It was just one of those days where everything that could go wrong, did…
I was feeling generally shitty – hormones.
I had spent the past few nights immersed in House Of Cards (addicted), which meant after 6pm I was pretty much shutting down from work/study for the night to cook a healthy meal and binge watch my fave show. With some rainy weather, long days, and my cute BF offering snuggles, it hasn’t been a hard sell.
A week of this, and come this morning I was scolding myself…
I shouldn’t have watched so much TV. I shouldn’t have had that much dark chocolate. I should have gone to yoga. I should have made it to my early morning Uni class. I should walk to the train station. I shouldn’t be spending so much time on this task. I should have made it to the post office this morning. I shouldn’t have forgotten my Opal card.
By the time I was at the train station (for my later class), I was tearing up (especially as I watched the train leave without me, making me 10 minutes late to Uni… I should have left earlier).
It didn’t end there. I got caught in the rain coming home, just as I decided to walk. Literally, singlet weather turned to poncho and gum-boot weather in a matter of seconds. When I got home I received a final notice from the post office about a delivery that I never received the first or second notice for. When I got to the post office my delivery was gone, sent back to the US. And then, when I finally sat down at my desk to study, my Kombucha spilled over all my papers and laptop, onto my new rug (oh yeh, we had just had the house cleaned).
What. The. Actual…
Did I feel sorry for myself? You betcha. Did I cry/sigh/scream, u-huh. Did I snap at people who didn’t deserve it, definitely (alllllll day). The truth is, I felt rotten.
And so at 5pm I began to reflect… what the hell was going on?!!
My negative mood had clearly attracted more negativity.
So I decided to explore what had put me in that mood in the first place…
Not being/doing/feeling like enough. Because I had watched TV, because I hadn’t eaten perfectly, because I had spent too much time doing X and not enough time doing Y, because I forgot something etc. etc. the list goes on.
And so I thought to myself, what would I tell my best friend? I mean, we always give such great advice, and yet our first instinct is to berate ourselves, without hesitation.
I would tell her that yes, her day sucked, and that it was ok. That she didn’t deserve that. That if she looked hard enough there was probably something (even just one tiny thing) that was positive about her day. That she does work hard, damn hard. That she isn’t a failure, or lazy, or unworthy. That we all deserve a break. That she is doing nothing wrong for eating chocolate one night, or watching a whole season of house of cards in one week! Who cares! We are human. It will all get done.
So I did… I looked for the light in my day… I guess my lecturer didn’t seem to mind me slipping into class a little late. I suppose I got some exercise in on the walk home – I actually found the rain therapeutic. My laptop didn’t seem to be damaged, and I managed to clean it all up. And even though one of my deliveries wasn’t delivered, another one arrived and I got a free pair of leggings from a yoga planking competition I had won a week ago.
Focusing on the positive and feeling gratitude for the good is a sure fire way to lighten the mood and ease yourself out of a funk. But more importantly, I believe self-awareness is key. We need to actually feel the negative emotions and try to uncover the root of them. So I continued to think about why I was in this mood and why I find it so difficult to believe that I might be doing the best I can.
Why can we not give ourselves that same advice we would to a friend, and have it actually mean something or make a difference?
I suppose that it is because on some level, we don’t believe it to be true. Maybe it is because we know all of our own dirty little secrets… we know how much time we spend on the “idle” things – reading articles, chatting to a friend, social media scrolling, online shopping, snoozing, day-dreaming – and so we don’t feel like we work hard enough. We allow guilt to take a hold of us and have us believe we could do better, we should be better.
But the truth is, we are all doing the best we can. And the harsh self-critics that we are, we probably could always find reasons why we should be doing better! But when you let the negative overshadow the positive, when you let the guilt suffocate the pride, and when you let the 5 things you didn’t get done, speak louder than the 7 things you did manage, you do yourself a major disservice and you “build up” the story in your head that you are indeed not good enough, when that is just not true.
There will always be more productive days than others. There will always be some things you just can’t control. You do deserve a break once in a while (in fact, every day you SHOULD take a break). Everyone deals with the everyday. No one is perfect. Stop comparing your “behind-the-scenes” to someone else’s “highlight reel”. Because even just the word “better” is a comparison, and comparison is the thief of joy (- Theodore Roosevelt). If nothing else, in these moments, give yourself the reassurance you would give a friend AND actually listen to it.
By 7pm I had feverishly written this post and had a good laugh about it all with my partner who shared his own day. There were parts of his day that if it were me, I would have scolded myself for, but because it was him I was kind. This is the kindness we need to offer ourselves. It is all a matter of perspective.
And then… I walked into the bathroom (in my socks) only to find water EVERYWHERE… I’m talking soggy TP, broken hair-dryer, ruined toiletries. A pipe had burst under the sink. Remember, I’m in my socks (eww)…
And I just had to laugh!
Your bad day is just one laugh away from being a little bit better… 🙂