Have you ever woke up feeling shit for no reason? And you don’t even know why!
Many of my clients report this, and I experience it too.
I move from sleep to wakefulness and immediately I feel miserable. My eyes aren’t even open yet. And it’s there in the pit of my stomach.
So I’m laying there, and I’m already suffering.
Then I make it worse.
How? By trying to find the reason why.
After all, nothing has happened yet and I feel lousy. So why?!
I’m frustrated because there’s no obvious answer. I’m flipping through my rolodex of possibilities and coming up short.
This feels bad too.
I’m not just suffering any more. I’m suffering about my suffering. I’m not just down. I’m more down because I’ve no “good” reason to be down. I’m beating myself up for being beat up.
So, one day, I stopped asking why. It was a question that kept me in a state I didn’t want to be in. It was a question that made it even worse.
Nowadays, I accept that it’s raining within me that day. It happens sometimes, and I guess today is one of those days. I don’t explore it any deeper than that. It just is.
I ask different questions. I ask what I want to feel instead. And I ask how I’ve brought on those better feelings for myself in the past.
As I’ve written before, we are moist robots. We can program our moods with our bodies. When I do an eye crinkling smile, happy chemicals get released into my bloodstream. When I exercise, I feel better for the rest of the day.
I’ve felt better at many moments of my life. I need to find a small thing to do right now that has previously helped me get there.
“Why” keeps me stuck. “What instead”, and “how” help me get to a better place.
Recently, my parents went for a short holiday to Blackpool, on the north west coast of England.
One day, Mum was strolling along the promenade when a seagull flew above her and (you guessed it) did a shit right on her head.
It was trickling down her forehead and into her face. Not pleasant.
Of course, she could have turned to the question of why.
Why did the seagull choose do that to her in particular? What failing in her meant that she had seagull shit dripping down her face, yet everyone else was having a nice day in the sunshine?
She could have spent the whole day pondering that question and feeling worse and worse. Just like I used to do when I’d wake up feeling down.
But she’d have spent the whole day with a face full of seagull shit. And who wants that?
So she focused on how to make things better. She went back to her hotel room and washed it off. Then she had a lovely day at the seaside.
These days, I don’t waste time on why either. I accept that it is what it is. Then I focus on washing the shit off.