Oh, no! A time of reflection! Old-Year’s Blues

You’re too authentic to “just be grateful.” If you tell yourself “you should just be grateful” too much, how will you ever learn what actually makes you feel grateful, happy, curious, or alive?

It’s hard to remember the last time you were happy – truly, deeply happy inside – if, even then, you didn’t feel lovable, didn’t really believe happiness was okay for you to feel.

Not feeling safe to be happy on your own?

Can’t feign gratitude

It’s torture to berate yourself for not being part of a happy couple. That kind of thinking retroactively puts blissful calm and confidence off-limits. Makes aliveness into something only a lover can bestow upon you. From the outside.

It’s a chicken-or-the-egg problem.

If the love of someone else — anyone but you — seems necessary for you to come alive, IRONICALLY, that lover might never come, because you know that neither you, nor I are attractive unless we’re at least a little alive to begin with. (Getting hit on the moment you’re no longer single, am I right?)

That vicious cycle sucks!

Assuming you’re used to hearing you’re “being hard on yourself” and disagreeing because you simply have certain expectations… being hard on yourself is semi-desirable, chronic, and not something you’re about to quit.

So how to deal with days (or years) that feel wasted, devoid of AUTHENTIC gratitude?

There are many ways to deal, cope, and soothe… There are also many ways to actually heal what’s going on once and for all.

In this impersonal, remote, a-synchronous medium, I can share one of the ways to both learn what makes you happy, and come more and more alive. It can result in teensy bits of love slipping into your life unannounced, in an unforced, cumulative way.

It’s especially effective if/when your day feels wasted, and nothing you do makes you happy or lasts.

Don’t reflect on a whole year

The way I was used to reflect back on things made them worse, until I did this. Just one day, or even an evening, is enough to surprise you.

I hate lists. I know first-hand they can be friggin’ painful. This is a list BUT hear me out: it gets less painful WHILE you make it, and it can be over and done with as fast as you can scribble a one-sheet-long list of words in illegible chicken-scratch on your nightstand or bathroom vanity before bed.

No re-reading.
No referencing it later.
Just live writing.

It can help you sleep tonight

It’s a list of COMPLAINTS AND accomplishments, all mixed together, in no order, with no rhyme or reason, for no other purpose than to slow your whip-smart, whip-lashing thoughts with your pen.

Here’s the trick: I leave a big margin in front of things, like this

“I ate three meals”

or
“I had food”

That way, when I find myself complaining “EAT BETTER!”

no worries…

I can write in the margin in front of it and change the demanding, shaming instructions into a minor accomplishment:

   “I noticed I seem to want to         EAT BETTER!”

That’s it? What good does that do?

It’s not simple, actually! Try it!

It’s HARD to just add something in front that renders a spontaneous complaint/wish/self-ridicule into something past-tense and complete.

Makes a To Do a “Ta-Da.”

Done.

“I want to be less antsy” can become
“I NOTICED I want to be less antsy.”

Making it past tense, memories come to mind of how you actually did accomplish that just a teeny tiny bit today. In the past. In retrospect.

Is this a New Year’s resolution?

No.

It’s actually one of many ways to prove why New Year’s resolutions don’t stick.

It’s a thing that immediately (as if through a kind of mental back door) can let aliveness in. It can help all the resolutions and things you want, actually happen more naturally, without force.

I don’t dare suggest you make 365 of these.

I do a TaDa list on an as-needed basis, a.k.a. when I’m down on myself and dissatisfied for long enough to realize it.

Sound painful?

You tell me.

They say “happiness is an inside job,” but many things are in there besides just happiness. Things that get in the way. Things that want attention first, and leap onto the page.

Let them. What if you suspend disbelief for 4 minutes just this once? What if these “unhappinesses” actually need present-tense room and attention first, before they can move on, into the past tense?

Sure, it seems “painful” in the beginning because it’s not drinking, it’s not drugs, it’s not TV. But it doesn’t CAUSE pain any more than looking at a cut causes blood. Watching TV or numbing some other way only leaves your pain to fester, inflame, and get nasty.

In the beginning, I did 1/day most days for a few months on end.

More and more often, I only need TaDa list 1 day/every few months.

Watch out for resolutions

Even if you intend to do it daily, some lists will still be like:

                                                                              ”  I didn’t make I noticed Today that I haven’t made a TaDa list for 3 months. “

I’m trying.  I started one. Just now. “

Simple. Not Easy.

There are other ways. This is just one. If it doesn’t help you, I hope you complain using the form. I’m serious. Complaining to your own satisfaction is a teachable skill.

Done well, complaining can make you smarter and more capable, believe it or not.

Please complain to me/someone else who’ll actually listen better than you can, yet, to yourself.

Some things are too big for just one body to hold.

Happy to help

No need to be vulnerable with strangers: you can stay in the shadows and still get good stuff from a late-Feb thing I’m doing. Please come!
It’s called “First Aid for Heartache — How to Stop the Bleeding.”

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Comment & Subscribe to
Rational Hearts

I'll send you my article on
Why Smarts Make It Hard to Connect from the Heart

and my pet-peeve e-zine for polymath men:

    Optional: Smart-guy Pet-peeve Justification eZine. (Your info won't be shared. Ever.)