I try to be positive, but it just feels like a cover up. I can still feel the bad thoughts simmering underneath, and they feel deeper than the positive thoughts. They feel like truth.
That being said, when I'm feeling sad and discouraged and disgusted with myself, I really do try to turn my mood around. I say, "Julia, no. You're not bad" or "think of the good stuff you've done" or "those aren't the things that matter anyways."
|sometimes my beautiful friends are my models|
But there's a difference between telling yourself something and believing it. The stuff I tell myself when my eyes are brimming with tears in ballet class, or I'm feeling discouraged, or when I'm disappointed in my lack of productivity; that's not positive thinking.
That's positive hiding, and positive lying. That's positive-covering-an-ugly-thought-up-with-a-cheery-one. When you genuinely believe, in the most rational part of your brain, that you're just plain bad, (and I think we all feel this way occasionally), anything else is a lie. Positive thinking feels like a facade to make yourself feel better, like a cotton-candy covering that doesn't really solve the problem.
But there's some stuff I've found that, even on the worst, I-genuinely-believe-I-am-awful days, makes me feel a little bit more positive. Believably positive.
If I'm having a pessimistic day, I try going through these steps in my brain (because I'm obsessed with breaking everything down into steps and plans). Some days, step one makes me feel a bit better. Sometimes, I gotta go to step two to start feeling a bit more believably positive. Some days I need step three, and some days I need step four. Anyways, here they are:
Step 1: Remember that, often times, what feels like a horrible day is really just a crummy five minutes.We tend to assign more weight to bad things than good things, and we tend to lug the bad things with us all day long. More about this here.
Step 2: Use your anger/ sadness/ discouraged-nessIf you're really mad and filled with rage, be mad. Write an angry manifesto. If you're sad, write a really emotional blog post that you'll never actually publish. Sometimes when I'm in ballet class and I'm feeling really mad, I let myself dance mad. I practice pirouettes aggressively in a corner, or I pretend like every grand battement is a kick in the shins of my enemies. Is this good? Probably not. But sometimes it feels good. The point is: let yourself feel the things you're feeling. You don't have to smile. You can say, "I'm having a crap day." People will understand.
Step 3- Remind yourself that it's all part of your life story.Maybe you feel like you're kinda in a rut. But maybe that's how this little bit of your story is supposed to go (after all, a story with zero bad parts is pretty darn boring).
I remember once, when I was performing in the Nutcracker and everything was going wrong and I was sick with fear, I kept frantically saying, "I'm so afraid I'm going to mess up again, I'm so afraid I'm going to mess up again, I'm so afraid I'm going to mess up. " And my ballet teacher just looked at me and said, "Okay Julia, mess up. Let yourself mess it all up. Make a million mistakes."
That completely shocked me, and I think it changed my life a little bit. Such a concept was not in my vocabulary. I had never, in all of my life, let myself think that before. Letting myself make mistakes?? Letting myself be bad?? That was completely out of the question. That was everything I was working so hard not to do. I worked my butt off in ballet precisely so I wouldn't be bad, so I wouldn't fail. But it backfired, because I was so obsessed with not making mistakes, that they kept happening. Mistakes are a normal and annoying part of life, like flu shots and late night study sessions and leaving voicemails.
If you feel like you're bad, let yourself be bad for a while. Don't make yourself sick and crazy avoiding mistakes, because they'll come anyways. Good novels naturally rise and fall, and chances are, the next chapter of your life story will get a bit better on its own. :)
Step 4- Survive. It'll be over soon.
When worst comes to worst and I've tried to make myself feel better in whatever way I can, I tell myself one last thing: just hold on. Soon this day will be over and you will be in your bed, watching Youtube videos, eating hummus (just me?). Everybody has crummy days sometimes. Get through it, and trust that tomorrow will be a better one.
Okay, my friends, that's all the advice I have. In a kind of long and rambly way. I hope, if you're the type of person who gets occasionally pessimistic, that this helped you a little bit. I dunno. But it helps me. :)
♡ Julia (Have a wonderful day!)