“We can always choose to perceive things differently. We can focus on what’s wrong in our life, or we can focus on what’s right.” ~Marianne Williamson
I was down in the dumps the other day and was feeling sorry for myself.
For some reason everything was just off. You know when you have one of those days when nothing seems to go right? And you get easily irritated and extra sensitive with everything?
It all began the night before. I was expecting a call from a guy who I’ve been getting to know. He said he was going to call but never did. I woke up the next morning feeling disgruntled.
My day proceeded with me stubbing my toe against the bed post, burning my toast, and then receiving a call from the bank to inform me that my debit card had been tampered with and someone had withdrawn over $1,000 from my account. (Luckily, my bank will be filing a fraud claim and I’ll get my money back, which is a blessing!)
After breakfast, I went to check out a health shop owned by a friend of a friend. We were introduced to each other via Facebook. On the way, I ran into every single red light possible, making me late.
When I got there I was enthusiastic to pass on a heartfelt hug from my friend, but it seemed her friend was surprised and a bit taken aback, as she leaned in for a lukewarm hug.
From there things felt awkward to me. Perhaps it was because I’d envisioned a different type of reception and expected my friend’s friend to be equally warm and enthusiastic. Instead, I felt like I was in an intense interview.
My ego started to stir, criticizing me because I was not prepared to respond to what seemed like 21 questions.
Feeling flustered over the visit, I was looking forward to meeting up with a friend whom I hadn’t seen in a long time for a catch up. To my dismay, I received a text saying she had to cancel and reschedule because something came up, but she promised she would make it up to me.
I then got lost in myself. The voices in my head got louder, debating about my worthiness. I felt like a loser that day, and my ego felt deflated.
My emotions got the best of me over the most trivial things. And as much as I’d like to blame it on my hormones being out of whack because of jetlag, the truth is I was acting like a child. I was focused on all the “wrong” things that were happening to me, and I was consumed with myself.
I knew I needed to purge what was on my mind, so I opened my laptop and started to type away. After about fifteen minutes, I felt better. My inner critic stopped and was under control.
I decided then to check my Facebook page with a strict intention to find an inspirational post or article.
Soon, I saw a post from a friend of mine who is one of the happiest people I know. She’s on a mission to make people smile and to change the world, one hug at a time.
In her Facebook post, she revealed that she recently learned she has a rare form of cancer. And although she was shaken by the news, she realized it’s just an unfortunate part of her life’s journey.
Instead of letting the news get her down, she is choosing not to feel sorry for herself, but to accept it and make the best of it. Or as she wrote, “laugh with cancer.” Because why live in misery, if she knows her time may be up soon? She might as well have fun and go out with a bang.
Reading her post brought me to tears. It made me realize how self-absorbed I was that day, and how I wasn’t able to appreciate the good things around me because of it. I also realized I’d closed my mind to different ways of seeing things. It was all about me. My expectations.
When my unspoken expectations weren’t met, I made up stories of what had happened, which led me to my self-pity party.
It was a great reminder for me to:
- Not sweat the small stuff
- Pivot my thoughts to what feels good
- Change my perspective on the things that happen
- Refocus my energy on what can I do to serve others instead of being consumed with my own thoughts and feelings
Once I shifted my attention, the world expanded. I stopped feeling sorry for myself.
I realized everything that happened to me within the last twenty-four hours was not just about me. There is more than what meets the eye, and it’s important to not be so quick to judge and form a conclusion about a situation.
Often the stories we create in our mind are just figments of our imagination, and they do not represent a holistic picture of reality.
For example, my friend’s friend was probably asking me a lot of questions because she was interested in getting to know me. But for some reason, because I was emotionally off that day, I interpreted her curiosity as interrogation.
So the next time you are feeling sorry for yourself, turn your focus away from yourself, put yourself in someone else’s shoes, or look at the situation from a third person’s perspective.
You’ll be amazed by how changing your focus and your thoughts will help soothe your mind and get you to a better feeling place.
Sad woman silhouette via Shutterstock