Today I experienced a total moment of defeat.
You know the kind – you can’t figure it out, your mind starts having an inner dialogue during which you beat yourself to the ground because you should be smarter than you just attempted to demonstrate… It got pretty ugly inside my head. And I was defeated. It sucked. Really, really sucked.
A few hours later, though, I experienced a moment of glory. Brilliance, really. I overcame, I figured it out, and I remained calm. Talk about balancing out my emotions. This was just as much of a high as the low I had experienced earlier.
And I learned a few things about myself in the process:
Sometimes, you’ve just gotta step away. Maybe you are into running, maybe meditation is your thing, or maybe you really, really love cooking. In those moments of defeat, the absolute worst thing you can do is spin in circles (metaphorically, of course – although now that I think about it, literal circles sound just as bad…) Seriously, though, mental circles can create a vacuum of energy, creativity, and power. You can suck the life, passion, and vitality right out of yourself. The best thing to do in that moment of a mental, downward spiral is to GET OUT! Stop whatever you are doing, leave the room, and do something else.
For me today, it was a long drive and acupuncture, which is my favorite form of meditation these days. Any time I found my thoughts going back to my defeat, I’d distract myself by finding shapes in the ceiling, similar to finding animals in the clouds. I’ve done this my whole life and it is so relaxing. Find your “thing” – whatever it may be!
Secondly, I learned that it’s ok to be wrong. I tried SO hard to stay afloat, to tell myself I could figure it out. The moment I decided to reach out and make that painful admission, I was so relieved. I’m surrounded by good people who don’t expect perfection from me. I should learn how to offer myself the same grace. It’s ok to mess up. It’s ok to get dirty. Sometimes that is the best way to learn.
I learned to accept help. Even help that wasn’t related to the problem. I accepted help in the form of a listening ear. I accepted help in my admission that I was wrong. And that acceptance propelled me to my moment of brilliance.
I learned to set my limits. By stepping away from the situation, finding some meditation time, and then coming back to the problem, I found fresh eyes. I found peace and calmness. I found the answers to my problems. It wasn’t a life or death situation. Everyone got out ok. No one was injured in the process. Life wasn’t as dramatic or disastrous as my stressed out self had played it out to be. By saying no, I was able to move forward and find solutions. Remarkable.
Finally, I learned that I’m smarter than I give myself credit for. This ties into the whole idea of grace, really. Once I gave myself a break (literally and metaphorically) everything was ok. I was able to fix my problem. I was able to prove to that evil part of my mind that I real can do it, no matter how hard I try and talk myself out of it.
Surprisingly, I’ve learned one more thing throughout the course of the day. I’ve learned about my mental state. I’m starting to recognize my mental “feeling” which helps me know when it’s ok to work on projects or when it’s better to sit and color. I’ve avoided time wasters today, which feels SO good. Acknowledging my mental and physical state is more important than I realized. I’m looking forward to working on that!