Do you ever just feel “down” for no really good reason?
I’m there right now. A friend disappointed me. A project seems stalled. Cold weather makes everything about my injury a little more difficult. Nothing really major or life-threatening to point at, but somehow everything just seems a bit gray at the moment.
I don’t like the feeling, and I don’t want to just complain about it or wait for someone else to make it go away. I’m not a big fan of simplistic admonishments to “just snap out of it.”
So I’m thinking about some specific strategies for banishing this generalized “less than partly cloudy” feeling.
I’ll share a few of my own and invite you to jump in with some additions in the comments.
Give some gifts you can’t purchase. I’m thinking of things like a sincere compliment, credit for a great idea, a second chance, or the benefit of the doubt. Perhaps that friend is stressed or didn’t intend her actions as I perceived them.
Share something. My mom used to phrase this a bit more bluntly: Make yourself useful. Offer a thoughtful comment on a blog post. Find an interesting, helpful article and forward it to people via Facebook, email, Twitter, or other networks. Charles Leadbeater said, “In the past, you were what you owned. Now you are what you share.”
Intentionally say “Tell me more about that” … and mean it. Who knows, I might learn something useful from someone else’s perspective. Perhaps I can help someone solve a problem or clarify a thought or idea. At the very least, this brings me into the present, which is the only place I can really exert any influence.
Help others to see the rainbow. In the Bible, the rainbow was the symbol of hope. Help someone discover the glimmer of hope they can’t quite perceive.
Genuinely celebrate someone’s success. This consciously reminds me that I believe in abundance. Your success and happiness does not come at my expense. We all benefit when the circle expands, so why not take time to enjoy others’ accomplishments?
Forgive. Frequently my own gloomy mood reflects resentment over some real or imagined grievance. Some say “Don’t get mad, get even.” I’m better off with “Don’t get mad, get over it.”
You see the pattern, right? A friend disappointed me. My project isn’t going as I planned. The weather makes is harder for me.
Recognize that it’s not about me. I am not the center of the universe. My expectations, projects, and comfort are not what it’s all about.
When I acknowledge this truth I re-focus on giving rather than getting, serving rather than being served. I see myself accurately as humble steward rather than entitled owner. I get back to my core values of courage, truth, and grace.
The truth that the world’s not Rich-centered reminds me why I’m doing all of this in the first place.
Do you ever experience that general “bummed” feeling? What’s your strategy for getting out of it as quickly as possible?
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Copyright 2010 by Rich Dixon, All Rights Reserved. Used by permission.
Rich is an author and speaker. He is the author of:
Relentless Grace: God’s Invitation To Give Hope Another Chance. Visit his web site www.relentlessgrace.com