My dear readers, I have been absent from blogging and writing for far longer than I am comfortable with. Life got a bit crazy (read abso-bloody-lutely awful) and I lost faith and interest in everything, reduced to simply going through the motions day by day, waiting for something to happen. Yesterday I reached rock bottom, had an avalanche of rejections and bad news, and dealt with it like an adult by hiding in my bed and having a cry about how crap my life was.
Then something hit me.
Lying in bed crying about how the Universe hated me made me feel better for about ten seconds. Then I just felt sorry for myself, had a blocked nose, and looked like crap, which made me feel worse (like Helen from Bridesmaids, I am definitely an ugly crier). It didn’t actually change my situation. It didn’t magic a job opportunity into my lap. Or a one way plane ticket. Or even the winning lottery numbers. It didn’t get rid of my hideous bosses or screechy customers, it didn’t make my workplace treat me like a human being, and it didn’t make anyone appreciate me more. I wasn’t suddenly chilling on a beach in Thailand, riding through a sunlit forest or having the freedom to run my own life.
It achieved absolutely nothing.
And that’s when I had a second wave of realisation.
(This all sounds very profound but in reality I was hiding under the duvet with birds nest hair and snotting all over the place: transformation is not as glamorous as it seems)
I had zero control over the things which were happening to me. I couldn’t make people respond to my emails with Yes’s. I couldn’t magic up my dream job just because I want it. I couldn’t help the way customers and colleagues treated me. I had (and still have) absolutely no power over any of these things.
I do, however, have absolute power over my reactions.
I can choose whether to stay in bed and cry and wreck my very nice overpriced (but oh so with it) Egyptian cotton pillowcases with mascara.
Or I can put on my big girl pants and deal.
We are more than our minds.
The only thing we have total control over is our mindset, and our response to situations. Once we know this, we get our power back.
Now trust me, I know this is easier said than done. I can hear you right now, arguing, “Oh it’s easy for you to say! I’ve got x,y and z going on!” I’ve been there, I am anxiety’s bitch more than I’d care to admit. And I’m not saying its easy. Nothing worth doing is easy, according to dear old Teddy Roosevelt. And that sucks, I agree. But it is what it is. And that’s exactly the crux of what I’m saying.
On occasion, life sucks beyond the telling of it (thanks Buffy, you do good quotes.)
You have power, even when you feel powerless. You can help yourself even when you are helpless. The way you respond can make or break everything.
Think of it hypothetically. You and a loved one are having a nice time. You’re chilled, having a laugh, all in a good place and it looks set to continue. Then they do or say something that gets right on your nerves, sets your teeth on edge, and you go to kick off. You snap, they snap back, one of you storms off, and that lovely day you were having is ruined until someone apologises and you move on. Or, you could look at the bigger picture. Does what they’re doing really matter? Will you remember it in 6 months? Or can you choose to let it go, accept it as one of their irritating quirks, and carry on having a nice day?
Obviously I’m not trying to minimise other people’s crappy behaviour. If someone is way out of line, you need to tell them off. But this is also part of it: own your power. Be assertive. If someone is treating you like a doormat, you can choose how to respond to that.
In that moment, you have a choice.
This feels like it’s escalating into a power ballad, so I’m going to wrap it up there. This is something I will definitely be returning to, but I just wanted to dip your toes into it whilst I remember how to write again.
Mindset can be everything, and you are the only one with the power to use it.
Deep stuff. Go and eat some ice cream to digest (Ben & Jerry’s now do vegan ice cream, so the world is a good place.)
(This is not Ben & Jerry’s, but it IS Northern Irish ice cream, which may be even better.)
Thanks and love and stuff