We have all been there. Things could be going great, we feel that we have it figured out, and we have it all together. Then suddenly something happens. It could be an argument with a significant other, it could be criticism from a boss, it be feeling blown off by a friend, or we may not even know the origin. But there is a shift. Suddenly, we are hit with this overwhelming, overpowering feeling of “Wow, I really suck”.
In an ideal world, we would run to our therapist’s office and talk it through. She would ask us what triggered this feeling. She would ask us to challenge our thought process. We would probably leave feeling somewhat better. But unfortunately that is often not an option. Usually, we have to stick it out until our next appointment, which usually means suffering with this feeling on our own, and if we remember, telling her about it after the fact.
Hopefully, these tips can serve almost as a rescue remedy for those in between therapy times that we feel we really just… simply put… suck.
You have felt that you suck before, and it has passed.
This is simple, but profound. Right now you may feel that your world is crumbling down. But think back. You have felt this way before, and you have moved past it and gotten back to the point of feeling that you have it all under control. This is temporary. Think of it like waves that ebb and flow. Sometimes they will be rough, sometimes they will be calm, but it is not permanent. This is not just a nice sentiment, but it is factually based as history has shown that these feelings do pass.
Take a blank piece of paper and fold it in half horizontally.
On the first half write “What I feel happened,” on the second half write “What actually happened.” In the first column you can write whatever you want. But in the second column, I want you to write only exactly what had happened, as if you were a video recorder recording the incident at face value. Often our interpretation of events are not entirely accurate. The problem with this is that our entire day could be ruined based simply on an interpretation, and not actual fact. An example of this exercise could look like this:
While this may not help us immediately, if we get into the habit of documenting these incidences we can see how much time we waste on interpretations. Luckily, with practice, we can learn to adjust our interpretations of events.
Remember that it is ok to not be ok sometimes.
Again, simple, yet profound. Read that again and really let it sink in. It is ok to not be ok sometimes. How often do we feel like crap and then spiral into a thought s-storm about why we feel like crap? Will I always feel like crap? How will I live if this feeling never goes away? What if it gets worse? These questions can become meaningless if we can simply accept and internalize that it is ok to not be ok sometimes. And then, refer back to point 1 and remember that this feeling will pass.
Lastly, make a concerted effort to do something kind for yourself.
When you are thinking you suck, it is very easy to treat yourself badly. But make a concerted effort to treat yourself the way you would a dear friend. If she came to you and told you how horrible she felt about herself you certainly would not say “wow, yeah, you really do suck”. You would try to do something nice for her to brighten her day. Please please, even if it feels unnatural, do the same for yourself. Maybe indulge in a piece of chocolate, go get a massage, or even give yourself some time to guiltlessly binge watch a few episodes of your favorite show. Whatever it is that makes you happy. Just try to be kind to yourself.
As I was writing this piece, the old Hair Club for Men commercial kept going through my head… “I am not only the president, but I am also a client”. What I mean is, I don’t only help others through these times of sucking, but I have also been there myself. I know how hard it can be, and I know how sometimes it feels that nothing can help, and self pity seems like the best option. But, these points are designed to be utilized even when your emotional mind is telling you that nothing can help. I challenge you to challenge the emotional mind, and give this a try.
What would you advise your dear friend to do?