.

"Please forgive me. If mustard is your color, this is for you :)."

"Please forgive me. If mustard is your color, this is for you :)."


I have spent the last 37 of my 38 years convincing myself that I am most generous to others when I train certain emotions to remain silent. I can be better, stronger, more unselfish than the emotions I feel. If I don’t speak them, then they will eventually disappear.


Unresolved hurt, disappointment and anger never vanish. They just cluster together silently under the surface. They gain secret strength in the hidden war room of the soul. One day they emerge with their own unexpected Pearl Harbor of the self--destroying you and everything in its path. Hidden emotions never create the generosity we had hoped for; they create destruction.


To avoid any further annihilation, I started the following process.


Step #1: I got curious.


Rather than justifying or hiding my behavior, I started to investigate. As I dug in, listened to my inner self-talk and the knot in my gut, I discovered I was very angry. As I took the time to listen even more, I knew the reason why.


Step #2: I communicated.


In the past, I would have just kept quietly working and hoping that all would be okay. What I thought was being generous, was actually being quite selfish. I was not allowing my life to be shared, and I didn’t give those closest to me the chance to help make it all better.


Later that day, I sat with Nick in our cold, frost-covered Volkswagen van outside the brick walls of the church we started two years ago.

Focus Church - Tallinn, Estonia -  www.focuschurch.ee

Focus Church - Tallinn, Estonia - www.focuschurch.ee


“Nick, I am so mad. I realize I probably have a bad attitude and am being selfish. I pray about it, that I find peace, but I am angry. It feels like I make everyone else’s dreams come true. I work hard and I give so that others can follow their dreams, and in that process mine become impossible to obtain. And no one cares.”


To many of you who do not know me, you could see this as a selfish temper tantrum. But I was talking with the one man who sees it all—what I do in public and private—and he knew that there was some truth in my words. I still kinda expected him to get defensive or try to convince me that I was actually living my dream and merely blind to it. Nick did the opposite. He listened and simply said, “I am so sorry, Liv.”


Yesterday Nick left for two weeks of work in America. As I stood brushing my teeth in a steamy bathroom, he called out from behind the shower curtain.


“Liv, I am going to try to meet with some people in America who can give me some good advice on how to move forward. I want to do everything possible to help your dreams come true.”


He didn’t see it, but tears rolled silently down my red cheeks. Thankful--as if I had just somehow escaped a bit of personal hell.




Step #3. I take small steps, no matter my circumstances, to become the dream.


I never make New Year’s resolutions. This January 1, however, I am pushing a reset button.


I am 38 years old, and I no longer want to suffer from “WTH” {What the Hell} Syndrome. I know what I was made to be, and I can no longer keep living as any one else—even if it is easier or justified.


  • I am meant to be physically strong and healthy.


No more of this: “Well, I am trying to live sugar-free, but I already ate two scoops of ice cream when I shouldn’t have. So, WTH, I’ll just finish off half of the container.”



  • I need to be rested.


No more living on the edge of burnout: "I promised myself that I would not work on Mondays or after 5 p.m. everyday. But, if I don’t do the work, who will? WTH, it’s only one night. I can get more work done.”


  • I need to be bored. Creativity comes when we are bored.


No more filling myself with mindless trash that steals the time and energy required to make my dreams a reality: “I am just so emotionally tired, I will rest a bit by checking what is on Facebook. WTH, I already wasted 30 minutes on that, why don’t I just settle into world wide web hibernation and keep jumping from site to site.”


  • Maintain the disciplines to get back my shine.


No more waiting to be discovered {as a singer or writer}: “Well, I have this website. My stuff is out there. I already am so tired. I am a mom. I work full-time. So WTH, I might as well give up. There is not time left for my dreams.”


“We are all meant to shine, as children do. It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone, and as we let our light shine, we unconsciously give others permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” - Marianne Williamson


Step #4: Work a daily plan!

  • Go to bed every night at 10:00 p.m.; wake up at 6:00 a.m. {before kids awake}

  • Use one hour every morning to center myself on God and a greater purpose through prayer/ meditation/ reading. Write for 30 minutes every single day.

  • Live the simpler life of the 1990s. Only look at social media/ internet for a few minutes two times a day. Remove apps from my phone. Use extra time to read, make music, just think, listen to the creative muse, and be the best darn mom and wife I could possibly ever be.

  • Rest. Take days off; don’t work in the evenings. I will never get these years back with my kids or my dream. I can only thrive and pour into others if I am rested and whole.

  • Don’t give up and expel “WTH” from my vocabulary. I will fail in this new routine. It’s ok. Keep my head up, eyes to the sky, and start again tomorrow. My dream is achieved one percent at a time. Every day I succeed is one percent closer. Every day I fail is a day to learn from.


”Somebody once told me the definition of hell:

'On your last day on earth, the person you became will meet the person you could have become.'"


Join this journey with me. You know who you were made to be. Make the hard choices. Get the light of your purpose and dream back. Aren't you tired of living anything less?

WTH, let’s escape this hell together!!


If you want to join me on this journey, drop me a line so we can encourage one another throughout the month of January. Write me HERE and I can add you to a private "WTH" Facebook group that we can only check two times a day ;). Don't try to shine alone.

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