Yesterday had just been one of those days. I committed to taking a break from juggling, but irresponsibly forgot to schedule an alternative activity. As a result I got sucked onto the computer, and wasted an entire night chasing shiny objects through every corner of the internet.
I don’t mind taking breaks from work, but the problem occurs when those breaks are spent doing activities that are only going to further drain me. Following the self-esteem hit from wasting several hours of my life, I went through a rare episode of insomnia and woke up this morning exhausted.
Today wasn’t shaping up to be a good day and in the past it wouldn’t have been. I would have resisted my emotions and felt guilty for feeling the way I felt. Today, however, I decided I was going to roll the dice life has given me.
Something I understand now, but couldn’t accept even a year ago is that emotions come in waves. While it’s a good idea to craft your life in a way that’s conductive to your happiness, you’ve also got to realize that it can’t always be high tide.
Different sides of the spectrum cannot exist without each other. What is day without night? Yin without Yang? Life without death? Understand that we could not perceive happiness without the occasional moment of sadness. The days you feel down are there to help you appreciate when life is on the upswing.
Furthermore, understand that there isn’t a need to identify with your emotions. You are not sadness. You are the awareness that perceives the physical body producing negative chemical reactions in the brain.
The problem is we all have egos and most peoples’ egos attempt to enlarge themselves through the stories we tell ourselves. This person said this about me. Or this shouldn’t have happened. Or my circumstances aren’t fair.
In truth life isn’t fair, but nobody ever said it was going to be fair either. Thus, there’s nothing to complain about. You can’t control what other people say. You can’t control traffic or the weather. You can’t control the odd mood swing and you shouldn’t try to either.
It’s not our circumstances that cause us to lose fulfillment in life. It’s the way we react to them. It’s the stories we tell ourselves. Was your date 15 minutes late because she doesn’t care, or because she spent extra time dolling herself up for you? Is an odd blasé day something you should feel guilty about, or is it a natural occurrence in life?
Sometimes you’re going to experience negative emotions. I’ve felt a bit down all day, but I’ve come to realize that feeling this way is ok. Feeling out of it every once in a while isn’t something you need to place a moral judgement on. Doing so will do nothing to improve your situation and you’ll only create stress and guilt for yourself.
You’ve got to experience the lows every once in a while to appreciate the highs. Interestingly enough, accepting this is what allows you to become process-oriented and quickly work through the lows.
Furthermore, accepting what is allows you to experience deep inner-peace even while you’re experiencing negative emotions or chaotic occurrences in your external reality.
(Picture is of a lake in Texas from April 2014.)
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