So this week I’ve been at work. (If you don’t know about this you haven’t read my newsletter. Have a look now. Oh, and do sign up if it pleases you.) I think I got out of bed on the wrong side on Monday morning and was absolutely thoroughly miserable by Tuesday night.
I was hating being at work. I was feeling left out (I’m still learning the language), frustrated, stressed and put-upon. I was stewing over not being paid as much as I’d like and the fact that the job isn’t exactly what I applied for (are they ever?). And paranoid – seriously paranoid – convinced every conversation that was being held around me, must be about me. Most of all, I was feeling left out and lonely and sorry for myself.
My experience is that it’s no good trying to affirm your way out of this kind of mood; this just get followed up by a huge list of reasons why it’s a stupid waste of time and why don’t you just eat a whole heap more chocolate instead? You know how it goes, right?
So I sat and stewed, and sometimes managed to brighten up but not for long and came home and talked about the neighbours and noticed all the paranoia being redeployed in this new direction. I went to bed and didn’t sleep very well.
The lonliness welled up in me this morning as I sat outside and enjoyed some silence before I set off for work. And this time, I made a connection with other times I’ve felt exactly this lonely, ignored, put-upon or undermined. And I realised that each time I’ve felt this way I have felt like a victim of the world around me.
And, as with all those little connections that make a big difference, I suddenly stopped feeling bad.
Just like that.
That simple connection in my head showed me a story, a repeating pattern, a recurring event. It showed me that the feeling came from me.
In that moment I was suddenly no longer a victim of the world around me, I was the creator of the world around me.
- By feeling miserable, I pushed people away.
- By being paranoid, I kept myself at a distance.
- By overreacting to being asked to do stuff, I wasn’t making any friends, which in turn fed the paranoia and self-criticism, which fed the misery. And so on.
Yeah, great stuff Meg.
But in that moment of realisation, when I knew the world wasn’t making me feel bad – that I was making me feel bad – I knew I could also make myself stop feeling bad.
So I did.
Oh. OK, cool!
Horrible, miserable, stuck feelings are habits, and habits are breakable. Look for the repeat patterns, the clues and connections that tell you there’s a habit in place. Every time, I’ll bet you find you’re in charge after all.
Now – how would you like to feel?