It’s not always easy, trying to be a better version of yourself. To try to be strong and positive. The more tired I get, the more difficult this becomes.
This weekend, I planned to write a (hopefully brilliant ;)) blog post once I was rested enough. Unfortunately, that isn’t the case though. As no matter how often I go to bed, I still feel tired. Which is why this week will be a write-your-thoughts-and feelings-away-blog.
Knowing vs. feeling
The silly thing is that enough stuff happened this week, to be happy, thankful and even proud of. But nevertheless, my mind keeps going to the things that didn’t go well. I realized that when I’m mentally tired, it becomes increasingly more difficult to change my thinking.
Many years ago, when I learned that I’m not my thoughts and emotions, it felt like a revelation. That if I feel insecure or doubt myself, it doesn’t mean that I am insecure. That instead of identifying yourself with your thoughts and emotions, you can also choose to notice them, adjust your behaviour if necessary and let them go.
This week I discovered that noticing instead of identifying, does require a mental effort. An effort that, this week, was simply too much. As no matter how often I tried, I couldn’t manage to distance myself. To only notice my thoughts and emotions and not to get dragged down with them. I know that a lot of good things happened this week, but it feels different. Let me give two examples.
An unexpected birthday
Two weeks ago I wrote about the realization that birthdays and I don’t make a good combination. And so I have avoided birthdays these past four years. Last week that changed. Due to an unexpected change in my schedule, I found myself at a family birthday celebration. Only six family members were present, there wasn’t any music playing and yet I couldn’t stay for more than twenty minutes.
Which should be a good discovery. After those four years I was starting to doubt myself. Maybe I’d made a rash decision in renouncing all birthday parties. Now at least, I knew that this really was a good and wise decision. One I should feel happy about. But instead of focussing on the upside, I got focussed on the feelings of loss and inability.
Suddenly I deeply missed my old social life. To have that sense of freedom and spontaneity. Of seeing friends and family at parties, birthdays or dinners. To find out the hard way, that this is something I (still) can’t do, was a bitter pill to swallow. Letting go of these feelings and thoughts turned out to be quite difficult.
One day later I was sitting in a bus in the dark. The alternating contrast of darkness and street lights, houses with lights and the lights on the bus turned out to be too much. Where I lacked the courage the week before, this week I managed to put on my sunglasses. I know it sounds silly, but that simple act was surprisingly hard. However, instead of feeling proud, as I was taking care of myself, I only felt small and even a bit ashamed. I couldn’t even make eye contact with the people that got on the bus.
Looking back, I find this ridiculous. Who cares what other people think. If you have to wear sunglasses in the dark, than do so and do it with your head held high. That would be my reaction, if a friend told me this. Why then is it so hard to say this to yourself?
There is a whole world between knowing and feeling something. And this week I struggled. I got caught up in my own judgemental and critical thoughts. As my battery was running empty, I couldn’t let go of these thoughts. Since silencing that critical inner voice didn’t work, I wrote it all out. Who knows, maybe reading this a couple of times will help to change my perspective. Until then, I will be kind to myself. To find distractions and rest. Hopefully my battery will charge up soon.
How do you deal with your critical inner voice? What do you do when your mind focusses on the downside instead of the upsides? What did you do this week, that you feel proud of?