Most of my days are really great. I love my life and adore my work, I have wonderful friends and family, as well as clients who have become my friends, too. I have no real reason to complain… except sometimes life is just not that clean. Sometimes even with all that is so good in my life…it gets hard.
Quite simply, I have had a crappy week or so. I’ve tried to find a better way to say that, but really, that’s where I’m at today. At the risk of sounding whiny, my recent days have looked like this: I jammed my toe two weeks ago while preparing dinner and haven’t been able to wear most of my shoes yet. My foot still hurts on and off, sometimes a lot. I couldn’t release tension in my normal way because I could not exercise at all for more than 10 days. We lost power during a recent storm (along with thousands of others) for close to 2 days and I live in an all-electric house with a battery backup that decided not to work this week. My front gate literally blew off its hinges and had to be welded back (twice in 24 hours) so I could get in and out of my house. And of course, the state of our world is always on my mind.
So I recognize that these are mostly minor problems, and almost embarrassing for me to complain about. But when I sat down to collect my thoughts to write to you, I simply couldn’t get beyond these things that were bringing me down. I kept thinking that these things didn’t matter and shouldn’t matter, and I kept trying to find a productive and upbeat message to share with you. But I just couldn’t do it.
Because here’s the thing. These things do matter. And they should. And I tried to think about what I would say to one of my family members or friends or clients if they came to me feeling like I have been feeling. Of course I would listen, and I certainly would empathize and could easily validate their feelings. Would I shake my head at them and tell them that their feelings were trivial and that regardless of how much their finger hurt, or how annoyed they were that their car broke down, that there were people in far worse situations and they should just stop feeling negative? Even just thinking that sounds absurd to me. We might grab a smoothie and talk things through, and hopefully by the end of our conversation they might feel a little better, or at least a little better supported. But first and foremost, I would just be there for them, and I would validate their angst, no matter how small or how big it might seem.
It dawned on me that I was not offering myself the same respect I would have offered anyone else who felt like I was feeling this week. I started to realize that it wasn’t my job to dismiss my own bad day, any more than it would be my place to dismiss yours. Ironically, I was expending energy trying to push down the negative feelings I was experiencing, instead of allowing myself to feel them and work my way through them. I faulted myself for feeling badly about things that were objectively annoying or upsetting. And that just made me feel worse. So I decided to try and take some of my own advice.
I regularly counsel people to take stock of where they are and envision where they want to be. I often link it back to food (after all, I am a health coach and raw food educator), but I realize that these kinds of life lessons transcend limits. I used to be a pretty grumpy person. If I am being honest with myself, the things that used to bother me took up far more of my days than the things that brought me joy. It took many years, and a great deal of hard work, for me to recognize that about myself and decide that I wanted to change. It took time, energy and commitment to get myself to my new normal. I am now typically a very positive person, well-balanced and full of energy. But it didn’t come easy.
The thing that I realized most this week was that I didn’t become a more positive person by simply dismissing the things that made me feel negative. I became a more positive person by taking stock of what those things were and learning how to deal with them in a better way. Awareness, acceptance, and validation are all parts of the process of building a stronger you. And just as these components are important when you change your diet, they are equally important when you nurture your emotional side as well.
It’s so important to be able to feel how you feel and be honest about it, while keeping your perspective on the big picture. It’s OK to have one or more days where you feel grumpy, and it’s even healthy to own that negative feeling. Denying it doesn’t make it go away. In fact, acknowledgement often feels like the biggest relief.
So now, I want to say thank you to YOU…for listening to me … for allowing me the space to be human, and for giving me the opportunity to acknowledge that not every day is full of rainbows and unicorns. I draw so much of my own strength from helping others, this is one of those times that I have drawn my strength from accepting something from all of you. I appreciate you for being there to share the awesome and the not-so-awesome days, without judgment and with love.
And now that I have allowed myself to share some of my not-so-great feelings with all of you, I genuinely feel better. ?. I hope that some of you may be able to join me today in letting go of some negative energy that may be holding you back, too. And I’m sure looking forward to expending some positivity in my blog post next month!