I had one of those days; I felt inadequate, not good enough, and not ready for the blocks I have been patiently lining up in front of me to create my personal path and journey; not ready to tackle the blocks, walk on them, over them or even look at them. I didn’t feel right in my guts. It’s like the feeling came in from outer space. I have a couple of go to girlfriends I turn to when I am feeling like this. One tells me how truly “worth it” I am. One listens to me and tells me that my feelings are normal. One basically tells me to get my head out of the clouds and put one foot in front of the other; tomorrow will be better. I need all three of these pieces of heartfelt advice to pick my shit up off the floor and keep going. However, over the years, it has also become clear that I need to be able to remember a few things on my own when I start to feel like this.
1. I am probably comparing myself to someone else. But…
I am not like anyone else. My experience and how I perceive it is my reality and completely unique and different in every way. The feeling of being understood that empathy provides has its place, it does. It is how we relate to and support one another. But no matter how similar the struggle, it is still my own. My path isn’t supposed to look like someone else’s. And hell, I don’t want it to. If someone seems “ahead” of me one day, they are probably thinking the same thing about me the next. Let’s make a vow to stop this thinking. Where you are, where I am, is exactly where we are supposed to be.
2. People handle bad days differently.
My bad days call for nights in my man’s arms and likely ice cream or pie-most of the time. Sometimes it is binge watching some shitty show alone or reading brain candy literature. Everyone handles bad days how they feel equipped to do so, on that given day. Sometimes people want to be touched by no one and don’t want to explain why they have been absent, melancholy or downright tough to be around. So what if they don’t handle their personal shit storm with grace? You still can. Your bad day does not impact my bad day and you sure as hell will not turn my day upside down.
3. On that note, I am not responsible for your bad day either.
I cannot take it personally when someone has a bad day. This has always been a tough one for me. I feel a lot of what my friends feel. My heart hurts when theirs hurt. I have had to learn to draw the line. I am still learning to draw the line, actually. A bad day is different than a bad time. Showing support is, of course, important. It is what friends do for one another. But space is important too. Sometimes people need to be left alone and as tough as that may be for me to do, I know that I have to respect the boundaries people put up. It’s not my fault you are feeling down and out. I can be there for you. If you want me to, that is.
4. I am likely neglecting something I need.
I know my body is sensitive to changes and transitions. For better or for worse, it is important for me to remember this. If I do not get enough sleep, get a yoga practice in or even some other form of exercise, eat properly, etc. (you get it), I feel it in different ways. When I am lacking in one of these areas, I am not the best version of myself. When I am lacking in one of these areas (or even more than one for that matter), I start to feel those “less than” feelings. Being in tune with our guts and our heads is so vital to our being. Understanding and accepting the reasons we hurt is one of the many ways we grow and how we become better humans in the process.
5. I am not practicing gratitude enough.
This is a huge one, so I saved it for last. I am so damn lucky. That’s it, plain and simple. When my grandmother used to say, “it could be worse, there are people starving somewhere,” she wasn’t dismissing my emotional angst. She was saying stay in the moment and practice gratitude. I will never be homeless for I have too many loved ones around, I will never be starving (see prior explanation), I am educated and can at least pay off monthly interest on my student loans. I have my health, I live in America (I don’t want to argue this with anyone) and I will always be able to find work because I have my education. I have trades and a pair black pants and a white button up with bar tending and serving experience. The list goes on…and on.
These are very broad statements. They don’t even go into fine detail about my access to healthcare, my cat, my boyfriend who supports me, my grandma who is my best friend, the art museum membership I share with my dad and again, the list continues. So, I must carry on and remind myself of all these things on those bad days. I must remind myself that I am lucky and that I am loved.
So, my dear friends who return to my articles and continue to read, I urge you to look inside yourself instead of feeling shitty about yourself on your “off” days. Figure out where your feelings come from and how they are manifesting to make you feel defeated. Begin to acknowledge that all your feelings are real (they are always real), accept them and work with them. Mold your life into what you want it to be. The best we can do is work with what we have and create a life and path we are elated to be traveling down.