Do Not Engage Sad-Faced-Emoticon

I had another great weekend. Seriously, it was a ton of fun. I really appreciate good weekends because with work wearing me down like it is I need some positivity to get me through the Monday-Friday grind.

So I was surprised at yoga when my good mood started going south. I was actually surprised for two reasons: (1) Did I mention I was in great mood from the weekend?! and (2) I was at yoga, which usually makes me feel amazing. So I was doubly confused when half way through the class I just started feeling, I don’t know, sad.

I guess the good news is Hope officially left the building. She threw me to the floor, screaming and hollering like a banshee, then spent a few days pointing a gun in my face and holding me hostage, before she got bored, or hungry, or some combination of the two and just got up one day and unceremoniously walked out. I will admit, it was a great relief.

But in her absence I’ve been, well, kind of meh. I have a hope hangover to be sure. Some days are better than others. Some days are pretty bad.

So today at yoga I felt the “meh” feeling descending. And more than anything I was annoyed. I mean, I’d had a great weekend, I was at yoga, finally, after a week of trying–and failing–to go, why the EFF was I getting all sad-face-emoticon on my own ass. I was so frustrated and annoyed.

Lately, when I’ve been feeling sad-face-emoticon I’ve spent a lot of energy trying to talk myself out of it. My angry, get-over-yourself monologue goes something like this:

Seriously girl, enough of this sad sack shit. You have a great life. Just look around you. You own a house, in the city no less. You have a man who loves you. You have a gorgeous, smart, talented, amazing daughter who adores you. You have a job that you basically can’t lose. Your daughter is in a great preschool/day care that you can afford and that she loves. You cat hasn’t drawn blood when she swipes at you in a while. Your life is so great. GET OVER YOURSELF.

And then when my pep talk doesn’t really shake me out of my sadness, I get ever more angry at myself, repeating the whole diatribe to ever more disappointing results. Wash. Rinse. Repeat.

Today at yoga I started reciting my diatribe when I suddenly stopped. I put the kiobosh on me bullying myself. Instead of playing my same game I just let myself be with my sadness. I didn’t judge myself for it. I didn’t try to explain it away. I didn’t wish it were gone or feel ashamed of it. I just sat with it. I acknowledged it. I recognized it without judgment of any kind. I just let it be. I reminded myself that it was okay to feel shitty, that it was normal, and that I didn’t need to make it worse by feeling bad ABOUT feeling bad. That right then, it I could just be with that feeling.

And you know what? It didn’t hang around for nearly as long as it usually does. It didn’t infect the rest of my evening. And while it’s still around, hanging out in the background like the person at the party you didn’t invite but who won’t leave even though almost everyone else is gone. And that’s fine. I can handle the awkward moments of acknowledging this uninvited guest. I can sit with it, not talking to it, not feeding it with my shit. I can just be with it, and it’s not so bad.

I just need to remember not to engage. I just need to keep reminding myself.

6 responses

  1. I can’t believe nobody has commented yet – this is such a great post and a great way of looking at things. I really like the concept of acknowledging “yes, I am feeling sad right now”, not feeling guilty, yet also not letting it take over. I’m glad it helped you last night.

  2. Buddhist … and yogic … observe what you feel, but don’t let it take over. Beautiful. I’m glad that it worked! I need to try to silence those voices in my head, too …

  3. Your pep talk sounds so familiar…I know that voice!

    “That which we resists persists.” Which is why the bullying and pep talks tend to strengthen the thing we’re trying to dispel.

    Being with it, on the other hand, is a more effective way. Kudos to you for being willing to try this, even though it seems counterintuitive.

  4. I have found that Keiko’s “Project You” has been a Godsend for me. I am normally all about the negative self-talk. But Keiko’s book taught me to replace the negative stuff with positive feedback. It really has been working lately! 🙂 Last week I had that situation which normally would have crushed me, but I refused to believe the negative stuff and stayed strong. Having the support of friends helps a lot, too.

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