I just had a very profound moment after coming out of one of my depressive states. It happens a few times a year that I am swallowed up by my own expectations for my life and I can’t see my way out of the disappointment of not meeting my goals. During this time I am so immersed in my own sadness over not achieving whatever it is that I am demanding that I achieve that I become almost debilitated. I think of suicide. I give up on my goals. I shift my focus to what I am missing instead of what I have. It’s the pits-literally.
But I always come out of it armed with a new technique to help me manage my sorrow over not meeting my own demands. This time, I realized that the things I think are so bad, are really made up in my own mind.
What am I so disappointed in myself for?
Well here is a list:
- I don’t know how I am going to pay my rent next month.
- I don’t have stable income.
- I want my sons to visit me over the summer and I don’t have their tickets yet.
- I have been working extra hard on my fitness goals and I feel like it is not working. I can feel the weight coming back even though my clothes don’t fit any differently.
- The interview I requested has been ignored.
- I am horny and have no one to have sex with.
- I am working so hard trying to make a success of my projects yet I can’t seem to budge them and get them the attention and appreciation they deserve.
I could go on but let’s keep it short.
Of all of those things that I listed above- how many of them actually impact me RIGHT NOW?
At this very moment, are any of those things threatening my health and well-being? Of course not. The issue is, I am stressing myself out over how I imagine my life to be.
Let’s take a few items from this list and analyze them.
The interview I requested has been ignored.
Ok. Isn’t there someone else you can try to interview?
I’m horny and I have no one to have sex with.
Ok. Can’t you have just a good time by yourself?
I don’t know how I am going to pay my rent next month.
Is next month here yet? Are your bills paid right now? Yes. Why are you worrying about tomorrow’s worries, TODAY?
The truth is, my life is really as good or as BAD as I think it is. It is the thinking that determines the quality of life and love. Who is in charge of my thinking? Whoa- it’s ME!
I know I will never be all- HAPPY HAPPY JOY JOY but I can decide that I am responsible for my mood today because I can choose which thoughts I choose to think and the degree to which to focus on them.
If I want to spend a night of sorrow I can focus on what I believe I am lacking in my life. If I want to spend a night laughing I can focus on the times when I was surrounded by friends and loved ones.
Things are bad. Things can be very bad. But things can only be as bad as you THINK they are because you are the one deciding how much value each situation has. You are the author and the captain. You decide how devastating a certain thing is or if it is irrelevant.
You can decide that the person who has ignored you is not worth your time or you can decide if their opinion means everything in the world.
You can decide that the job you didn’t get was the last job on earth you will be happy at or you can decide that you will have many more chances to be happy at other places.
It’s always as bad as you think it is. It is ONLY as bad as you THINK it is.
Now tell me how awful your life is? Wow. Why would you choose that for yourself?
Oh yes you did.