I’ve gotten pretty used to this whole happiness gig. I guess you could say I’ve settled in to my “new normal.” Today, when I was blindsided by some pretty bad news, I was surprised at how quickly the happiness seeped out of me and those old, sad feelings rushed right up to the surface. They were right there all along, not buried as deep as I thought or contained as tightly as I had hoped. That old familiar feeling of panic wrapped itself around me and squeezed. And it didn’t go away quickly, either. I had to feel it, all of it—the pain, the frustration, the anger, the sadness—all of the feelings I’ve been working so hard to keep at bay were right there all along. And I had to feel them. It was awful.
Instantly, I felt myself slipping back into my old mentality.
Why does nothing good ever happen for me? Why can’t I catch a break?
I realized that while I’ve regained a lot of my strength, the pain and frustration I felt before doesn’t just magically disappear.
But the happy me wasn’t going down without a fight. I didn’t even consider my old pajamas and dessert routine. I came home and put on my running shoes. New normal? Hell yes!
Off I went. Running has always been a coping strategy for me. I know it works every time, and I know it makes me feel better. So, I ran. Fast. Sweat, exertion, endorphins. They all supervised while I ran through my problem. While it took me 7 miles to get there, by the end of my run I had kind of worked it out in my head.
In life, you rarely get what you want and you certainly don’t always get what you deserve. You just get . . . what you get. And you have to be willing to work with that and take it in stride. Admittedly, I haven’t had many breaks in my life. But I’m working on creating my own breaks. And I’m not giving up on the idea that those breaks are out there for me.
So when something bad happens, it’s just a reminder that I still have some soft spots. I still have some spots that are always going to be vulnerable. The same kind of soft spots that anyone would have. I can, and will, get stronger, but I don’t have to be Superwoman all the time. As my good friend Lindsay told me, “It doesn’t do anyone any good to pretend you’re made of steel when you still have some squishy parts inside.” I couldn’t agree more, Linds.
Acknowledging my soft spots reminds me that I am only human. And it’s only human to have some sensitivities. Being aware of them can only help me to cope better in the long run. I’ve gotten so much stronger, and I need to acknowledge how far I’ve come. The soft spots are going to come up from time to time, but hopefully, they’ll just be a reminder of where I’ve been and a cause for me to celebrate. They don’t have to be a catalyst to slip back into those old bad habits.
Working through this setback is also a reminder of the gains I’ve made. Just look at how well I coped with my bad news today! I have to focus on that victory which is much greater in the grand scheme of things than the setback that occurred.
So I’m going to continue to put good out into the world and trust that it will come back to me in both big and small ways.