Have you ever had ‘one of those days’ or weeks, or months, where you felt empty, drained, upset, uninspired, or even worthless? Of course you have! Unless you are a toddler reading this post to yourself on the super cool new tablet from Sprout, then I’m sure you’ve had at least a few hours of self doubt and/or inspiration blockage no matter what it is that you do (I’m not being paid to advertise, but these suckers are pretty cool!).
So what causes things to weigh on us like this? Why is it that we can feel happy one minute and sad, lonely, and uncreative the next? Part of it is that we live in a society where, despite (or perhaps because of) the rapidly growing number of selfies, people are constantly talking badly about themselves.
According to the post I recently read by Peggy Bert (found here), the ratio of positive comments needed to offset a negative is at least 2-to-1 in our most basic relationships. If you look at closer relationships, such as partners, parents, siblings, etc. the ratio can move up much higher, even up to 5 positive acts or comments required to offset every 1 negative.
So here is my question: If a negative comment from a boss, coworker, or friend needs at least 2 positives to offset that vibe…how many more does it take to offset a negative personal comment? How quickly can you shake it off when it is YOU doing the sniping at yourself? I understand being bogged down, feeling anxious or trapped or claustrophobic in your own skin. In fact, that was yesterday for me. I have a lot of those days, my personal history includes some things that tend to sometimes make those days nightmares in my own mind. I’m sure most of us have those. It becomes more difficult to listen to my friends, my daughter’s sweet “You’re the Best Mama EVA” seems fake, and I want to throw all my clothes in the trash, burn them along with my writing notebooks, and run far away (well, drive in an air conditioned vehicle…but far far away). But eventually I have to just stop. I look around and see that, yes, there are more clothes to fold (shouldn’t have thrown them all on the floor…), yes, there are more dishes to wash, and ohmygoodness yes there are more toys to put away (HOW, HOW DID SHE GET SO MANY???), but there are also happy little monkey noises, a one eyed lop sided old rottie grinning at me, and the dragons in my head clamoring for attention.
Maybe I’m not a size 10, maybe I’m not one of those girls, and yeah, maybe I am a big ol’ nerdy nerd who stays at home most of the time. But when I stop to look at what I have and what I do…I am pretty okie dokie; and, when I start doing positive things for myself, other positive things seem to follow. For example, for no good reason at all I got up last Saturday, did my hair and makeup, and put on a cute new dress. I thought I was staying at home, but it made me feel good. Mom, Monkey, and myself wound up wondering around town, getting compliments on how cute we all are, and finding an adorable little retro antique child’s ironing board!
Sometimes all it takes is a break. Yesterday, I got a babysitter (Thanks MOM!), went to lunch, met up with a good friend, hung out talking about my writing and his awesome new wife, and slowly without even trying, the weird angry paranoid sadness started melting away. I even got to go out again last night to watch Inside Out, and I woke up this morning with a smile on my face and the energy to do more today.
Happiness is infectious, so is negativity. When you are upset, the people around you are brought down and negativity can flow more easily. When you have a tendency to cut yourself or others down, even in jest, other people see and reciprocate in like manners. But if you let yourself think positively, even though it is HARD sometimes, then the people around you will notice that too.
Just a little sappy, happy pep talk to start your day off. I hope that it is full of joy, positive actions and comments, and blessings! May your inspiration flow and the river of your dreams never run dry!