self improvement

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THE UPSIDE OF BLUE


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I really do believe that I AM an optimist at heart. However, sometimes it gets really hard (like really hard) for me to remember that. Especially lately. And I know I’m not the only one.

You know that feeling you get when you pull yourself out of the dumps? It’s a pretty good feeling right!  Do you also remember giving yourself a celebratory pep talk that went something like, ” I will never let myself come to a time like this again!” Fast forward a few years and here you are again in a similar circumstance and a similar mindset. Now your back to the bottom of Sisyphus’ hill.

Well my friend I’m here to tell you it is A-Okay! I mean I know it doesn’t feel like that, but that’s kind of  the point. Let me explain.

After years of scolding myself for letting myself get down, I recently realized something.  Contrary to popular advice of pushing through, sucking it up, and essentially ignoring my feelings because they were just a form of weakness that I needed to push through like a cross fit work out: I have arrived at the conclusion that it is OKAY to FEEL sad. In fact it’s more than okay, it’s actually probably helpful and maybe even necessary. I know, I know.  You are probably thinking “what gives lady? How is being sad helpful? Clearly you must be abusing Valium or have never really experienced a crap life circumstance.” While neither of those are true… I understand the knee jerk, eye roll response. I had the same reaction. But hear me out.

As annoying and debilitating as the emotion of “sadness” is, don’t you think it too deserves a silver lining? Think about it. What purpose does sadness serve? I don’t believe that it is some perfunctory creation of our biology or consciousness. Everything in nature and its very design (which we are a part of) is amazingly efficient and highly organizational. Meaning that every thing and being and all of their cells have an efficient purpose and function. So why would our biology be any different? Assuming that emotions arise from biochemicals, why would they be an exception to the rule? And even if emotions aren’t created biologically,  but rather come from some other part of us that we are not able to yet measure, they still function within our physical-ness (…biology). My point is we are not an exception to the highly organized and efficient nature of nature. See what I did there eh eh… Anyway my point is that we are not above it all. We too are nature. And somehow we as a species have forgotten and/or may have been actively fighting this fact. But why?

Really though…WHY?

You see it takes way too much energy to produce emotions for me to believe sadness is just this storm of nonsensical neural activity driven solely by potentiality based on a meaningless influx of neurotransmitters generated by chance reactionary circumstances. Yeah.

What if our emotions, good and bad, are the equivalent to one of our other senses and not just residual from a reactionary process. Acting as feelers for when we are in alignment with what we essentially want to create and experience. For example, we use our other senses to help us navigate the world to either move towards or away from what we perceive to be good/bad, pleasant/unpleasant, safe/unsafe experiences. So perhaps our emotional states serve the same purpose and then some, creating a bridge between the physical and the inner mushy place(aka. soul, inner being, energy).

Now I’m examining sadness specifically, although I do suppose our many other emotions would serve us in the same way as well, but sadness is a quirky little feeling. People mostly find it annoying and it kind of gets neglected on the list of emotions to be grateful for. But what if it’s just misunderstood. What if it’s purpose is to let us know when we are creating or trending toward an overall emotional state that we may not be in alignment with. What if sadness isn’t so much a reaction to an event we just experienced but rather a reaction to the emotional reaction we feel to said event… still with me?

Let me break it down. Say for example you have a goal to lose X amount of weight before a tropical vacay because you plan on feeling fabulous in that super cute bikini that has been stalking you on IG. But then all of a sudden you feel like time decided to slingshot you to a week before the trip and you are no more fit then you were at the start. You start to feel uneasy, anxious, and maybe even resentful toward yourself for not having the will to get it together like you said you would…and now you feel sad. You think you feel sad because you’re not going to look like that IG model did in that bikini or because you essentially failed to meet a goal you had set for yourself. But what if the sadness was actually being generated in response to the negative self-talk and negativity you are creating for yourself in that moment. What if that is your inner beings way of telling you, “Hey! We are starting to go down a path that we don’t want to. A path far away from the truth”. And the truth is you are fabulous and you have a choice to feel amazing in that bikini regardless of how much you weigh. The truth is you are already whole perfect and complete and now you are forgetting that… and perhaps that is why you are feeling sad now. Because you are out of sync with that little inner voice that is a relentless cheerleader for all things made of rainbows,glitter, and cotton candy clouds.

What if we stopped fretting about the inevitable negative emotions, like sadness that we WILL experience, and embrace them instead as a hint or sometimes strong nudge trying to point us in the right direction. And by embracing them we can stop running from them. We can start recognizing the power behind them and learn how to utilize it to move forward instead of getting stuck in a ditch that we keep digging deeper. And if we stop for a second, then maybe we can collect our thoughts for a moment, that may just lead to a foot hold that we can use to pull ourselves out. And then maybe,just maybe we can start feeling better much sooner.

Now I do recognize there are major life events such as the loss of a loved one or a major tragedy that hits us out of no where. And naturally we feel sad at those times. How does this theory of sadness fit in here? Honestly, I am not entirely sure. Mostly because it’s hard to wrap this up in a neat explanation in the face of a tragedy and the ungodly things that people face everyday. So for now I will humbly say I don’t know. And that’s okay. Because really no one knows. We are all just trying to figure it out using our feelings mostly because logic kind of floats away when it comes to comprehending the big why’s in life. No one really has the rules or the answers to this game.

I realize this may sound overly simplified. However, it’s worth a shot trying on a new perspective even if all the details aren’t figured out ahead of time. Maybe somethings can only be revealed to us by the perspective we gain from participation and not from the sidelines.

Either way it’s an interesting thought.

✌️❤️

Elysianish

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IT’S JUST LIFE BABE


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So I am in an interesting head space lately. I just turned the big Three-O a few months ago and all of a sudden I’m beginning to feel all sorts of social norms and expectations being imposed on me. I am not sure if these feelings are entirely of my own making or if I am indeed picking up on social cues. I have a strong feeling it is a mixture of the two.

For clarity lets get acquainted  with some facts that are fueling this fire. By the way this is going to make me cringe while I do this. Because these facts are precisely the parts of me I am far from being proud of. Also, they are the source of the flattening of enjoyment I experience when I meet someone new (a type of experience that I adore(d)). Incidentally these encounters have also become the primary source of the feelings of judgment I am experiencing. But inevitably these facts are necessary points that we discuss with strangers. And often times these are the typical facts we use to size people up to some arbitrary measure of “worthiness”. Because ultimately they do mean something…right?

  1. Age: I am 30.
  2. Housing: I have been living with my parents for the past 6 months.
  3. Occupation: Graduate Student/Misc. Job
  4. Transportation: I do not have a car.
  5. Relationship Status: Single.
  6. Financial Status: Broke AF

First of all let me say what a bizarre feeling this is to reduce myself to these categories. Like I really really hate it. Yes I would love to improve myself in ALL of these areas. Trying to do so is something I find gratifying. However, being measured up by social status indicators alone and not the journey, or the passion, or the effort that is being put into improving myself is truly disheartening. Looking at just the facts I amount to nothing short of a scrub (in the words of TLC). According to this game the only cards I hold are: I am pursuing a degree #ambitions,  and  my age is something I have no control over #life ;P. However, none of these external validators are constants. And to solely rely on them is detrimental to maintaining mental fitness. This is not a fun way to engage with myself or life. There is so much more to a person than there age, occupation, living arrangement, relationship status, and financial status. And these categories isolated out of the context of the life they belong to are far from the reasons we actually decide to build relationships beyond the first meet and greet with a stranger. That is exactly why even after knowing there is much more to me, I still struggle with shaking the feeling of inadequacy.

I have always sort of done things on my own time. Never really one to be motivated by external pressure. Don’t get me wrong. I definitely feel the anxiety pile up at times.  But that usually happens when I get caught up in the comparison game (the most pointless game ever). I guess meeting new people as of late forces the dialogue of comparison in my mind. And it does not resonate well with me at all. And that is because I am not 100 % happy with myself. I can admit that. And when I’m not at my best, like most people, I enjoy the occasional pat on the back in the form of an affirmation from someone other than myself that I am on the “right track”. Walking on the tight rope of external validation can be tricky though: it’s easy to tip right off into the deep end.

The more I look into this dialogue with myself I am quickly becoming very aware of the fact that no one can give me the validation I crave other than myself. People will have there opinions and share them just like I do. But at the end of the day the only two things that should be on my list of concerns in all of this are the following:

  1. Loving Me, Myself, and I.
  2. And showing myself compassion in the face of any perceived short coming.

The truth is you and I are already enough. I just need to remember that. Everything else is just embellishment. Do I think life would be more enjoyable if I improved all of the items mentioned in my list above. Definitely! And all I can do is try and try harder. Just not at the expense of loving myself. Loving myself is a much more fun and productive head game to play than the comparison game. And showing compassion to myself is key to healthy self-evaluation and self-improvement.  And when I think about it, I only want those in my space that want to bring more love than doubt into my life. As a result of this attitude I find my list of “close friends” dwindling and my social interactions shifting from quantity to quality. It was scary at first. But when I realized this pruning of people in my life was actually a marvelous space for growth I welcomed it with open arms.

I learned that I love myself and the possibilities in life way too much to allow myself to give these insecurities too much significance. I still have days and weeks where I really struggle with applying this mindset. I can only trust and hope that it will get easier. Sometimes I wonder if I will “wake up” in my old age and think “well S%&t, we really messed it up this time around!”. For now I’m hoping that learning how to focus my energy on creating and cultivating the most joy that I can for myself will in time help the rest of the pieces of my life come together in the best way. Let’s see shall we 😉