When I was a girl, if I complained of being bored or if I was in a generally negative, complain-y mood, my dad’s standard treatment was to order me: “Go run around the house!”
Now, I knew Daddy loved me, but I also had an appropriate respect for the man. The last thing on earth I wanted to do was run around the house – How ridiculous! Like that would make anything better! – but I sure wasn’t about to disobey.
I’d growl and stomp outside, where I’d drag my hiney one lap around the house, then head back inside to continue sharing my bad mood with the rest of the family. (Misery loves company, right?)
If one “dose” didn’t work, Dad ordered me back outside to repeat the treatment.
Eventually, after enough laps around the house, one of two things happened: either I’d forget what it was I was in such a bad mood about and head inside to occupy myself in more pleasant ways than grumbling to everyone around me – OR – I’d get tired of Dad’s “treatments” and decide to take my bad mood out to the barn or on a long walk back on the farm.
Strangely enough, Dad’s therapy pretty consistently eliminated my negative mood and my complaining. Go figure!
I’m 53 years old now, but I still have Eeyore days. I’ll be sailing along, happy as a pig in mud, feeling great about life, busy and productive, my mind whirring with plans and pleasant thoughts, and then – WHAM! – out of the blue, I’m in a nasty, defeated, can’t-get-anything-done, can’t-do-anything-right funk. That ever happen to you?
Yesterday was one of those days. I wasn’t feeling well (battling a headache and mild nausea), I was stressed about finances, I did NOT get to write, I worked late into the evening trying to solve an unsolvable transportation issue, and then, to top it all off, I ended the night with an angry, unhelpful conversation with my sweet daughter. Eergh! I was tired, hating life, feeling like everything was wrong and nothing would ever be right.
I needed Daddy to tell me: “Go run around the house!” But I’m a grown woman with a family of my own now; besides, Daddy lives 3 hours away and would’ve been in bed already. It was late and dark outside anyway, and I’d have probably sprained an ankle or tripped over an opossum.
Instead of running around the house, I went to bed and cried myself to sleep.
Turns out sleep is a pretty good treatment for the blahs, too. I feel much better this morning. I’m sure the nice weather and coffee on the porch swing are helping my recovery, too.
But still, I am left with this question: What am I to do with all those negative thoughts and feelings? “I will NEVER be able to write.” “Nobody really cares about me and how I feel.” “I am so tired of parenting alone.” Blah, blah, blah…
Well, after sleep and a cup of coffee, I’ve begun working through those.
Never be able to write? Well, maybe not NOW, but “never” is an awfully big word. I don’t need to give up hope, not yet. I wrote an article for the paper this morning, and a blog post. Maybe, just maybe!, I will be able to get back into my manuscript next week.
Nobody cares? I have an awesome team of princess warriors praying for me daily. This morning, not knowing how badly I needed it, Sue shared this from her verse-of-the-day app: “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (Matthew 6:33). There are indeed people who care about me. More important, GOD cares about me – enough to send this verse to my inbox this morning, via Sue. How cool is that?!
I apologized to my daughter when she came down for breakfast. “I’m sorry. I didn’t handle that very well last night. I am sorry I got so angry.” She said she was sorry, too, for not listening. She understands this is hard for me – it’s hard for both of us – and she knows I’m trying my best. She hugged me before she left for work. “I love you, Mom.”
Positive thinking does not always have great positive impact on present negative realities – bad health, stress, fatigue, strained relationships – but negative thinking definitely DOES have negative impact. Negative thinking makes more negative thinking like cats make kittens. I guess that was what Dad was teaching me, all those years ago, when he told me to go run around the house: if all you do is gripe and complain, then do something different.
If you can’t think of anything better, go run around the house…and don’t come back inside until you’re in a better frame of mind!
It’s a beautiful day today. I think I’ll just sit out here on the porch and write.