When you are feeling down, few things can be more frustrating than for someone to say, “I think your perspective is slanted somehow.” If you aren’t careful, you can end up becoming sort of attached to your sadness, as weird as that may sound. It becomes a possession that only you fully understand, and when people say, “I think you need to step back from this situation” or something akin to that, you can actually lash out at them. You are not as likely to hear anything helpful or constructive in what they are trying to say. What you hear are the words of people who are attacking you or people who are calling you crazy. And that feeds your sadness. It makes your possession bigger and fills your arms more.
The other interesting thing you experience when you are feeling down is that people seem to use words that really cut you to the core. They seem to know exactly what your hot buttons are, and they seem to push those buttons every day, all the time. Have you ever been through a phase like that?
When I left grad school and couldn’t seem to find a job, it seemed like everybody, in whatever they said, was looking down on me. I could almost see in their facial expressions how disappointed they were in my life’s progress. It seemed like with every word they were telling me how frustrating it was to see me wasting my life away.
Of course, nobody was really saying those things except for one person. Do you know who it was? It was me. But at the time, all I could identify was that those words and those feelings were coming out of the mouths of other people.
The really sad thing is that during that same time period, people were saying really nice things and I was seemingly unable to hear or see those words. I remember looking back on a blog post (I was on Livejournal at the time) where I had thought no one had commented. I had used that fact to feed my big sad teddy bear. Lo and behold, there were tons of nice comments there. Always had been. I just didn’t want to hear anything good. So I didn’t.
Are you going through a hard time right now? Do you feel like people are making it worse instead of better? Do you find yourself thinking all of the time, “Why can’t anyone cut me a break?”
Try to take a step back (and this is REALLY hard when you have dark sunglasses on) and see how you are describing yourself right now. Do you call yourself names that have to do with your weight? Do you feel like you’re not successful enough? Did you try something that didn’t work so now you are feeling like you are a failure? Analyze how you are talking to yourself. Analyze how you are feeling about yourself when you go into a conversation with another person. You may be surprised to find that what you think you are hearing from other people is really what your brain is saying about you. It’s really what your heart is saying about you.
It may be hard to let go of your sadness and your bad feelings, but as an interim step, allow yourself to hear good things about YOU. If someone pays you a compliment, let yourself hear it. Don’t let your own dark feelings or disbelief plug your ears.
Does that make sense?
Image Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/clover_1/3391477890/ via Creative Commons