The Day After a Bad Day

April 4, 2016

Do you ever have one of those days?  A day that, on the surface, is a fine day, but you can’t shake the feeling that it’s a bad day anyway?

Yesterday was one of those days.  The weather was pleasant, I accomplished some goals, everyone in the family got along.  No trauma.  No drama.  But gosh,  inside was a whirlpool of twisting, churning fears and desires.  Heartaches and longings.  Dread (of what, I’m not even sure!) and overall agitation.

I can’t sort it all out and here’s the really amazing part … I WON’T!

Oh I used to! 

At one time, a day like yesterday would have set me back at least a week while I carefully dissected it – determined to learn and grow and heal and glean every possible bit of wisdom from each triggered emotion.  I would have filled umpteen pages of my journal and piles of tissues with my pain … and honestly, I still do that sometimes.

But not today.   Here’s why:

After, oh say, 10-15 years of dissecting and digesting and diligently dramatizing, I began to notice a pattern.  My life felt a lot like the old saying,  “Same time, same station.”  I realized:

I was cycling and recycling old stories.  I found myself writing things that felt very familiar.   When I re-read old journals, I felt like I had made no progress – which made me feel worse!  I was cycling and recycling.  The names and faces were different.  The events kept changing.  But here I was AGAIN writing about loss, pain, grief, abandonment  Here I was AGAIN tagging quotes on Facebook about “letting go” and “moving on.”

I began to get bored.  Trust me, after years of depression and struggle, this was a great breakthrough!  Even though I really felt crappy and depressed, I grew tired of dwelling on it.  I began to grow a crazy kind of BORED with feeling crappy.   A deeper part of me wanted to live a better story.   Tweet This

I noticed that bad days came at suspicious times.   Coincidentally (or not!) painful days seemed to grapple for my attention most right at the point when I needed to DO SOMETHING good or big or important toward my life dreams.  I began to suspect that lurking under most of these emotions was plain old fear – that most BORING emotion of all.  As Elizabeth Gilbert says,  “Fear only ever tells you one thing:  STOP.” 

I really don’t want to stop anymore. 

Even on hard days, I want to move forward even if it’s just an inch or two.  Even if it’s just sorting a pile of mail or making a decent dinner.  Even if it’s just … and this is a BIG victory … refusing to let the “bad day” settle in for a long visit.

Here’s what I’ve learned after all these years: I have two parts of me.  My true self wants to live a strong, beautiful, creative, loving life.  And my other true self cries sometimes for no apparent reason and feels lost and overwhelmed.

“Courage – What you do when your greater self makes your lesser self submit.”  Lance Wallnau

I don’t like to label my parts as greater or lesser.  I love both parts of me for they are who I am.   But when I consider that submitting is simply “to stop trying to fight or resist something : to agree to do or accept something that you have been resisting or opposing,”  then the decision of whether to live in courage or fear becomes easier.

After all, why would I want to keep fighting or resisting a strong, beautiful, creative and loving life?

So on this day after a “bad day,”  I’m feeling better.  A little heart-sore.  A little tired.  But I am not going to lose any more time wondering why I felt badly or trying to figure out what I should have done differently.  I am going to LIVE today and see what happens when my courageous self is in charge!

Will you join me?   No matter how yesterday felt, choose to move toward your “greater self” today even if it’s just a baby step.    If you want to share your steps below in the comments, I’d love to hear from you!  If it’s too personal, feel free to write to me privately using the form on the Contact page.  

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