First, I’m about to tell you how I learned to stop being negative. But before I do, here is one of my favorite immediate mood elevators. Ten minutes of tiny kittens and you will find it impossible to be in a bad mood.
Ok. So some shit went down today.
Nothing big. But. Well.
It had been a long day. Like, a long, long day. The last few days, I have found myself covering things that I have had to record and then go back and transcribe. Everything has been going great this week. Really good actually. But it’s been very busy. The transcription takes it’s toll, cognitively. Managing editor on vacation, everyone trying to fill in, which meant a lot less recovery between bouts each day.
When you have anxiety like I have anxiety you learn to take little breaks throughout the day. They’re not really grand gestures so much as constant miniature adjustments. A thousand tiny adjustments a day. I used to pace them by smoking.
I haven’t smoked in two years.
I need to give myself more credit for that, probably. Ugh. Giving myself credit for anything is difficult.
So even though it’s been busy and crazy and basically just really tiring, I got home and found that the three week long cable situation that seemed to have been fixed was not, in fact, fixed.
I spent an hour on the phone. My neck was starting to get tight. Looking back, that was my sign. It probably wasn’t the first sign. It absolutely wasn’t. It can’t have been. But it was the first sign I could have observed that it was time to give it a break.
I chose not to.
I kept on. I worked on some housework. I pushed through with tech support.
Should have poured a glass of wine and sat my tired hiney down.
I did not.
And then I was confronted by a really cruel person who likes to rub their “happiness” in my face because the person they knew me as when they exited my life would have blown up over it.
It was not subtle. It was not gentle. It was a great big middle finger directly to the face.
And I handled it exactly as they wanted me to. I became the person they knew before I realized that I could choose to be a far better version of myself.
They set out to satisfy their own unhappiness by passing some of it off on me.
And I took the bait. But you know what? I’m going to choose to see it as a glaring example of personal progress.
Because here’s what I didn’t do: I did not allow it to go unchecked. I recognized it. I arrested it. And I took responsibility for both how I allowed myself to react and how I would choose to react going forward.
Even a year ago, it would have set off a really negative chain of events, emotionally, that may have taken days to recover from. The work of choosing to be positive would have been entirely too much for me.
I would have said “oh see. I failed. I’ll never be happy or positive again. Might as well be a dour asshole forever now.”
I didn’t do that.
I regret losing my composure.
I am happy that I’m at a place in my life where I was able to rein it back in without much damage done. My ego may be a little bruised, but I’ll live.
It’s not “being happy,” all at once, all the time.
It’s recentering on contentedness a thousand times a day.
And here’s the thing about reaching a new level of wellness: it’s just a new bottom from which to start working up again. This person who keeps trying to bait me?
These two people, actually?
They’re beneath me. Every time I let myself give them the reaction they’re after I slip another foot back toward where I used to be. Where they are.
I like where I am now better. And I like where I’m headed even more.
So I’m gonna get back to getting there.
I’ve reached a point where it’s no longer enough to recognize it and stop it before it becomes a medium size snowball. My work now is to keep it from becoming more than a handful of flakes.
I’ve graduated from maintenance and now it is time to start working on prevention.
Time to start noticing the warning signs that come before stress-stiff neck and not get to the point where I can be baited at all.
But first, that glass of wine.
I’ve earned it.