The One Question That Will Change Your Day
It’s a busy time of year.
We’re shifting into the holiday season ready for the transition from one year into the next. Facing the juggle of school holidays, work and kids and for those of us in the lower eastern states (and you can’t get much lower than Tasmania!) Spring brings with it an abundance of cold, wet, dreary days…
How about we just call this off and head back to bed?
On top of all of this, I’ve been having some challenging times lately, but in my usual eternally capable style I tend to just take a deep breath and keep on keeping on as best I can.
That was until recently when I was listening to a Marie Forleo podcast episode. I was returning home from the morning school run, and it stopped me in my tracks.
Marie was talking about how she copes in physically and emotionally challenging times and said that she has made a habit of regularly stopping and asking herself:
“Am I Ok?”
To which my instant answer was “No. I’m not”.
Whoa – where did that come from?
I’m the person who is constantly reinforcing to myself “everything will work out”, “I’ve got this”, “I can do hard things” and “I can handle this”.
This got me thinking more about how I personally focus on life in general. When someone asks “How are you?” My answer generally leans toward the positive.
I might mention the three days I spent lying in bed so sick I could barely eat or move with “I had a few down days, but am doing really well now – how about you?”
Does this make me a positive person?
I used to think yes, but now I’m not so sure.
I think I’m beginning to realise that this glossing over of my reality makes me a resistant person. Because the truth is, this isn’t just reflective of how I talk about the difficult times with others, it’s also how I talk about difficult times with myself.
Or rather how I don’t talk about the difficult times with myself.
I don’t want to focus on the negative things that might be happening right now, I want to focus on the positive way I want things to be in the future.
But what if how things are right now are exactly how things are meant to be?
What I’m learning is that it’s really important to take the time to feel shitty and miserable and sad and overwhelmed.
I’m a very strong believer in “everything happens for a reason” and as a buddhist I believe we keep being reborn into circumstances that are going to teach us the lessons we still need to learn, the ones we didn’t quite master last time.
I also believe that life is 50:50. 50% good and 50% bad and that there are lessons in that for all of us. If we tend to gloss over the bad, distract ourselves or avoid it altogether then we are not allowing ourselves the opportunity to fully experience life and the lessons these times provide.
I’m not saying that every time we admit to ourselves that we aren’t OK we need to hole up in our bedrooms under the doona with a box of tissues. Although if that is what you need then by all means go ahead.
Sometimes just acknowledging that we’re not OK is enough.
In this busy and fast-paced world, just taking a moment to recognise how we feel and be a little bit gentler, kinder and loving to ourselves (even if it is just in thought) is all we need.