By Maddie Rajah
Note: None of these are mind-blowingly inventive ways to go about it; these are simply things that work for me.
If you’re in the sulking period, that’s fine, we all need those from time to time. We are all allowed to show weaknesses. Sometimes this is a necessary component to recovery, but don’t let it become a lifestyle. A good friend of mine had a few things come crashing down on her and it was having an impact. She forced herself not to feel, not look that way and suppress, supress, suppress – until one day she had a weeping session. She found that it helped. Take it as a positive reinforcement of some sort, but crying helped her feel better. From then onwards, she took the time to just break down and cry every single day before going out and getting on with her life. That’s a problem. It should not become part of your daily routine.
1. A good old fashioned list
If it is a long-term thing, for example your financial situation/career life/love life/ social life; one or more of these fundamentals are not working out for you, I suggest the following: get yourself a pen and paper and write down (and number) the things that you do have, what you are fortunate enough to have.
No the list does not have magical powers, but it has the power to shift your view point. Realize that, if you are in a crappy situation because of the wrong decisions you have made, it is never too late to turn things around. More times than not, even if you cannot fix past mistakes, you can overcome them by learning from them.
2. Failure: a lesson in disguise
Realize that it is a luxury to be able to fail. Whether you are open-minded enough to admit it, the world would be an extremely boring place if you have never had the freedom to fail. It turns out the universe has a lot to teach you. If you keep your eyes peeled, you find that you learn things, big or small, every day. You learn something when you let your mind drift and think. You learn something about yourself, something you might have not realized you believed and are now conscious of it. Our brains are never maxed out. ‘Mistakes define us. We all make them’.
3. Let’s be real, let’s be accountable
If your sorrows are self-inflicted, recognize it. You can deny it in front of the whole world but those who know you well won’t be fooled by bravado. The significance lies in the ability to be honest with yourself.
‘Yes I messed up here’.
‘I was selfish’
‘I didn’t do enough research’
‘I was lazy’
‘I was weak’
Whatever the nature of your worries, it’s not a bad thing to be (realistically) hard on yourself if you use it in the right way. LEARN and move on and onto the next challenge. Being hard on yourself doesn’t mean you beat yourself up about it. Just tell yourself that now you have something to prove to yourself. That you will not let mistakes own you. Those that have succeeded in life aren’t strange entities of perfection that never flopped (though it might seem like it at times). The difference is in attitude. Rather than getting neatly knocked to the ground and staying there, they got up.
4. Musical inspiration
Now this one is for those who have an affinity to music, any genre. Get those songs out! Yes, even the cheesy ones that normally you’d cringe to if you listened to them on a normal day. Get your headphones out and listen to ‘You are Beautiful’ by Aguilera. Listen to ‘Conqueror’- by the Empire Cast. It is okay, turn it up and wail those lyrics. ‘Music enables you the way mere words cannot’.
You go out, do your thing and don’t need to ask a few hundred people for their advice before making a personal decision. This in turn means you rarely feel the need to confide in others. Well get out of that shell and try it out. Grab some coffee (or vodka) along with someone you trust unconditionally and dish. Dish your worries – sometimes all you need is the knowledge that someone out there knows of your struggles and is on your side rooting for you. Someone to text you once in a while and say ‘hey I know you were having a rough time, how’s things these days’? There is a good possibility that you will take value from that.
6. DON’T compare yourself to others
This is a cliché and we all know we shouldn’t, yet we all do it anyway. We have a deeply ingrained masochistic part that makes us compare ourselves to people who seem to have it all figured out. Facebook is a great enabler: photos of expensive holidays, dream jobs, super model partner…
All too quickly your metaphorical finger whirls and points to yourself and without further ado you set yourself on a path so self-judgement. Why? Why can’t we be happy for someone else’s success if we are down in the gutter? That’s because misery loves company. And when that depressing company is sparse, you feel isolated.
Well guess what? Photos, status updates and whatever else you see on social media are a 1st person narrative of what a person is doing for the 10 seconds it took to write or upload it. You have access to a few happy seconds to this person’s life, but I’ll bet you anything, they have their baggage, worries and failures. We all have our ups and downs.
From here on out, I wish you less luck and more self-discovery. If you look hard enough you will find that the human spirit can overcome most things.