When we’re starving, we want to eat. When we’re thirsty, we want to drink. So when we’re sad, we of course want to be happy. But it’s never as easy as stuffing our face with a burrito or chugging a tall glass of water when it comes to satiating our feelings.
Instead, we take drugs and drink alcohol. We start a new gym regimen or take up yoga. We immerse ourselves in a new project or find our next obsession. Maybe we even cut our hair, or splurge on something nice. The lucky and rare are cured, but for many of us, we still feel bad. In some cases we feel even worse, because a failed attempt at happiness is just a reminder of what went wrong to begin with and a confirmation of how we’re once again not good enough.
They say that when you hit rock bottom, the only way to go is UP. This is great, but when you’re only focused on the sky you can get blinded by the light. You make irrational moves in a desperate attempt to claw your way out of that hole. You slip, you fall, and you hurt yourself. We are always looking for a shortcut, but there are no shortcuts when it comes to healing.
What we fail to recognize and ultimately accept, is that it’s OK to take your time when it comes to healing. It’s not ideal, but it’s OK and it’s normal. It’s not realistic or sustainable to go from being in the depths of depression to Cloud Nine with a snap of the fingers. What is obtainable and less pressure on ourselves, is taking little steps to make ourselves a little happy. Or at the very least – a little less sad.
This is going to go against everything I’ve learned in the past few years, but next time you’re feeling like a zero, aim for a two instead of a 10. If at the end of it all you’re only at a one, it’s still better than feeling like a zero. Instead of beating yourself up for not reaching 10, feel proud that you went up a number.
When you really think about it, it’s annoyingly simple. Abraham Hicks’ Emotional Guidance Scale seen here is the inspiration. Next time you are feeling a negative emotion, identify where you are on the scale and then choose a thought or feeling that takes you out of it. Marinate in that new feeling and then repeat if you have the mental and emotional capacity to do so.
You can do this by playing your favorite song, watching a funny movie, taking a hot shower, watering your plants, calling your best friend. You can do this by simply taking deep breaths or just looking around you and recognizing that you have a roof over your head, clothes on your back, food in your fridge, and air in your lungs.
I hate for all you get out of this post is to aim low. One of my favorite cheesy quotes is even, “Aim for the moon, if you miss you may hit a star”. Just know that the view from a mountain top can be absolutely breathtaking.