Sometimes You Just Want to Feel Bad

Yesterday I went to the gym, feeling good about the workout because I knew I could do it. Throw a bar over my head 15 times, then do some single-under (haven’t mastered the double-under yet) – I was looking forward to it!

Except when I got to the gym and tried throwing that bar over my head. 15 times. I went into it with an expectation that the ‘prescribed’ weight was fairly light, I knew I could get it off the ground and up to my shoulders. But unfortunately that wasn’t the workout, the workout involved yanking it up from the ground and throwing it directly over my head all in one motion. 

And that I could not do. Not even once.

So I stripped the bar and added a lighter weight. Still couldn’t do it. So I stripped that weight and added the smallest weight I could before having just an empty bar. I was finally able to handle that one, but I was bummed that it didn’t go the way I had expected it to. At all.

Disappointed, I left the gym and went home to get ready for work, only to discover that my dog had gotten on the counter while I was at the gym, and had eaten the cornbread that I was planning on having with my lunch that day. And then, when I went to change my clothes, I pulled my sweatshirt off over my head and got my hair caught on the zipper, yanking out a substantial chunk of my hair.

By that point it was only 6:30am and my day was off to a REALLY bad start! I wasn’t in full-fledged self pity mode yet, but I was definitely staring at the possibility.

Later on at work, in an attempt to make myself feel better, I decided to take a break and drive to Starbucks for my favorite coffee (blonde vanilla latte with two pumps of caramel please and thank you). And then when I got back to work to drink it, I realized they had forgotten all the flavoring and it was basically just a coffee with steamed milk (wah-wah).

Normally this would have sent me straight into a full, grown-ass-woman pout for the rest of the day – which is NOT pretty! 

But recently, I’ve started understanding just how much power we actually have over our own feelings.

They’re not something that just happens.

As an experiment I asked a few people on Facebook what they did for a ‘pick me up’ when they were feeling down, or when things weren’t going their way.

Their answers were all a little different, but ALL involved doing something that didn’t address the actual problem. Instead, they chose something that allowed them to AVOID THE BAD FEELING ALTOGETHER. Whether that was bingeing on Netflix (a common answer), or indulging in food, alcohol or online shopping.

We just want to do something that will make us feel better right now. We hide in something comfortable to avoid feeling uncomfortable.

Rather than deal with the uncomfortable feelings, we choose to hide from them. What we want is something that will make us feel better right now, so we hide in something comfortable to avoid feeling uncomfortable.

Have you ever done this? And does it really serve us? Do we consider the long term effects of eating all that candy or carbs? Do we consider the long term effects of drinking that alcohol? Do we consider the long term effects of that cigarette, or too much online shopping? Are we really willing to pay – in the long term – for the effects of all those habits just to avoid whatever uncomfortable, TEMPORARY, feeling we’re having right now?

Here’s something to consider…why not just let ourselves feel bad? Who says we’re meant to be happy 24/7?? Well, besides the internet, tv and radio. Every day. All day 🙁 

But, just maybe, we’re not here on earth to be happy all. the. time. That without the bad, we wouldn’t know what good IS. Without sad we wouldn’t know what happy is. 

“If we only experienced positive emotion all the time, we wouldn’t even know it was positive. We wouldn’t be able to distinguish beauty without knowing what ugly is.”

-Brooke Castillo
The Life Coach School

One thing I realized about my no good, really bad day is that it was all brought on by my expectations on how the day SHOULD have gone.  In my mind I SHOULD have been able to lift that weight, I SHOULD have been able to enjoy the cornbread (did I mention it wasn’t just cornbread, but HONEY cornbread!!?), there SHOULD have been sweet creaminess in my coffee!

Without me having those expectations, would my day really have been that bad? I mean: #1 I still had a good workout. #2. I still had another box of cornbread I could make. #3. I still took a break from work and had a nice, hot coffee.

Eventually, I just accepted the fact that my day was obviously not meant to follow the expectations I had set out for it! And instead of fighting that reality, or feeling sorry for myself, I thanked God and the Universe for showing me a bad day so I could truly appreciate my good days…how many coffees, before that one, were just fine? How many times have I PR’d at the gym that I’ve only been going to for 4 months (3 PR’s btw!). How many times have I taken off my sweatshirt without ripping out my hair with the zipper? (Honestly that had never even happened to me before that day).

Your feelings alone can’t hurt you, only your reaction to them can.

So maybe the next time you’re feeling disappointed, sad, frustrated, or even scared, instead of reaching for something to mask that feeling, something to make you feel better right now, just acknowledge it. Your feelings alone can’t hurt you, only your reaction to them can.

Learn to look at the feeling objectively, maybe even with a little curiosity…What triggered you into feeling that way? Did something (or someone??) not meet an expectation that you set for it? Or for them? Did something not go the way you felt it should, or expected it to? 

If you’re feeling bad, or sad or scared, it’s alright to just accept that it’s just the way you’re feeling for the moment. It’s temporary, there is no need to hurry and move away from it or hide. Realize it for what it is, that whatever you’re feeling is OKAY, because you’re human. Make your peace with it, and then keep moving on. Just like good feelings, bad feelings end too.

It’s going to be okay my friend 🙂

Thank you for reading my little blog 🙂 

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