What do you do that makes you feel better?

I am rarely struck to silence, or even given to pause before answering a direct question.  Sometimes I suppose it depends on who is doing the asking. But when my daughter with three children ages 21, 17, and 9 asked me that question after a challenging day (hers not mine). I was dumbstruck and hesitant and should have had the good sense to just text back; “let me get back to you on that one “. Legitimately she was in the pits and couldn’t snap out of it!

I am very lucky in that I feel good most of the time. Good, better, best, I am at a good starting point. Of course life happens and many things are out of my control, but I don’t have bouts of feeling bad or in search of doing or needing something to make me feel better as a general rule.   I know there is not necessarily a magic pill, or an antidote for a bad day or yet even a series of bad events clearly one right after the other mounting up when you are already past your limit. I am an optimist; glass half-full kinda gal. My optimism annoys my daughter. It is especially annoying when she is feeling bad, overwhelmed and not well.  She depends on me for framing the issue in a different way or the gentle reminder that I find myself saying more often as I get older “that this too will pass” . I thought this bit of encouragement was coined by my mother until I later learned this maxim was somewhat attributed to bible verses allowing for anyone who calls on the name of the Lord to expect that they will be saved.  So while we are yelling in the moment, be assured and encouraged, HELP is on the way.

While we don’t understand why bad things happen to us and why we feel sad and overwhelmed and not up to the task however small; it is in fact a temporary condition that invites us to be more loving, kinder, gentler with ourselves and others. The condition we are facing will pass. It won’t last all ways. We will be drawn closer to a loving presence where we won’t feel ashamed, and not good enough.

In 12 step program fellowships when you struggle with an addiction; they ask you to just stop for a moment and use the acronym HALT!  Ask yourself, are you hungry, angry, lonely, or tired? This could be a trigger for searching for a way to do something to make you feel better.  What you select as the remedy may seem to work for the short term, but it does not truly address what is bothering you.  You can barely care for yourself and yet you are expected to supply someone else with their most basic needs for survival 24 hours a day seven days a week. How might that even be possible?

When I want to feel better almost instantly; I pray!  It works every time.  Even when I didn’t know it was working. Just being myself was truly enough.  I have a conversation with the Love that I know to be true in God’s presence.   If I am feeling awful, I know it is often because I believe something that I also know is not true.  There is a bit of information that I need that I am missing or help in this situation to see the reality more clearly. I don’t try to talk myself out of it, I just lovingly accept for that moment, that is how I feel, and it is the very best I can do.  It is in that moment of deep surrender that I feel the love well up around me and something shifts.  Indulging in that space of unconditional love is what many mothers do so readily for their little ones.  It is a gift we can learn to give ourselves.

At times, it may be sitting down with a cup of tea, allowing myself a bit of grace where I am not being graded or evaluated by anyone. There is joy in what we do and who we are. I am grateful to have friends I can call on that I don’t have to explain everything. It just is and hearing their voice encourages me and makes me feel better.

Tell your story, what may have worked before having a child may look very different now. I would love to hear what you do when you want to feel better. What brings you Joy?

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