Yesterday was bad. No amount of positive thinking could change the circumstances that assaulted me yesterday. The facts which stared back at me at the end of the day did not equal “good.” The highlight (or lowlight, as the case may be) came as I was driving and my truck began to billow white smoke from its tailpipe. The engine eventually died, and I was left waiting on the shoulder of a major highway for nearly a half-an-hour waiting for a tow truck.

Yes, it was a bad day.

Something odd happened as my bad day progressed, however. I kept encountering people who didn’t appreciate my expressing what a bad day it had been. They said my attitude was wrong. They said I should view my circumstances differently. They said I should stop being so angry about everything. They said I needed to make amends with people who hurt me. Instead of agreeing with me how awful everything was, they started laying the blame for my struggles on me.

I wish I could report that I immediately announced the error of my ways, put a big smile on my face, and began to feel better about life. That, unfortunately, did not happen. I think I may have even gotten more angry. See, over the years I have developed a certain sense of duty to being honest about the way I feel about things. If I am angry, for instance, I feel as if I am being dishonest somehow if I do not express that anger. If I’m sad, I mope. If I’m happy, I’m smiling. I feel that this is being a genuine person, whom others will appreciate for his transparency.

ChangeYourMindCome to find out, though, there are lots of people out there who are not fans of this approach. In fact, they view emotional outbursts as signs of instability. They also view anger as toxic, and they even sometimes view sadness as situational rather than inevitable. They believe that reconciliation trumps holding a grudge. Most of all, though, they believe people can actually change their moods and their way of thinking.

To be honest, even on into the evening hours last night, I still wasn’t buying in. “This is me,” I reasoned. “They just don’t know what it’s like. They’re not having the problems I’m having. Let them get hit with some of this stuff and then tell me what kind of mood they’re in.” And if I’m totally transparent right now, I’d say there are still some of those feelings inside me. They were lessened, though, by something a good friend said to me last night concerning the way I was feeling and the counseling degree I’m currently pursuing…

“Would you advise your clients to do something you didn’t even think would work?”

Ouch.

Everyone all day was right, of course, to some extent or another, but that statement was the one that brought everything home. How could I tell someone else how to get better and actually change when I didn’t even believe change was possible myself? If I’m “just this way,” that must mean everyone else is “just this way,” too. And if we’re all “just this way,” what point is there in any of us trying to get better or be happier or treat each other more kindly? If I’m going to believe that others can make changes to escape the bonds of depression, I have to believe it for myself as well.

I realize I haven’t mentioned the song I’m featuring today at all. It’s okay. The words will speak for themselves. “Change your mind…”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cUO3wm9EBaM

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