The Two Sides of Life – Strategies

27 Mar

There are two distinct Hilary’s inside me.  One lives on the “right side” of life.  Everything is great.  I am woman hear me roar.  Everything is possible.  I am living my dream.

Occasionally, though, I end up on “the left side.”  It’s not alot of fun over there.   I can tell when the people I know are over there, too. They are not happy and sometimes not nice.

Life looks bleak on the left side.  Nothing is good.  I feel like a loser and can’t do anything right.  Everything is my fault.    And, my favorite is that I should be happy and I’m not so there’s something wrong with me.  This creates a downward spiral of feeling bad for feeling bad.  And endless cycle of gloom.

A few years ago I realized that I was “Tired of Feeling Bad.”  That’s when I created this blog.

I started developing strategies to get back to the right side.  i have added to them and revised them since then.  Here they are in case they are helpful:

1.  Let yourself be however you are.  Your feelings are valid.  Don’t make them wrong.  Feel them.  Don’t suppress them by eating, beating yourself up, drinking, or the usual way you normally do. I was surprised the first time I actually felt my sadness.  It was a physical pain.  But, once I let myself feel it, it went away pretty quickly and I actually felt free..

Bonus:  Give yourself a time limit to feel as bad as you can.  Really feel bad.  You will find you might get bored.  Giving yourself permission to feel bad seems to lesson the force of it.

2. Name the left side as a separate person.  Mine is Pathetic Patty.  I also have Sad Sally, Bitchy Bertha, and Mean Martha.   By separating them from me, I have some choice in the matter.  I can laugh about it to my friends. “Pathetic Patty is back.  Can you tell her to leave me alone?”

That lessens the seriousness of my mood.  I have friends “Missy the Mistake – 8th of 8 girls,” Lawanda the Loser, Larry the Loser, Stupid Stu, and Bad Betty.   Instead of feeling sorry for ourselves we end up laughing.

3. Vent.  Get it all out.  I always feel better after.  I have different methods that I use:

–  I call a certain friend’s voicemail.  Sometimes I don’t even know why I’m upset, but in the process of talking I figure it out.  I’ve been doing this for years, and now I am at the point where I just delete each message until I feel better and can move on.  She doesn’t even have to listen to it.

– If you have a friend who is a good listener, talk to them.  If they listen to you, they might offer solutions that you can hear that might help.

CAUTION:  Not everyone can listen.  If they don’t know you are venting, they might make you feel worse by offering solutions that you did not ask for, acting like you are just always complaining, upset or wrong, or just dismissing you.  Figure out ahead of time who is safe.

– I type in a journal on my computer or write on paper what I need to get out.  I can often see what I am making into a big deal and then take action to clear it up.

4.  Distract yourself – call a friend, go for a walk, read a book, put music on, get to work, etc.  Sometimes you even forget you were upset.  Sometimes you don’t and it’s still there.  Then, try something else as well.

5.  Geshtalt – Have a conversation with your other/inner self.  You can do it silently or out loud.  It seems crazy, but it actually works. I have found that one Hilary is being mean to protect the other Hilary because she was hurt by someone or something.  Once the anger turns to sadness, I know that I have hit the real issues and I am on my way out of it.

These are just a few.  If I think of more, I will add to the list.

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