You know those mornings when things just aren’t right, when you may have had a bad dream but don’t remember it? You’re grumpy, you don’t want to go about your day, or you even feel full-on depressed. Maybe you’re laden with fear and anxiety.
Your actual day may not be ideal, but to have intense negative emotions – or the absence of any at all – is actually not about the present. I made a podcast called “Waking up on the Wrong Side of the Bed.”
You don’t have to just suffer through such a day. Instead, you can use it to heal from past experiences that set you up for it. In fact,
YOU CAN ADDRESS ANY UNPLEASANT EMOTIONS
IN A FRUITFUL WAY.
We are taught to think that most people around us are having good days. Or if they aren’t it’s because of someone or something else. In truth, every one of us has bad days that have nothing to do with what is going on in the present. Yes, every one of us! Wouldn’t it be better if we all shared our bad days – not to bring others down but just to be transparent, to be seen by people important to us?
A little background information: Our childhood traumas, deprivations, and emotional abuses are recorded in our brains. The way we handled these influences remains in our brains, too. (Create New Love: How Men and Women can Prepare for a Lasting Relationship goes into this in more detail.) Our “memory” makes us believe that what happened then is still happening now, and so we have the corresponding emotions.
When we wake up in the morning with these old feelings, what can we do?
If you know that an empty sense of meaninglessness, or a frightened-of-the-world feeling, or rage at everyone around you, or the desire for a drink or drug to change the feeling is not about your present life, then you can examine it for what it is.
If you have been to psychotherapy (most of you have, you just don’t talk about it) you are familiar with examining how you handled childhood neglect in order to see what is causing your difficulties now. If you hid in your room, today you may want to be alone. If you were praised for being good in school, you may focus on doing well in your work to offset a sense of emptiness or isolation or loneliness.
Now you can take those emotions that emerge unbidden and study them! They are a source of information that can lead to healing from those past experiences. You can grieve them out as you would grieve for the loss of someone close to you. Your childhood is no longer true. Those abuses and neglect no longer exist. Your brain is wrong now. You can teach your brain what is in the past and what is true today.
Invite the emotions of grief to clean it out of you, and repair your brain. You can explain all of this to people important to you, and ask for support when you explore the old emotions. You don’t have to be alone when feeling miserable. You get to learn that the isolation and alienation and separation are not real now. They are just “memory.”
At the end of the “bad day” you can appreciate that you have walked through one more remembering of childhood pains. You survived. Today you have a full life. Now it is even more full.