Your fresh cup of coffee spills everywhere.
Your date cancels last minute.
Your dog pees in your shoe for no reason whatsoever.
Sometimes everything just sucks, all at once. And sometimes, the more positive thinking we practice and suck-avoidance we aim for, the more suck comes our way.
In these cases, when looking at something from a new perspective seems impossible, or when we’ve tried meditating for an hour only to realize we’ve been angrily thinking or worrying the entire time, there is only one thing we can do:
I’m not talking about venting to a friend about your bad day. That’s surface-level honesty, and it won’t always make you feel better. Sometimes it just keeps the cycle of agitation going because we just relive those sucky moments.
Instead, set aside some time for a deeper kind of honesty. Grab a notepad or open a blank Word doc and let your actual feelings out—even if they seem terrible, or you’re afraid to even admit to certain things. Suspend judgment and remember: these are just feelings. They are fleeting, they are often ego-based, and they do not fully represent who you are.
Deep honesty takes practice, as we’re conditioned to always say, “I’m fine.” If it feels slightly uncomfortable to admit something to ourselves, or especially out loud to another person, we’re on the right track.
So why does this type of honesty help when everything absolutely sucks?
It’s because a lot of times, we’re not actually upset about the things that are happening to us. For example, have you ever been in a great mood when you suddenly spill your drink? Didn’t you just laugh it off? Or maybe you were in a good place in your life and someone said something rude to you—you probably just brushed it off or forgot about it shortly after.
So when things are really frustrating or upsetting to us, it’s an indicator that there are negative feelings that already exist within us. It’s as if we’re expecting those bad things to happen, and when they do, they give us permission to smugly say “ugh, of course” and wallow in them.
If we try hard enough, we can probably think of several good things that happened during a “bad day,” but because we are nowhere near that “good place” emotionally, we don’t feel compelled to make that effort and notice those good things.
So ask yourself this: “What am I feeling that’s exacerbating my current situation? What feelings are keeping the negative cycle in motion?” Is it self-loathing, anger toward other people, or disappointment in a particular area of life? Is it a combination of things? If we can honestly pinpoint what those feelings are (and ideally, have someone to talk to about them), we will feel at least a tiny bit of pressure lifted off our chests.
Sometimes, it’s not hard to figure out our feelings—they might be bubbling just below the surface. Other times, we may have to do a lot of notebook scribbling or rambling out loud to a close friend in order to unearth what we’re truly feeling.
But even when our feelings aren’t immediately obvious to us, it’s worth the effort to dig a little further and become deeply honest—because it’s usually not our lives that complicate things, it’s our unresolved and ignored feelings about our lives.
Awareness is worth the effort, and it is always the first step out of a sucky situation. Face your sh*t head on—you will always come out the other side.
Author: Brianna Johnson
Editor: Callie Rushton
Copy Editor: Danielle Beutell
Social Editor: Travis May