“I used to think I was the strangest person in the world but then I thought there are so many people in the world, there must be someone just like me who feels bizarre and flawed in the same ways I do. I would imagine her, and imagine that she must be out there thinking of me too. Well, I hope that if you are out there and read this and know that, yes, it’s true I’m here, and I’m just as strange as you.” – Frida Kahlo
I remember being younger and not really knowing what it was like to experience low moods for long periods of time. I didn’t have a care in the world.
I had this one friend who I absolutely adored but over time, the friendship became quite draining. After a while, I found it difficult being around someone who couldn’t see the beauty in the world or herself. She was so incredibly creative and inspiring to be around but she just couldn’t see it. I personally, was so wrapped up in being young and loving my life that I could never really understand why she wasn’t happy.
I often feel that in some weird way I owe her an apology because now, at the age of 26, I do understand how she must have felt. She was probably even more frustrated than me for not being able to experience true happiness most of the time.
Life lessons since have taught me to know better than to feel ashamed or embarrassed when I’m in a low mood because everybody gets them don’t they? Recently though, I have felt so blue and I haven’t been able to shake it off.
I know that life provides us with ups and downs but the downs get the better of me some months more than others. I try so hard to put all of my little “techniques” in place (being extra kind to myself, eating well, praising myself for those tiny little victories) but it doesn’t always feel like it’s enough.
It’s amazing seeing so much positivity online but sometimes I just want someone to turn around and say “Do you know what? I feel like shit.” and then I can be like “ahh me too!”. I want more of those “me too” moments. I just want to be surrounded by things that are truthful and honest because they’re the pieces of creativity that I adore the most.
Recently, I experienced one of those moments and it was so refreshing. I watched a speech by Susan David entitled “The gift and power of emotional courage”. It was recorded for TEDWomen and I found it so useful. Especially this moment:
“Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not anti-happiness. I like being happy. I’m a pretty happy person but when we push aside normal emotions to embrace false positivity, we lose our capacity to develop skills to deal with the world as it is not as we wish it to be.
I’ve had hundreds of people tell me what they don’t want to feel. They say things like “I don’t want to try because I don’t want to feel disappointed” or “I just want this feeling to go away”.
“I understand” I say to them. “But you have dead peoples goals.”
Only dead people never get unwanted or inconvenienced by their feelings. Only dead people never get stressed, never get broken hearts, never experience the disappointment that comes with failure.
Tough emotions are part of our contract with life. You don’t get to have a meaningful career or raise a family or leave this world a better place without stress and discomfort. Discomfort is the price of admission to a meaningful life.”
My recent mood has meant that I’ve lost my way creatively as well as practically but this TED Talk was exactly what I’ve been needing. It was a little reminder that being low doesn’t mean that you’re a miserable bastard. It just means that you’re human.
You can watch the talk here.