There are mornings when, no matter how positive and upbeat I try to be, I’d rather get back into bed and pull the covers over my head than face the day. Lately, it seems that mood is happening more often and I don’t like it. I don’t even know exactly what’s causing this pervasive, cloudy feeling. I blame the colder weather, the pressures of Christmas shopping (isn’t this supposed to be fun?), the reality that I’m not getting any younger, and the sense that my life is a bit stagnant.
But, regardless of what’s causing it, I’ve come up with a new method to chase away those dark feelings. I’m sharing it because it might help you if you’re also feeling that cloak of heaviness.
Think back to the worst thing that’s ever happened to you. I realize this can be painful. We generally want to push those memories down and forget they ever happened but here’s what I’ve discovered about recalling them and feeling them again. Even though it was terrible and heart-wrenching and seemed overwhelming, it helps to realize that we survived.
We might never have fully recovered and have been forever changed by that worst thing but we also come to the realization – in this moment when we’re feeling sad or depressed – that, unless what we’re facing right now is as bad as the very worst thing we’ve faced, we’ll be ok.
Life is not a straight line of “all good” or “all bad”. We don’t know, every morning when we awaken, what’s ahead for us. It could be another day with the usual work, kids, meals, and cleaning. Maybe it’s a doctor’s appointment you’ve been dreading or a final exam or a deadline you’ve been putting off. But, whatever it is, while it may not be exciting or fulfilling or fun it’s not the worst thing.
I’ve come to understand that even though the majority of my days can seem uninspiring, sometimes the simplest things will bring moments when I’m extremely grateful to be here. That first cup of coffee. Watching the sun sneak up to wash the sky with a pastel brush. The calming twinkle of the Christmas tree lights in the silence of the morning. Standing outside under the energy of a full moon. Listening to our grandchildren laughing. The anticipation of “what could be” today.
When I compare what I’m feeling on these days to the worst thing that’s happened to me, my attitude suddenly shifts and these moments of seemingly insignificant pockets of time sustain me. It’s knowing that I’ve had worse times and today is nowhere as bad as those were.
It’s realizing that while I can’t necessarily control the external things that might happen – good or bad – I can control how I react to them. It’s acknowledging that as long as I’m alive and present, right now, there’s nothing more precious than these days I’ve been gifted with.
I wish we could all get through life without having bad things happen. I wish every day could have meaning and fulfillment and success but that’s not how it works. So, let it be enough to appreciate the many moments of wonder and simplicity we are given and be thankful for those.
“I believe the nicest and sweetest days are not those on which anything very splendid or wonderful or exciting happens but just those that bring simple little pleasures, following one another softly, like pearls slipping off a string.”
― L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Avonlea