C all me crazy, but I name the various voices of my personality. My inner critic is named Mary. My lizard brain is named Louise. My “I’m so happy I could burst” side is named Paula. It makes life easier in many ways, because putting a name to things can allow you to disconnect from what you hear in your head as well as make friends with the different aspects of your inner dialogue. They are all a part of my sacred story. Your inner critic, lizard brain, positive voice and other parts of your personality should get named, too.
(Go ahead. I’ll wait while you give them names. Feel free to share their names with me).
Hey, World – meet my voices.
Mary. Louise. Paula. Meet the world.
Actually, you know Paula really well. She’s the voice of my inner writer and she shares this space when I sit to write here.
Today is Tuesday. I had planned to write this morning, for in order to post a new blog post on Thursdays, I must send it to my loving friend, Melissa, to edit no later than Wednesday. Melissa and I have known each other for more than 11 years and though we are face-to-face friends, we first met through our blogs. She knows me. She loves me. She knows my voice. But I digress.
So, this morning instead of sitting to write to you, my inner world was hijacked by the tag team of Mary and Louise. I love ‘em, because they are a part of me, yet both of them together can lead to a Very Bad Day. Why they had hijacked my world isn’t important. The important part is how I spent the day: I dove into treating my soul with kid gloves. And in a few short hours, I was ready to sit here and share with you Seven Ways to Deal with A Very Bad Day.
Give Yourself a Break
Be kind to yourself. Treat yourself like you would a friend who wasn’t feeling well. You can put aside your to do list and your goals for the moment and give your soul what it needs. I made an agreement with Paula that we didn’t have to write today.
Some coaches my encourage you to avoid any possible trigger, but let’s be honest here. It’s impractical to believe that you can avoid every trigger to negative thoughts and emotions. In fact, I can tell you firsthand that there is value in getting curious about and confronting the dirt that comes up. I encourage you to feel everything – anger, sadness, fear, resentment. Allowing yourself to feel will actually allow you to process things faster.
Seriously. I’m typically a fan of no complaining, but sometimes, it’s what you need. Here’s the deal, though. Spend five minutes (only five) either writing every sucky thing down or getting out by talking to a friend. And when your five minutes are up, ask yourself this: Is there anything I can do about this? If yes, take one small step towards changing things. If no, well, my dear, then make sure you’ve felt it and take a step away from the pain.
Don’t be afraid to reach out to others in your support structure. Call your best friend, she will listen to you complain (see above) – she will also help you laugh and she will be with you while you cry. And don’t hesitate to reach out for additional support in the way of a coach or therapist. They will help hold a sacred place for you as you work through the rough stuff.
This isn’t about a yoga pose, but an opportunity to really check in with yourself.
Take a walk. Go for a run. Turn on loud music and dance around the house. Release your sadness and pain and anger and fear with each movement of your body.
Love in the Moment
Today, I cooked. I stood in my beautiful kitchen and chopped onions and shallots. I sliced garlic. I gently cleaned portabella mushrooms. I savored the smells of simmering tomatoes and the blended notes of red wine with onions and olive oil. From the outside looking in, someone would only see the practical: a woman cooking a trio of sauces and freezing them for a rainy day. What I was doing, though, was a sacred ritual: I immersed myself in the moment of something that I love: creating in the kitchen. I find chopping vegetables meditative and the smells of olive oil, onions and garlic make me feel safe. While I was actively living in the moment of space and time where the only priority was creating savory delicacies for future enjoyment and nourishment, nothing else mattered. Everything else faded away. My peaceful heart returned. Paula began to sing and beg me to write while Mary and Louise retreated into the background. And I had a delicious bonus a trio of sauces in my freezer.
Cooking may not be your thing. Maybe you knit or garden. Maybe you are a scrap-booker. The point is to immerse yourself in something you love to do, for it will force your Lizard Brain and Inner Critic to retreat while you do something that feeds your soul.
You’re human and having a bad day is simply a sign that you are facing your challenges head on. I promise you that if you are kind and gentle to yourself that tomorrow will be a better day (Scarlett O’Hara, anyone?). Using these tools won’t wave a magic wand over every bad day and make them disappear, but what they will do is armor your soul with ways to heal.
(Image is “Coming Right Up” by Gil Elgren)