[Editor's Note: Today we have a very special guest. Here, today, we have...a dinosaur! Yay!
Please welcome Rarasaur, Stuph Maphia™! Or, as I refer to her, Rawra. Rawra is one of my most favoritest bloggers. She is an excellent writer, blogger, and person. Above all else, she is one of the most positive people I know. Her personality shines as bright as the sun, if not brighter.
As always, folks, I humbly request that if you don't already follow Rawra (if not why the hell not?) that you head on over to her blog and click the follow button for hilarity and positivity delivered straight to your inbox.]
It’s human nature to notch our bedpost with the nightmares we suffered, rather than with the dreams we’ve created. These metaphorical notches are little imprints in our brain that add up quickly as we age, giving many of us the feeling that life was mostly bad times littered with glimpses of good moments.
In almost all cases, that’s just not true. It’s an understandable world view, but an unbalanced one.
In the case of any unbalance, whether you’re talking diets, finances, or perception– the key is to either increase the good stuff, decrease the bad stuff, or both. Want to get fit? Eat less junk, burn more calories, or both. Want to get rich? Make more money, spend less money, or both.
Want to be happier? Have less bad times, create more good times, or both.
Of course, happiness is a little different from financial stability or fitness. We don’t have much say in the awful things that happen to us, which is part of the reason they feel so awful. Making good times is a bit easier, but because of the notch system, it takes several good memories to override the scars of a bad time.
I know all this talk of happiness makes me sound like a princess in a golden tower, waxing poetic on a distanced academic principle… but I have known hard times too. Terrible stuff happens, kids, and ain’t nobody gets out of life without singing the blues.
Through the hard times, I’ve held to my belief in the basic principles of balance management.
Sometimes though, I feel like I can’t stop the nightmares being notched on my bed post. There are moments when I don’t think my good memories have the strength to fight my bad ones.
On those days, I ignore the two obvious choices and move to Option 3– I try to make lemonade from the lemons I’ve been given. Instead of avoiding all bad in the future, or stressing about making good, I turn bad memories into good Unshitty™ ones.
Here are 4 methods that work for me:
Kill the soundtrack.
It doesn’t matter how much you like a song. It doesn’t matter how innocent the song is. It doesn’t matter if the song actually reminds you of the good times before the bad. If it sets you on the path of digging that notch deeper into your bedpost, get it out of your life.
Seriously. The $.99 you paid for it is not worth the havoc it causes to your soul. If you have a CD, cut it into tiny pieces or cover it in glue and glitter and make it into an ornament. If you have a record, put that thing in the oven and fold it into a bowl. It used to be music– now it’s just one more thing you’ve survived. Let it go, let it die.
You don’t have to go full Waiting to Exhale on your household items, but get rid of the stuff that reminds you of your suffering. You know what it it is. It might be something big and expensive, or small and unassuming, but whatever it’s worth– you are worth more. Your health, your mental health, and your happiness is worth more. It isn’t your job to be the keeper of things. It’s only your job to be the best you possible. So do that, and burn the rest.
Name a drink, or cookies, after your suffering.
Bad things happen and even though they feel like singular, exceptional experiences each time, they usually fit into a major subcategory of “types of tragedy” — Attacks, Bad Choices, Illness, etc. You’re already going to remember those moments forever, so the least you can do is remember them as something edible or drinkable. It’s a way of expressing what happened without reliving it. It’s a way of acknowledging that it’s part of your life now without dwelling. It’s a method of establishing control over it. So name it, make it, and drink it – because you’re the boss and your suffering is only what you make of it.
Find a joke about it.
And last, but not least, find a joke about it. The internet is a vast resource, and we tend to use it to look up horrible things. What’s that rash on my arm? How many other people have suffered from this situation? Did you see that page of adorable animals looking sad?
Instead, look up funny things related to your woes so when you have to re-tell your tale, some part of your mind will be giggling.
See? It’s not so hard. Help yourself to a glass of metaphorical lemonade, and tell me– what do you do with the lemons life throws at you?