Let’s be honest – life isn’t comfortable and secure all the time. If you are a living, breathing, conscious human being, you probably discovered this at some point in your life. (First day of middle school, anyone?) Sometimes, we just feel awful. Fear, worry, anger, sadness, or shame can take over our emotions, and it can get easy to beat ourselves up. Before you spiral out of control, (or fake-hyperventilate in the school gym for attention, sixth grade-Charlene,) here are some things to help you gain the perspective you so badly need:
1. Do you even need to be worried? Ask yourself, Do I know this is true? Most likely, you don’t. But, if you really need to know, just ask! Have you confirmed that your worries are true? Ask yourself, What’s the worst thing that can happen? If you come up with something, acknowledge it and ask, And then what’s the worst thing that can happen? Keep asking this question – at some point you will find that it isn’t quite “life or death” as you thought.
2. Everything is temporary. Bad moments are temporary, good moments are temporary, however you feel right now as you read this is temporary. How you feel right now is a direct result of what you are thinking. The good news is that you have complete control of your thoughts. Good thoughts will make you feel good, and bad thoughts will make you feel bad. Having trouble coming up with good thoughts? Write down five things you are grateful for. Even if it’s as simple as “I’m breathing” or “this cookie is pretty good,” if it makes you feel good, it counts. You deserve to feel good, and ultimately, only you can give this to yourself.
3. Baby pandas.
4. It is necessary to feel bad sometimes. Feeling bad is part of being ALIVE! Feeling bad can help us see what it is within ourselves that needs attention. All of us are healing from things, all the time, and feeling bad is an opportunity to pay attention to these things. Ask yourself why it hurts. Listen.
5. It is necessary to make “mistakes” and “fail.” This is how we learn and grow. How else would you really know? You must live it to really know it. If something doesn’t go the way you wanted it to, congratulations! This is how you become a better person. You’re doing it! Don’t waste any time dwelling in what you did “wrong.” Focus on what you learned and what you gained from the experience. It truly is a gift!
6. We’re in this together! You are not alone, even though it may feel like it. Every single person you know, and don’t know, experiences pain. Everybody has been hurt by something, and not everybody talks about it. Everybody – not just you – is trying to figure it all out. Even your parents, the Dalai Lama, and yes, even Beyoncé. Try talking to someone about your pain. Not only will it immediately make you feel better, but you will make a connection, because we all share pain. Even if there is shame, there is no reason to keep it all to yourself – the pain is in the secret. Free yourself. Only you can do this for yourself.
7. It doesn’t matter what other people think. Nobody is thinking about you, everyone is busy thinking about themselves, just like you. The only thing that matters is what you think about yourself. So why not think of something that feels good? If the little kid version of you was sad, would you say mean things? Is what you’re telling yourself even true? Again, nobody can do this for you except for you.
8. As humans, we put meanings to things. Everything is neutral before that, but we decide to write stories and put meanings to those things. You, and only you, have the power to re-write these stories and meanings. Change those “bad” stories into good ones. An easy way to do this is to find the gift in something, because there is a gift in everything. For example, you can easily change “My boyfriend dumped me” into “What a gift it is that I get this opportunity to practice independence and love for myself, something that I definitely need at this point in my life,” or even “What a gift that my cereal will last longer now and I can wear my ugly, comfortable underwear.”
9. Sea otters hugging.
10. The only thing you have control of is the moment. Right now. Right now! Let go of the past so you can grow. Stop dwelling in problems, and focus on solutions. We do not know what is going to happen in the future, not even in five minutes. Keep it simple and focus on NOW. You will find that you are allowed to let go of any worry, because it rarely has anything to do with RIGHT NOW. Relax in RIGHT NOW. Feel good in RIGHT NOW! You have complete control of RIGHT NOW! Hooray!!!