“Do you ever just FEEL like you had a bad day, even though you didn’t?,” a friend messaged me the other day. It was the best thing I heard all week. I could not stop laughing at the total and utter truth of this, and the beautiful way in which she captured exactly what I had been recently feeling.
My life is really nice. I have a great job, a beautiful apartment, amazing friends, I live near the beach...and the list could go on. Yet I felt myself in this total huff - in this kind of tantrum place - where no good vibes could reach me. I’m usually Ms. Good Vibes, so to be in this unreachable place for me was so frustrating.
Feeling Through Frustration
The more frustrated I felt about my frustration, the worse it got. I did all the normal things I do to get myself out of a funk - exercise, meditation, talking with friends, watching funny videos on YouTube...nothing worked. I was trying so hard to get out of it, that I couldn’t actually get through it.
It wasn’t until I allowed myself to feel my bad mood that it lifted. It wasn’t until my friend messaged me about her bad mood, that I was able to feel supported and okay with where I was - and I realized I did not have to feel happy-go-lucky all the time.
We all have ideas of who we are and how we act in the world. Sometimes those thoughts match up with reality, but it’s during the times that they don’t that we start to get more frustrated, more angry, more resistant, wanting to change situations that we can't control. Which, in my experience, is always counter-intuitive, since resistance to something just strengthens it.
I have become sensitive and aware enough that I know when my life is flowing and when I feel good, when things are easy, when I’m teasing and laughing, when I feel inspired and in the zone. And I realize when the opposite is true: I’m coming from a small place, holding grudges, feeling entitled, having not nice thoughts about myself, putting pressure on myself, pushing myself to achieve more, be more.
Getting To My Best Self
Although there are many many ways in which we can soothe ourselves when the going gets rough, the only, only way, I have found to help in the moment and to keep it at bay in the future is to change my thoughts.
To be more compassionate to myself, when I’m coming from a place of anger or fear. To appreciate everything I have (and I have so much), instead of looking at the things I am lacking. To think nice things about my body, my salary, my relationship status, and not to compare them to others.
I’m not in a race against anybody but the best version of myself. I’m not competing against anyone else’s weight, career accomplishments, marriage or babies. I’m matching myself up to the highest version of myself, and when I’m not there, I’m thinking of what that highest version would tell my present self.
It’s not an easy road, and there is a discipline and practice involved in changing heavily ingrained personal and societal thought patterns.
But the truth of it is, science has proven you’re never too old to change your neural pathways, to think new thoughts and get them to stick. This is the best self-care practice I can think of.
May we all have the awareness and presence to know when we are being too hard on ourselves and the strength to find it in ourselves to slow down, breathe, and give ourselves more of what we need.
Written with love by: Ariella, olah chadasha, seeker of knowledge and lover of life. I made Aliyah (moved to Israel) from Miami in 2015 and am currently living the life in Tel Aviv.