This last week has been rough.
I’m not a proponent of hiding your rotten fruit in the back of the refrigerator and letting it mold. Issues need to be brought into the open and discussed so that we can all learn to see each others’ perspectives. Things don’t just magically get better. We have to work for it.
But we also have to take care of ourselves, and negativity is draining.
Raise your hand if you feel tired.
Yeah, me too.
Also heartbroken, frightened, confused… the list goes on.
I know we’re all hurting for different reasons. I’m going to share where my pain comes from—in the form of a link so that this post remains an island, separated from the heartache.
We can’t push bad things aside and pretend they don’t exist, but we also can’t let them break us down. [Click to Tweet]
Quick story: I played for a junior college softball team my sophomore year. We were on the field, practicing rundowns (“pickles”). I tagged one of my teammates, and she made a nasty comment and elbowed me. Having been taught to respect the game, I let it go while we were on the field. In the locker room, I confronted her non-aggressively. I said, “Want to tell me what that was about?” She immediately jumped up and acted like she was going to hit me, bouncing around like a kid waiting for someone to hold her back. Apparently she didn’t like me because I had transferred in from a D1 school. As she tossed insults and acted like she wanted to fight, I stood still and smiled. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen someone that pissed. She yelled over and over, “Stop smiling!” Until our assistant coach “broke up” the nonexistent fight.
They always want you to stop smiling. They always want to break you and take your happiness. Don’t let them!
Today, take a moment to do something that makes you smile.
1. Take a walk.
Even if it’s cold, put on a sweater and gloves and get out of the house. Stretch your legs. The combination of exercise and fresh air will have you smiling within minutes.
2. Sit in complete and total silence.
In an age of screens and speakers, we forget the value of silence. Close the door, turn out all the lights, and relax. Let your mind go blank, and then loosen your muscles. Focus on living in that one moment.
3. Get something done.
You know that one big deadline that’s looming over your head? Get it done now. Yes, right now. There are few better feelings than a weight being lifted, and it will help you regain a sense of control over your life.
4. Make a List
Write down everything you have to do today, everything you have to do until the end of time, everything you’re thankful for, everything you hate, everything you need at the grocery store—it doesn’t matter, just write down everything of something. Making lists helps cleanse your mind. It allows you to let go of whatever it is your writing down. You’ve made it concrete. And again, it helps you take control of your life.
5. Go to your happy place.
No, not metaphorically. Go to the place on this earth that makes you happy. Some of my happy places: the mountains, the lake, a bookstore, Trader Joe’s. Go there, and enjoy being there. Don’t look for reasons to be unhappy. Which brings me to…
6. Give yourself permission to be happy.
We don’t have to be happy about or condone terrible actions of others. And we never want to sit silently while people get hurt. But that doesn’t mean we are destined to brood and sulk for our entire lives. If we feel strongly enough to have an emotional reaction, we probably feel strongly enough to do something about the problem. You know who creates change? Positive people. And positivity starts with yourself. [Click to Tweet]
Feel what you feel. Don’t let anyone tell you that your emotions are wrong. But also remember that, while heartache incites change, nothing good thrives in pain and suffering. If you want to make a change and make a difference in the lives of others, take care of yourself. Smile. Remember to see the beauty and joy in the world and in your life. Without it, nothing is worth saving anyway.
P.S. If you were wondering how that story ended, I transferred to a Division 1 program the next year. She flunked out after the first semester.
Author & Editor