A Bad Case of the Mondays
I woke up on the wrong side of the bed the other day. It was just one of those days. The kind of day when your entire body feels heavy and lethargic, almost as though someone sucked all the energy out of you with a Dyson turbo. Every movement felt slow and labored, like I was pulling my limbs through an endless chest deep river of water. I forced myself out of the house at 7:15 am with a double espresso and made my heavy legs carry me all the way to boot camp. Of course it was the day coach the boot camp coach decided on a power burpee session. 10 burpees a minute. Minute after minute after minute. Four minutes in my body was screaming and I wanted to burst into tears. No amount of “mental reframing” worked. It was just one of those days when you have to suck it up.
When the torture had finally ended and I arrived back home, I warned my husband to stay a good 15 feet away from me at all times, because I was having “one of those days.”
At this point you might be wondering what the heck had crawled up my ass and died. But nothing bad had happened. Nothing had changed from the day before. Nothing was technically wrong. Except for the fact that I felt like shit and my mood was beyond foul.
Now, ordinarily when something like this happens, as a life coach my first thought is to resolve it. What affirmation can I say that will make me feel better? What gratitudes can I journal that will bring about a sense of open heartedness? Perhaps I need to dust off Pema Chodron’s Practicing Peace in Times of War? What 7 steps to happiness blog can I find on facebook? What book can I read?
I looked down at my kindle and eyed my newest purchase, a book on positive psychology by the highly notable Tal Ben – Shahar, “Choose the Life You Want: The Mindful Way to Happiness.” I stared at it on my kindle and took it all in. The bold colors. The lofty promises on the cover which spoke of endless happiness and serenity. Perhaps the secret to my unhappiness lay somewhere in this treasure trove of self-help solutions?
But the book stayed closed.
Let it Be
It was at that point I had a sudden flash of inspiration, and did something quite different than my usual life coach reporitee: I let it be.
Let it be, you may ask? “Okay Shelley, I know it’s a great song, and was one of the most popular Beatles hits ever, even despite the fact John Lennon hated it. But really, let it be?”
Yes, let it be.
It was in that moment I decided to let myself feel the frustration, the sadness, the melancholy, the hopelessness, the lethargy.
I didn’t try to analyze it. I didn’t try to understand it. I didn’t try to reframe it. I didn’t try to justify it.
I let it be.
Now here’s the interesting thing about doing that.
I felt better. Almost instantly.
Now that doesn’t mean I wasn’t still sad, lethargic, melancholy or whatever other descriptive adjective you’d like to use.
I still felt all those things. But I felt better too. I felt better because I didn’t feel bad about feeling bad.
I stopped resisting.
I’ve recently noticed we tend to go through life constantly searching for things to fix. If something’s broken in our house, we call a repairman. If that good ole trick knee is playing up again, it’s off to the physical therapist we go. There’s a problem, and there’s a solution. And while that may hold true for a broken lightbulb or a tricky joint, I think it’s a little bit different when it comes to our moods.
We view difficult emotions like anger, resentment, frustration or sadness as bad or negative. And then we work ourselves up into a tizzy desperately trying to fix it, so it will go away.
But I’m sure you’ve heard that age old cliché, “What you resist, persists.”
(It’s a cliché for a reason people.)
What’s a situation that’s currently causing you to wake up on the wrong side of the bed? How can you practice letting it be?