That title, yo. Yep. That’s my life right now. That’s my mission day in and day out.
As I described in my last post (that I didn’t even share on Facebook because, vulnerability), it’s been a rough year or so around here. I’m dealing with some major discontentment in my life, and I find myself just hating anything and everything. Yesterday, I had a breakdown before work because I couldn’t find a white cami to wear under my shirt. Yep. Full breakdown with uncontrollable tears. There’s your sign that something’s not quite right in your life.
So yes, I kinda hate everything right now. I hate living in this town. If I had it my way, we’d be moving back to Indiana or down to Florida to be with Dustin’s parents. But our lives are a lot more complicated than that. I hate being away from family and friends. I love my house but hate what I have to pay for it to live in this city. I hate my job (kinda…I mean, I like my job, but it has a lot of challenges right now, and I’m unhappy because I want something more and anytime a door opens, it seems to get slammed right back shut in my face). Parenting is hard. Really hard. Toddlers and preteens and co-parenting…it can all be extremely overwhelming. So I’m having a really hard time lately. I’ve interviewed for two full-time positions in the last two months and didn’t get either. I just feel like nothing is working out for us and that we need to catch a major break.
Of course, at the same time, I know this is all bullshit. Absolute bullshit. My life is beautiful. I have an amazing, supportive husband. I’ve got these three boys who, even though they drive me bonkers sometimes, are the reason I live and breathe. And they’re actually the reason I need to get my shit together. They need to see my happy and stable. They don’t need to see me so anxious and depressed and hating everything all the time.
So, how’s it done? How do we find our gratitude and love our lives when we really just fucking hate everything? (And yeah, no filter. Brené Brown and Danielle LaPorte drop the F bomb all the time. It’s a form of expression. Sorry not sorry if you’re offended.)
Here are my top 5 tips. And I’m writing this as much for me as anyone else. I always seem to know the right things to do, but it’s hard for me to follow through and actually DO them. Especially when you feel like shit all the time.
#1 – BREATHE!
This is number one and really the most important. So much of our well-being is associated with our breath. As a society, we are cursed with shallow breathing. Most of us don’t breathe below our chest. It stops right above our sternum. When really, we should be doing deeeeeeep belly breaths. Breathe in deep, extending and filling the belly and then filling the lungs and chest (and actually envision the oxygen going all the way up into your brain). Exhale by squeezing your belly in and pushing all the air out. Deep breaths release endorphins, help the lymphatic system, lower your blood pressure, and are a natural sedative. They help you calm the eff down. Feeling anxious and depressed and hating everything? Find somewhere quiet and just breathe deep for as long as you can.
#2 – Pursue your passion and what makes you happy
For me, this can be as simple as taking a walk, hanging with my kids, playing a song on the piano, or writing a blog post. We all have that certain thing that makes us tick and brings us joy. When you’re feeling down and in a rough cycle in life, finding the little things that bring you joy can have an immense impact. And at the same time, it can be the hardest thing to do. When we’re bogged down by the weight of life, even doing the things that bring us joy can feel like a chore, especially if we feel we’re too busy and don’t have time to do the fun things. But here’s the thing, guys – there’s always time for the things that are important to us. ESPECIALLY if we feel there isn’t. Refer to #1, and then when you’re ready, find your joy. Pick up a hobby. Go for a walk. Read a good book. Do whatever you gotta do to feel happy.
#3 – Find the gratitude
This is a hard one. Especially if you’re in a really, really rough cycle. Sometimes the weight of it all gets so heavy that we literally can’t find anything to be grateful for. We just want to grumble and moan and wallow in the “woe is me” pity party. Even I have a hard time with this one. “Be grateful you’re alive.” “Be grateful you have a home and food on your table.” “Be grateful you have family and people who love you.” Yes, yes, we should be grateful for all of those things. But when you default to such stereotypical gratitudes, it feels a little fake, yeah? It does for me at least. For me, I have to find gratitude in other things. Like, for the sun shining on my face. Or for the exhausted baby snuggles that come at the end of the day. (baby?! Ok, ok…toddler/little boy, but that’s hard to wrap my head around, lol.) Sometimes it’s “OMG there’s free food in the breakroom!” Other times it’s “I’m really glad my parents are still around.” There’s always something you can be grateful for. If you’re having a hard time thinking of something, then that means you need gratitude in your life even more. Gratitude is the impetus for positive change in your life. All religions and belief systems point to the value of a grateful heart, and I really think it’s the key to well-being.
#4 – Allow yourself to hate everything
This one may seem a little counter-productive, but it works. When you’re feeling down and out and you just fucking hate everything, don’t deny it. FEEL that hate. FEEL that discomfort and discontent. FEEL how dissatisfied you are with things. And then do something about it. I used to hate negative feelings. I thought that in order to live a good life and do good things, you couldn’t be angry or bitter or depressed. That’s why I always walked around with a smile on my face and happiness in my words even if they were completely fake. As I get older, I’m learning more and more that there is nothing wrong with these “negative” emotions. They pop up for a reason. They tell us things about our life – what we like, what we don’t like, what’s working and what’s not. We don’t want to deny these feelings. We want to feel the hell out of them when they pop up. To do anything different would be denying ourselves this human existence. The key, though, is to figure out what to do with those negative feelings. Are you feeling like shit because of things in your life you’re able to change? Then change them. Are you feeling bad due to things out of your control? Then how can you manage that? What do you need to do to be at peace with those things? Our emotions are a guidance system. Use them as such. But please, please, please, don’t beat yourself up for feeling bad and definitely don’t deny yourself those feelings. You’re feeling it all for a reason. Figure out what that reason is, and make the changes in your life necessary to make those feelings go away. Do you need a life change? New job? New hobby? New people? Do you need to talk to someone? Have some heart to hearts? Do it. Be the change.
#5 – Remember that you are a ball of stardust floating through the Universe
Yeah, yeah, so this one may sound a little woo-woo and hippie-ish, but come on…it’s true. We are made of the same thing the stars are made of. We are brilliant, Divine beings. We hold more power than those who control us would ever want us to believe. So on those really, really down days when I just fucking hate everything and everyone, I try to focus on this. I do #1-4, and at the end of the day, I remember that I’m a glorious Divine being. I tell myself my affirmation: “I am a carrier of the light – all that I think, say, and do expresses Divinity.” If you pray to a certain god, pray to them. If you perform rituals or meditations to connect you to Divine Source, do it. I know not everyone views themselves as the spiritual beings I do. If you don’t believe in any divine source or being, then just remember that you’re a fucking kick-ass human and that you can achieve anything you set your mind to. We all have endless potential, even when we feel we don’t. Read something inspiring. Watch a TED talk. Listen to a guided meditation. Do whatever you need to do to connect with your soul. Even if you don’t believe anything happens to your soul when you leave this realm, even if you believe you don’t even have a soul – do something (ANYTHING!) to connect with yourself. What works for me isn’t necessarily going to be what works for you. So figure out what helps you remember how awesome you are, and focus on that.
So there you have it! My 5 tips for loving our life and finding your gratitude even when you hate everything. And from what I can tell, lots of us are going through rough cycles right now. Hang in there, guys. We’re all in this together. <3