I have this faint memory that I used to be a really positive, laidback person. Perhaps it was an illusion or a dream; because I can’t reconcile the person I am now with that bright, upbeat person I was in my early teens.
I try really hard to be positive. I mean, no one I’ve ever encountered has willingly wallowed in self-pity, but over the last few years, it’s become increasingly difficult.
A former friend once gave me a pep talk/lecture about allowing myself to celebrate small victories. She told me that it was important to reward yourself for small achievements – like brushing your teeth – on days when it feels as if you can’t get out of bed.
This was an utterly new foreign concept to me. It didn’t make sense for me to celebrate minuscule things like brushing my teeth (something most normal people do daily without fail) when other people in my class were getting four hours of sleep a night and curing cancer (or whatever it is they do) in their spare time.
But then I thought about it and realised that maybe it’s about gaining momentum. Maybe you start small with getting out of bed in the morning. Then you brush your teeth. Then put on clothes (and maybe avoid mirrors, because that could get you crawling back into bed thinking, “like eww, what is this creature and why does it exist?“). And if you survive all that, you may even manage to step out the door.
Celebrate every step. Make that phone call you’ve dreaded for days. Go to class. Say hi to that person who smiled at you… The most important thing, I think, is to keep going until you reach your limit and then to stop once you have. It doesn’t matter whether that’s five steps outside your door or at the end of a long successful day. You should still celebrate just how far you’ve come.
Somedays, this plan will work out great and other days, it might not work at all and you’ll be stuck in bed feeling like crap. However, it is equally important not to beat yourself up about that.There’s no point in torturing yourself over things you can’t control.
Now, to start taking my own advice…
[Note: This was originally written and published on my old blog last year. I’ve edited it a little since certain circumstances have changed, but I honestly had no idea it would become relevant to me again so soon.]