A Bad Mood Day
A Bad Mood Day
It was a cold Sunday morning in February.
I knew it the minute I woke up – I was going to have the ‘bad mood’ syndrome all day. As if a dull, grey cloud of annoyance was hanging over my head, following me whenever I went. I would snap at everyone at home, everything annoyed me. It annoyed me even more that I was being like that.
The fact that there simply was no reason for me to feel this way did not help the situation at all. I felt ok the day before, in fact I felt pretty good for the past number of days . My life has not changed that much over the past twenty four hours. So why today?
But I did not have the time to ponder on such questions, I was far too busy … being in a bad mood.
What else was I to do? I just had to go with how I felt. After all it was how I felt. What’s the alternative to being in a bad mood anyway?
The alternative would probably be to sit down with myself and figure out why on earth I am so annoyed and snappy, but the minute that crossed my mind I got a knot in the pit of my stomach. Even the slightest thought of facing the truth seemed like too much. I genuinely did not know what was underneath it all, I just knew that it was BIG.
Bad moods have a long standing track record of effectiveness when it comes to covering up what is really bothering us.
By midday I could tell by the looks on my children’s faces that I could not keep this up much longer, that they have had it with me at this stage. I had to take myself aside and shake this mood off.
I have decided to go for a walk. The fresh air always helped to clear my head.
For the past couple of weeks I have been looking for a job. I came across something that would suit me perfectly, in fact it just seemed like a dream job. This was the day I was supposed to finally put together my application and send it off. I wanted this job so badly. I knew I stood a good chance of getting it, I also knew, that like with everything, there was always a chance of me failing and not getting it.
The possibility of the failure, even though very, very slight, suddenly became so overwhelming that I, not knowing to myself, started to resent everything to do with the potential job and the application altogether.
It was easier to feel miserable and sorry for myself, to cover it up with being in a real bad mood than face the challenge and go for what I really wanted. And it did not matter just how little sense this whole thing made logically, there is usually very little room left for logic when emotions and fear are involved. The more fear present, the more the logic is forced to jump out of the window. What is left then is the bad mood and other miserable emotions and as miserable as they feel they are much easier (even though a lot more uncomfortable) to deal with than the possibility of a failure.
Failure paralyses into inaction.
I had a choice to make and I needed to make it fast. The deadline for applications was expiring the following day. The decision somehow seemed bigger than just whether to hold on to the bad mood or not or whether I really wanted this job or not.
I also knew too well that nobody has ever been offered a job when locked at home feeling sorry for themselves, no matter how qualified for it they were. But was it really about the job? Somehow I had a feeling that it could be even deeper than that.
I tried to crack the whole failure side of things in my head. I had to figure it out for myself.
Then it occurred to me, what if ‘failure’ is nothing else but a notion conceived by a blurred mind of a self-destructive person who must have been in a very bad mood himself when he came up with it?
What if failure as such does not exist? What if it has never been real? If it is just a concept and a pretty lousy one, let me add?
The part of my brain that argued vigorously that it does exist because I am feeling it finally gave up when I remembered what a wise man once told me about failure, he said ‘Embrace it, as you can only fail forward!’.
But the failure was not what was hiding at the bottom of it all, as I was soon to discover. I quickly realised that the reason it had such a powerful hold over me (or should I say – the reason why I have allowed it to have such a powerful hold over me) was the association I had in relation to myself when it came to failure. If I was to fail that would mean that I was … not good enough. And that hurt like hell. This was the real source of pain, the failure was just the staircase leading me down the path of the painful realisation.
It was not really about the bad mood, not about the job or the application, not even about the failure. It was all about me deep inside not feeling good enough.
And as twisted as it sounds, it was easier (or safer) to do nothing, even at the price of not getting the job I wanted so badly, than to face even the slightest possibility of meeting face to face that, which has been haunting me my entire life – feeling of not be enough, not be good enough. The realisation of it struck me like a bolt of lightning! And I needed a good shake to snap out of this self-pity state!
Now that I did get it all figured out could I actually choose how I wanted to feel?
Personal choice did not seem to be a part of the equation when it comes to feelings and emotions.
I have arrived at this moment in my life convinced that moods and emotions just came and went as they pleased, very much the same way colds and flus did. I had no control over either and all I could do was wait until they passed.
Again, it would have been so much safer (though a lot more uncomfortable) to continue to think that way.
By this time I was hungry for a solution. I knew that to find it I had to be able to be very honest with myself. That honesty required me to admit that there was a different way. What if the centre of our emotions resembles the houses we live in? Just because somebody knocks on the door it does not mean that you have to answer and definitely does not mean that you have to let them in.
If a complete stranger shows up and you know he simply means trouble, you have the power of choice to say ‘No’ – you have the power to close the door!
It became obvious that I was facing a similar choice. I could choose to continue to feel not good enough because of the experiences of my past, I could blame my parents for not instilling enough self-confidence within me, I could remain angry with myself and the world for my life not turning out the way I wanted it to OR I could just figure out what the opposite of feeling not good enough was to me and start living the new definition of me there and then.
After all, if not being good enough was the source of all my troubles, then what faster way to deal with it then by living as the opposite of it?
I asked myself what should I substitute the old feeling with? The words ‘amazing, extraordinary, gifted, blessed, special’ appeared in my head. I have decided to go with them, no matter how challenging the task of seeing myself as such would turn out to be.
I kept asking myself, what would a person who is amazing, extraordinary, gifted, blessed and special do in this situation? How would they behave, how would they react, what would they say?
Well… talking about a shift of awareness and focus!!
Sure, the voice at the back of my head still kept whispering through its clenched teeth ‘what if it won’t work, what if you are not good enough’, but this time I was very quick to put it back in its place by asking it back ‘what if it does? What if I am?’.
Over time it started diminishing, it has lost its hold over me.
And the bad mood? Well, let’s just say that when I finally put it all together it did not stand a chance.
And the job? … I got it, of course!
Is a bad mood always a cover up for something bigger that is going on within us? Yes.
Is it always worth going deeper to discover what is hiding behind it? Yes.
Does it always relate to some unfulfilled part of ourselves? Yes.
A bad mood will always be trying to hide an aspect of ourselves that we perceive to be out of balance, whether it is us not feeling significant enough, not good enough, not loved or appreciated enough, etc. The solution to that imbalance is always within us, not the circumstances, not the people around us. And that is exactly where the greatest personal power lies.