I love the thoughtful rant, though I must say, I feel completely inadequate in terms of my ability to articulate, well - anything, after listening to this bloke do justice to this serious topic.
— Norman Vincent Peale
— Shirley Temple
— W. J. Cameron
— Janice Maeditere
— Charles Dickens
— Deborah Whipp
— Mary Ellen Chase
Yesterday I unloaded on you… I’d like to think it was done nicely, and with good intention, but the truth is… I just needed to vent (wait, that’s an excuse, isn’t it?). None of you have ever been unkind to me, and I realized it was me who needed to get my head out of my arse - not any of you.
So today, (deep breath), I am reconsidering my reactions to people who are not polite or appreciative, and I’m looking at why something so small and insignificant could shake me up so badly.
I do believe I own my reactions. Meaning, when something happens, I can respond in any number of ways, but regardless of which reaction I choose, it’s my creation and my responsibility.
I can unleash my knee-jerk reaction without pause, I can take a moment to consider why my initial response is what it is before I open my mouth, and I could take a moment to consider that if I do experience something that causes me to feel poorly it could be that it’s reminded me of something I don’t like about myself (ewe…that’s an ugly thought).
Let’s take a moment to contemplate that last one…. Yep. That one isn’t fun, but…probably worth considering if you keep bumping up against someone that rubs you the wrong way.
Of course the other person could simply be having a bad day, or be preoccupied, but they’re doing the best they can with where they are, just like me and everyone else around us.
Given all that, which I know logically but clearly was having trouble embracing, I went on search of some quick fixes for my mental state and found a post by Lisa Earle titled ‘5 Ways to get Over Yourself in 5 Minutes,’ on Huffington Post.
In the article, Lisa points out things you can do to shift your mindset, or to ‘press reset in your brain’ as she says. I can vouch for each of them as I’ve tried them and they work! Something as easy as listening to the music you enjoyed in High School, really can shift your mood - and I know I’ve mentioned the ‘get sweaty’ idea before.
Click above to read the full list; I don’t want to steal credit by reposting them all but you’ll like the short read, I promise!
Here’s a link to my other post with other ideas on feeling better mentally The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly : Emotional Surfing, which might help you as well.
What are you favoriate ways to collect yourself? I’d love to hear them! I need all the help I can get, and I don’t think I’m alone out there in any of this… ;)
By the way, I think one of the things I can do in my specific situation (see previous post), is to clearly set out ground rules; sit down with my host, and explain what I’d like to do and why, and set boundaries so I feel okay if there’s something he asks me to do that I just don’t want to do…. (get your mind out of the gutter! I was talking about ironing;).
Couch surfing is, by far, a much nicer experience than many people have, when they’ve lost their home or their way in life. So, I’m not complaining per se, but… well, something interesting happened along the way, and I don’t know what to do about it.
I lost my sense of freedom. I lost my independence. And worst? I don’t feel appreciated.
How can this be? I have no bills, no job, and all the time in the world to do whatever I want, right? No. Surprisingly not.
I have accepted a gracious offer of a friend, to stay with him until I can get back on my feet. To offset the concerns I had, that I not take ‘advantage’ of him (or anyone who was so kind to me) — I took it upon myself to pay my way by cleaning, cooking, and taking care of errands whenever his car is available (I have no car of my own).
This seemed a fair trade; I’m paying for my accommodations with a little elbow grease. What I didn’t realize, is that it’s being taken for granted; I’ve become the ‘house wife,’ and I don’t like it one damned bit. I don’t mind the work, and clearly I initiated it, so why do I feel this way? I believe, it’s because of an under used phrase: “Thank you.”
The words “thank you,” take no more than seconds to utter, and yet, it seems many people have banished this custom of acknowledging a kindness or action. It’s not just my host, it’s rampant. If I hold the door for someone, help a stranger gather up papers that the wind blew out of their hands, or buy something at a local store — rarely, do I hear those two words.
Worse, I find (admittedly when I’m feeling a bit low) myself muttering “you’re welcome” under my breath, as if they might notice and immediately correct their manners. Passive agressive I hear you say? Yes. Yes, I have become that person.
When I was a child, my Mum drilled into me the rules of common courtesy. ”Say thank you to the nice woman,” she’d prompt when I forgot. ”What do we say when we bump into someone?” Excuse me (another phrase that’s fallen off the face of the earth). She was very thorough, and with good reason: these simple words let others know we care, we notice, we appreciate - you and what you’ve done.
It costs nothing. It takes seconds. It can make someone’s day!
So, next time you’re in the company of others, try to notice what’s going on around you, and take a moment to be kind. Yes, I know you’re thinking about the meeting after lunch, or the huge oil bill that just came in the mail, or why your husband is ignoring you… but we’re all in this boat together, so pull your head out of your arse, and be present - and gracious.
I apologize if this offended anyone.
Please, excuse my frank rant.
Thank you for your time, and for humoring me by reading this post.
— Buddha (Hindu Prince Gautama Siddharta, the founder of Buddhism, 563-483 B.C.)
When shit happens, you’re supposed to be the duck letting water roll off your back. It’s done. There’s nothing you can do, so why dwell? Oh sure, you could say there’s a lesson to be learned, so it’s worth examining — in which case you should be sure to take a quick review (as honestly as you can, keeping in mind there are 3 versions of the truth — his, hers and what really happened), mull the lesson over for a few minutes, and then file it away in the circular file.
Unfortunately, most of us pick that bit of trash out of the can, and look at it over, and over, and over again. What happened? Why did I get let go? Did I do something wrong? Aren’t I (fill in the blank) enough? And eventually, sadly, you end up feeling like someone just pissed in your cheerios, and you didn’t deserve it.
If you’ve experienced some major shift, like me, then you likely embraced the darkness for a while. If you had Netflix, you’ve probably watched every TV show and movie you could find, and sat on the couch until it took on the permanent indentation of your bottom, and you’ve probably put on a few pounds (sadly, I’m that person who can look at food and gain weight…and I actually ate it just to add insult to injury).
While it’s fine to sit back and lick your wounds, or review the misdeed in your mind, at some point it’s time to move on. Here are the few things that have helped me, that may help you as well:
- Get moving. In the morning, every morning, do something physical. Take the dog for a brisk walk, take out your agressions on cleaning something that really needs it, hit the gym, or put on some music and dance. Exercise releases endorphins, which make you feel better, and it can help you work off some frustration while working off some of those potato chips.
- Turn off the TV. No amount of Lifetime movies (ladies you know what I’m talking about), political debate, advertisements for products you don’t need, or dire coverage of some violent event — is going to lift you out of the doldrums. Take back your time and use it for something good.
- Stay in touch. Reach out to friends, or people you’ve lost touch with, and keep those relationships alive. It’ll make you feel good to get calls or emails from someone other than a bill collector, and you never know what good could come from it. It might even keep you healthier.
- Fill your mind with something good. There are inspiring books, quotes, and people - everywhere. If Tony Robbins isn’t your bag, try Wayne Dyer or someone (anyone) else who resonates with you. You can watch free videos on line, pick up a book at the library, and tons of audiobooks you can download to get you motivated. The best bit about the audiobooks? A lot of libraries have them, and you can listen while driving, cleaning, or on the treadmill. It’ll be our little secret.
- Try something new. If you’ve always wanted to know how to use garageband and you’ve got a local Apple store, sign up for a free class, or check out YouTube. If you want to do anything from type faster, to polish up your Spanish - check out MentorMob.com, a really cool website that’s free to use. Why not use your down time to grow your skill set and challenge yourself.
- Volunteer or be nicer. I’m not trying to sound all holier than thou, here… But if you have time, and a passion for something, consider donating some time. Walk a dog for the local rescue, help in a soup kitchen, mentor a startup/entrepreneur, donate your skills to a charity, or organize a neighborhood cleanup. You’ll feel better, you’ll help someone else, and… that effort might help you get your next job (don’t forget to include relevant activities on your resume or CV). And I wasn’t joking, if you’re not into volunteering, just hold the door open for someone, compliment them on a tie, say ‘thank you…’, these little acts of kindness can make someone’s day, and that smile you get back, can lift your spirits.
- Play. I don’t care if you play with the dog, throw a ball with the neighbors kids, if you use your friends xbox, or swing on a tire swing… Do it. Spend a few minutes and embrace your inner silliness. It’s okay to have fun, and it’s okay to laugh when things look dire, in fact - it might just put you in a better mindset.
That’s my short list; what’s yours? Send me a note.. because I could use a few more tricks up my sleeve.