It’s ok to not be ok

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Some days we will feel overwhelmed and not our best, and that’s ok.

I’m having a BAD DAY.

That’s right, today I’m having a bad day. I woke up tired and anxious after a restless night, I don’t look or feel my best and I’m getting caught up in the emotional history of my acne journey with my skin. I have a very rare day off that I’m not lecturing or coaching so I have the day to myself and I’m not feeling good. I started to feel stressed and overwhelmed and the old familiar feelings of sadness and depression came creeping in. They started in at the edges of my mind until I was face to face with myself in the mirror feeling pretty negative about my appearance and those feelings were threatening to engulf me and take me down that long familiar tunnel that I have fallen down hundreds, if not thousands, of times before. Those heavy feelings that make me feel worthless and cause my body to become limp and heavy, a sort of heavy all consuming desperation that pulls you under and drains your energy. Luckily, I haven’t sunk beneath the waves of negative emotion; I’ve been able to detach a little and catch myself before it goes any further. I’ve managed to stop it and begin the work of turning it around.

How can it be possible for this negative emotion to begin when I know so much about positive thinking and actually make a living through teaching life-changing philosophy?! Well it is very possible, and very probable too, because I’m a human being first and foremost. Yes, I’ve learned how to navigate the rough waters that life sometimes presents us with, but that doesn’t mean that I’m immune to my head going under occasionally (or even frequently). Indeed, my head needs to go under from time to time so that I can learn, progress and grow – and then hopefully shine a light and provide some guidance to someone else who needs help. Life is a work in progress, it’s a journey with no real destination – life is continuous, it carries on all around us, it never stops. Life never holds up its hands, puts its feet up and exclaims, “There, all done! Reached the finish point!”

Similarly, even when we do start to make real progress in changing our lives around there will always be days when we don’t feel good, when things aren’t ok and we are prey to the old familiar habitual negative thought patterns that have been established in our unconscious minds through-out our lives. It is natural for this to happen, whether we just wake up feeling like that or something has happened to make us feel like that. We will never get to the point when we feel constant joyous elation every minute of the day. Life and all it entails is too ever-changing for us to have that kind of constant. But we can learn to lean in the direction of consistently feeling better while minimising the impact of those sometimes more negative habitual thoughts and reactions of behaviour.

How did I stop myself from sinking and begin to turn my day around? Firstly, I cancelled something that was making me feeling anxious instead of something to look forward to on my day off- it was too far away, would take up most of my free day and was the wrong choice for me at this moment in time. Secondly, instead of falling headfirst into a well of despair as I looked at myself in the mirror, I said to myself, “Nothing that I do right now, no matter how I feel, will change the fact that I’ve got acne. Looking at it and becoming sadder and more depressed isn’t going to change it. I’m on a journey with it, I’m in the process of healing. This is how it’s going to be today”. So I got a little angry, not hugely, but angry enough that it made the heaviness of depression lift. “I deserve to feel better than this, I deserve to have clear skin. I deserve to not feel bad about myself because of this.” I exclaimed.Then I spoke to someone I love, and it helped to share how I was feeling. It lightened my load a little to know I was loved and supported. Afterwards, I listened to a couple of songs that were uplifting and I made myself a really satisfying nutritious breakfast. I made the decision to be easy with myself and do things that bring me relief and that I enjoy. I took a long hot shower and had a shave. I bought some epsom salts so that I can have a long nurturing bath this evening. I decided to write this blog – writing always makes me feel better – and wrote down in my journal how I was feeling, how I wanted to feel and the things in my life that I could feel appreciation for in that moment. I’ll also go to the gym after writing this and get my body to move which is such a good remedy for feeling better. Has it worked? Yes, it has. Am I bouncing off the walls in joy – well no, and that sort of feeling wasn’t going to be accessible to me today and part of feeling better was to have the realistic expectation that feeling a little better was enough. I managed to stop the sinking, I didn’t get any worse. I found some relief and my mood has changed. I’ve even been a little productive. But most importantly, I’ve been kind to myself. I’ve honoured where I was, chose to move in a different direction and give myself permission to get there slowly and stopped being hard on myself. Our harshest critic is the one who lives inside our mind.
I’ve been under the waves countless times and still go under, but my sojourns into the all-pervading darkness are less frequent and don’t last anywhere near as long as they did. I have first-hand experience of getting myself out which means I’m qualified on a personal level to show the way, offer help and give advice. It’s what makes me a real person living in the real world. It’s my experiences that make me successful in what I do, that enable me to help other people because I know what you’re going through, because I’ve been through it, and still do go through it. My actual experiences may or may not mirror yours exactly, but the thoughts, feelings and emotions are the same. The tools and techniques I use to get myself out from under myself are tools and techniques that will help you do the same. Most importantly, I’m coming from the heart and can understand you – which means you’re not alone in this. I’m always here with you, having tread the same path, but now with awareness of how to make things a little easier, a little better and enjoy life a whole lot more. I can walk beside you, and hold your hand to guide you, as and when you need.
I’m off to move my body now in my efforts to keep feeling better about today and myself. I hope the words I’ve written here have been helpful and beneficial to you, and as always, please get in touch if you feel inspired to do so.

With love –

Jonathan