Life is short. Are you living?

Look outside to see what you can live for today

Recently, I wrote about making a dedicated effort to try new things to have a little fun, expand upon a skill, or to step out of your comfort zone. Whether you’re trying new things or indulging in old favorites, stopping to smell the roses and enjoy life is something we all advise, but many of us rarely put into practice.

I was chatting with a friend last week who is nearing 40, is single, and doesn’t have any children. And here I am, 26, and a year ago or so, I thought I would be getting married around now (a lot has changed since then!). As we recalled how we had both attempted to either set a path for ourselves in our careers and relationships or avoided one assuming things would work themselves out, I was reminded that life is short, and more often than not, we have to just go for what we want.

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How does it make you feel?

The title of this post isn’t just something that therapists ask ad nauseum (although it does make me chuckle when it happens) — it’s something that we don’t often think about in the most literal terms when analyzing our emotions.

Generally, when someone asks how something makes us feel, we use adjectives such as sad, happy, angry, embarrassed, afraid, etc. We think in terms of broad emotional categories, the answers we’re used to giving in addition to saying our day was fine, our weekend was good, and our workload is busy.

But how do you really feel?

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Charge that to someone else’s emotional bank account

Cut down on your emotional debt

When work has been hell, your friends are not being such good friends, and things are happening around you out of your control, it’s easy to feel down about it. You might feel sad, angry, or helpless. You might think that by continuing to truck along and do your thing, into work at 8, out at 6:30 or 7, a drink or two with a coworker, and going to bed too late, that you’re taking care of it.

I know for me, that’s the opposite of taking care of it. So when I am not leaving work at a decent hour to go home and work out, cook a healthy meal, and get to bed early, it affects me. When I don’t stop for a few days and reflect, or write, or cry, or make time for myself, it starts to all hit me at once — I’m emotionally drained, physically drained, and ready to cut someone’s head off — in addition to my own.

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Knowing and recognizing our emotional triggers and not letting them take control of us are two very different things. It’s definitely one of those “easier said than done” instances. Have you ever worked at something for months, for years, maybe your whole life, and then one tiny little thing that someone says or maybe worse, doesn’t say, seems to erase all of your efforts and suddenly you’re wanting to bust out of your seams?

Yeah, that was me today.

I’ve been working at it. I have. I had a great first step last week. I was so proud of myself. And I have been talking out loud about everything more, to myself, to my family and boyfriend and friends who care about me. I was making changes.

And then, “it” happened. A trigger. Without going into too much detail, it was the thing that wasn’t said today that set me off. That set me on a stream of tears, a stream of consciousness that went something like this: i’m-not-needed-recognized-loved-worthless-doesnt-matter-who-cares-get-over-it-forget-it-why-does-this-keep-happening?

You’re like, man, she sounds like Cybil! Nothing is worse than starting to beat yourself up and getting angrier and sadder by the second while simultaneously trying to force yourself to stop thinking about it and to not worry about it and to not make anything of it. Nothing is worse than feeling like an entire couple months of progress are gone in one instant, an entire year’s worth of work is unnoticed, and that an entire life’s worth of this SAME EVER-PRESENT FEELING has still not gone away and seems like it never will. And nothing is worse than 98% of the people around you telling you and showing you that you’re appreciated, but the other 2% (yourself and one other person) negating the whole thing.

Back to square one. Deep breaths. More hugs.