As y’all know I am a big fan of thinking positive… but… sometimes stuff happens that really throws us off. We get upset by something someone says or doesn’t say. Does, or doesn’t do. Something that happens. Or doesn’t happen. There is a gap between what we expect or desire and what we actually get in reality. The bigger the gap, the more upset we are. And that expectation vs. reality gap brings us down.
Here’s the thing. Feeling down can actually be a real growth opportunity as long as it’s short-term and temporary*. Feeling down in the short term? Well, it’s a golden opportunity to learn something new about ourselves.
That clarity can be really illuminating and valuable. Knowing what we DON’T want gives us access to getting really clear on what we DO want. That’s even more valuable information. When we can define what we DO want, we are a billionty** percent more likely to actually get it.
Feeling down gives us the opportunity to see if there is another perspective we can take. Can we look at the situation differently? Maybe we don’t need to feel quite so down about it? Is there a silver lining we are missing? Can we think about it differently so we can feel differently about it?
Feeling down can prompt inspired action that moves us efficiently in the direction of what we DO want and out of the downer-making situation. Feeling down can be just the trigger we need to evaluate the only three sensible options we ever have:
1. Do I want to accept this situation? As it is? Accept it and stop fighting it. It is what it is. Put my energy and focus elsewhere.
2. Do I want to change this situation? How can I best change it, so it gives me more of what I do want?
3. Do I want to leave this situation? Is feeling down a message that this situation is no longer serving me? I don’t want to accept it – I don’t feel that I want to change it – my best course of action is to exit it altogether.
It’s a message, and indicator, to pay more attention. That there is something to be learned or evaluated here, not just that there is an emotion to be avoided because it feels uncomfortable. If we can sit with that feeling of down, just for a few moments (without trying to avoid it by drowning it out with TV, wine, overeating, excessive work, excessive busyness, excessive exercise) – it can reveal exactly what we need to know to move ourselves confidently towards a much brighter future. Welcoming a little bit of “down” as a learning opportunity rather than running from it can be the foundation of a whole heap of happiness if we let it.
* Feeling down ongoing and long term – is not good – see your GP – you may have depression. Get the support you need!
** According to scientific research.