I’ll just say it. I’m prone to mood swings. When I’m happy, I’m really happy. I feel it perfectly and intensely and could almost spill over with the sensation of being totally filled up and satisfied. At the same time, when I’m upset, or angry, I’m perfectly upset or angry.
No matter the logic you use, you’ll be hard pressed to talk me out of feeling that way.
Feeling things is a gift. I choose to view it that way. It is what makes me a good writer, and it is also what makes me highly empathetic to others.
And yet, I have to admit there are times this doesn’t always feel like a gift.
There are times I wish I could not empathize with someone because it hurts to feel empathy, and because when you empathize too much with too many people, after awhile you begin to feel the weight of the whole world on your shoulders.
There are also times (when I blow things out of proportion) that my tendency to feel deeply can alienate me from relationships, disconnect me from reality, and prevent me from making calm, clear-headed choices. There are times when my tendency to over-emote can derail my entire day.
Recently I’ve been focusing on keeping my mood swings in check by reminding myself of a few things I choose to believe—despite how I feel—every morning.
The list goes like this:
1. The world is a good place where good things often happen
Of course bad things sometimes happen too, but when I start my day with the assumption that good things often happen, my attention tends to be drawn to the good things that happen to me and around me. When an outcome is hanging in the balance, this assumption keeps me from wasting time with needless worry.
Either way, focusing on good things keeps me from catastrophizing my life. Even if I have a bad day, chances are tomorrow will be better.
2. People are not out to get me
Assuming that people are not out to get me (that most people, most of the time, are doing the best they can) keeps me from overreacting when someone does something I don’t like, that frustrates me or hurts my feelings.
I can’t fully understand the motives behind others’ actions, but I also can’t control them. I can only assume that their motives weren’t to hurt me, and I can choose to grow—rather than retaliate—when I’m offended.
3. What feels like a “crisis” is rarely as tragic as it seems
The things that feel like a “crisis” in our daily life—missing a flight, running out of gas, being late for a job interview, even a bad injury—will rarely seem as tragic when we look back on it two, five or ten years from now.
I try to remind myself of this fact at the beginning of each day, so that when “crisis” comes I can stay calm and make clear-headed choices.
4. I still have a lot to learn
Keeping this in mind keeps me from the fruitless task of trying to change the mind of someone who thinks differently than me. It keeps me humble and teachable, and allows me to approach life with my eyes wide open.
It keeps me from getting frustrated with others who have a lot to learn too. After all, we all do.
5. The game isn’t rigged
I don’t know about you, but sometimes it feels like the “game” of life is rigged. Some people are set up to be successful. Others aren’t. Some have the resources. Others don’t.
The truth is we’re all dealt a different hand in life, but the game isn’t rigged. We all get out what we put in (we reap what we sow). The journey is the reward.
17 thoughts on “Five Things I Choose to Believe Every Morning”
I can relate to this… if I feel a certain way – especially angry or defensive – it is really hard to move out of it. When I feel something, I REALLY feel it. I never really saw it as a gift before though. This is a much nicer perspective 🙂
#1 I recently got married and recently realized that I am not as good at speaking truth to myself as I thought. I expect my husband to be the truth in my life, and life just isn’t supposed to work that way. I, too, have to CHOOSE to believe these things instead of waiting for someone else to convince me of these things. Dang, it’s hard.
#2.a In college my feelings suddenly burst into life, caught me off guard, and made my happy moments ecstatic and my hurt moments crushing. I’ve known for a year or so that I need to see these things as a gift, and they do help me help people. They help me connect with people, which I love because bringing them to healing is something I’m passionate about.
#2.b Because of these things, I’m interested in becoming a counselor, but also because of these things, I’m afraid of becoming paralyzed when confronted with so much pain and hurt that comes through helping others in counseling. I know that your dad has loads of psychology experience, and I wonder if with what you’ve learned from him and your own personality and experience if you have any thoughts on this, on someone who feels so deeply being in a position where they have potential to help others in a wonderful way but will also be in a very emotionally vulnerable arena. What do you think?
Thank you for this – very much relate to the “feeling too much.” Luckily growing up my parents were constantly reiterating that feeling are fleeting, and not to make decisions when your upset. I’m so grateful that they taught us to put an equal amount of importance on logic and emotions. But this is definitely something I still struggle with!
#2 and #3 are ringing particularly true today. I’ve had a crisis at work the past two weeks, and it seems no one has been willing to help me out of it, that I’ve been stuck on my own and that people are “out to get me”. I’ve been having to remind myself that all this will work out, that God is still at work, and that His plan will overcome any crisis.
These words found a perfect fit in my heart today. As a fellow writer, I can very much relate with having an overabundance of feelings, and therefore, my words take on the emotions of others, which in turn, makes them more enjoyable to read I suppose.. but sometimes feeling too much gives me a bit of overload and I tend to go emotionally numb for spurts. When this happens, I choose not to write, or save my words until I can find my feelings again. I always want my words to have the heart behind them that I am proud to carry. I love that I am “overly emotional.” It is a blessing. Your five tips are spot on. I practice believing most myself daily. Bravo on a terrific post Allison. I’d love for you to guest post sometime on my blog, if you’d care to. I will get in touch via email.
“What feels like a ‘crisis’ is rarely as tragic as it seems”
I’m one of those people who thinks the world is ending every time something doesn’t go as planned. And I’m talking about the minute things, not even things that have serious consequence.
Thanks for writing this — something I need to bookmark and go back to every time I have a panic attack when I spill a glass of water on the floor.
“Feeling things is a gift. I choose to view it that way. It is what makes me a good writer, and it is also what makes me highly empathetic to others.”
What a perfect way to encapsulate how important feelings are to not only ourselves but those we love. It’s what ultimately moves us forward. I love how you string words together.
“The journey is the reward.” Amen
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