Most of the time I am relentlessly optimistic. My inner wonder woman emerges when I start to feel beaten down, reminding me of my resilience and my ability to positively impact my little corner of the world. Typically, I find joy and connection even when times are dark, and I love to laugh.
But, Sunday, I woke up in a funk.
Call it pandemic blues.
Call it post-debate, pre-election anxiety.
Call it uncertainty-overload.
It was an injustice-fueled gloom and a smoke-filled malaise.
I don’t know about you, but when I am in a funk, I take it out on myself. My inner voice gets mean: I am not doing enough. I am not impactful enough. I am not a good enough friend or leader or (insert any number of nouns here). I am letting people down. I am letting myself down.
Here’s the thing: I would never, ever in a million years talk to anyone else the way I talk to myself. I see the good in others, even when they are struggling. I believe in the importance of self-care and self-compassion, and I know it’s necessary to feel things deeply, even the bad things.
In other words, it’s not the funk that’s the problem; it’s the way I talk to myself about it. I am certainly not alone in settling into a funk these days, and I imagine many of you also turn on yourselves when this happens.
I’ve compiled some go-to quotes and practices for myself in these moments. On Sunday, simply rereading these pearls allowed me to accept my vulnerability, helped me embrace how I was feeling, and enabled me to start moving through the funk and gloom.
I hope they are helpful to you, too.
From Tara Brach: Notes from a lecture on self-compassion
What Do You Want to Hear First?
- Bad News: As humans, we can become imprisoned in our own habits: the ways we habitually see ourselves, talk to ourselves, and treat ourselves.
- Good News: Our brains are adaptable, and we can change.
The Importance of Practice
- Whatever we practice gets stronger.
- If we practice self judgement, that deepens.
- If we practice being kind to ourselves, we get better at it, and our self-compassion grows stronger.
Forms of Expression of Self-Care
The essence of practicing self-kindness is to see our basic goodness and actively express care for ourselves.
- Beliefs: Believing in our goodness, believing that we deserve kindness, even from ourselves, believing that rest and recharging is important
- Actions: Getting a massage, prioritizing exercise, taking a nap or a bath, spending time writing or reading
From Brene Brown: Quotes from The Gifts of Imperfection
Gotta Feel It
“We cannot ignore our pain and feel compassion for it at the same time… We cannot selectively numb emotions, when we numb the painful emotions, we also numb the positive emotions.”
I Am Enough
“Wholehearted living is about engaging with our lives from a place of worthiness. It means cultivating the courage, compassion and connection to wake up in the morning and think, ‘No matter what gets done and how much is left undone, I am enough.’ It’s going to bed at night thinking, ‘Yes, I am imperfect and vulnerable and sometimes afraid, but that doesn’t change the truth that I am also brave and worthy of love and belonging.”
From Shonda Rhimes: Quotes from The Year of Yes
“Badassery: 1. (noun) the practice of knowing one’s own accomplishments and gifts, accepting one’s own accomplishments and gifts and celebrating one’s own accomplishments and gifts; 2. (noun) the practice of living life with swagger
Swagger: (noun or verb) a state of being that involves loving oneself, waking up “like this” and not giving a crap what anyone else thinks about you.”
“Badassery, I’m discovering, is a new level of confidence—in both yourself and those around you.”
From Mallika Chopra: Intention Setting Practice
Start each day by answering these three questions.
What will make me feel healthy today?
Nurturing our bodies helps our minds feel better. So, find one thing you can do each day to benefit your health. Whether it’s taking a walk, or eating an extra serving of fresh produce.
What will make me feel connected today?
Our relationships are the root of our happiness. So think of one way you can connect with someone you care about each day.
What will give me a sense of purpose today?
Often we go through our days, checking off things on our to-do lists and driven by a sense of responsibility and mindless habit. Instead, start the day by choosing one concrete thing that you can do to create a sense of purpose.