Sometimes when I’m down in the dumps, I find it better not to fight it. I find it better to simply embrace that you’re there and accept it. For whatever reason, this makes it easier to come out the other side feeling motivated and energized for life. I know it seems counterproductive, but it isn’t when we stop and analyze what’s going on.
The first thing you’re taught in meditation is to accept. Accept each thought in your head and let it go. It’s as if the act of fighting a though only makes things complicated in your head. Fighting a thought is actually counterproductive because you are fighting a thought with a thought. And that never works. Instead, accept each thought that comes in your head. Simply notice it and let it go. The best metaphor I’ve heard about this trick is if you were sitting on a street bench, and you were watching the cars go by. The cars are your thoughts in this scenario and you are your awareness. When a car comes in your sight, acknowledge it. Don’t look away or fight the urge to look at it. Notice it and then let it go on its way.
This metaphor is applicable to many things and I’ve been applying it to depressive low states recently. I was in a funk for a couple days. I was not myself. I was unmotivated with low energy. I kept procrastinating things that should’ve gotten done earlier. In the past, I would will myself to get out of that low state. I would punish myself by going for a long run or kick my ass in a certain way to force my way out of the funk. And that has worked in the past. Although now I feel like there perhaps is a better way than being so brutal on myself. Rather than kicking my own ass like with a harsh workout, I used the same technique I did with my mediation. I noticed how I was feeling, I accepted how I was feeling, and then I let it go. Now it feels like more of a root cause fix rather than just a band aid of a 5 mile run. I now accepted myself for all of my glory and misery, and set out to fix myself unconsciously.
Let me explain even further. Have you ever had a lot of Halloween candy just sitting around? And you start to feel bad by having a little each day and you feel guilty for it. You feel bad you keep eating it because you know it’s not good for you and it doesn’t make you feel good in the long haul. But you keep having some for those few seconds of pleasure while it’s in your mouth. Well instead of fighting the urge and giving in over and over again, I would eat the rest of that candy in one sitting. I would lean into that urge and eat everything until it’s gone. The idea behind this is that once you eat all that candy, you will really feel like crap. I’ll feel so bad that I won’t want to even look at candy for a long time. And just like that I snap out of it. The trance stops and I now look at myself clearly in the mirror. I see someone who is disgusted with myself for eating all that candy and make a change right then to get back to business the next day. And better yet, there is now no more candy in the house for me to be tempted. This was me but with my depressive state.
Instead of fighting it, I just let it happen. I even leaned into it by watching hours and hours of TV. I ordered food in instead of cooking and had limited productivity with work and my hobbies. And guess what? This made me feel like crap. I felt guilty and like I betrayed myself. I felt so bad that last night I had a mini epiphany and told myself that tomorrow morning is going to be different. Tomorrow I will get back on the right path. And I did. All because I say myself at my worse and knew that is not who I want to be.
There’s an easy way to learn things and a hard way to learn things. Sometimes the easy way doesn’t work. In that case, you’ll be better off learning the hard way. And that’s what I did to get myself out of a funk. You may think that’s easy to lean into a low state and do nothing all day. Technically yes it is easy to do, but it’s torture to see yourself like that. That’s why this is the hard way. Because it’s so hard to see yourself like that. And when you do you have no choice but to make a change in your life. Sometimes embracing your lows is your best option. Accept that it’s there, then let it go.