Inward and Outward

I’m not very good at hiding how I feel on any given day, which is rather ironic because I’m not so great at actually talking about my feelings, especially with friends and family or in a relationship. If I’m having a bad day, pretty much everyone within a 100 mile radius can probably tell just based on the look on my face. I’m a very internal person…things are always swirling through my head which can be a real curse sometimes. I’m constantly trying to pull myself back into the present. When I’m having a bad day or am in a bad mood, I try my hardest to pull myself out of it, I really do, and I always try to tell myself to treat the world better than it’s treated me on those particular days.

One thing I admittedly never have done though is put myself in other people’s shoes when I’m in such a mood. Tonight, I did that. I pictured being that person who passes me at Target and sees a scowl on my face or even a friend or family member. That person doesn’t know what’s going on in my head. They don’t know the reason for me being upset, angry or hurt. They just see someone who looks mad at the world and when you’re dealing with friends, coworkers or someone like that, who’s to say they won’t think that they’ve done something wrong? And even if they don’t take it in a personal way like that, when you’re faced with negative energy like that, I think there’s no way for it not to rub off on that other person at least a little bit.

I’ve actually been in those people’s shoes before too. In fact, I think we’ve all been on the receiving end of someone having a bad day or being totally pissed off at something that actually had absolutely nothing to do with us and I think many of us have also asked ourselves if we did something wrong to annoy the other person or make them mad. I think we’ve all felt that pang and residual affect from their bad mood rub off on us. I’m ashamed to say that I never put two and two together on this. I never thought fully about how what’s going on in my head might manifest onto another person, a person who completely doesn’t deserve it.

Now I’m not advocating we should all try to be perfect and never let our emotions show on the outside, that’s just not possible (or healthy). I’m still going to have bad days and have a hard time hiding it, I know that. I think the best we can do is go in with the knowledge that how we feel inside can very much appear to others on the outside. I think we can be cognizant of the fact that how we feel does in fact affect those around us sometimes. So maybe we’ll never be 100% at being able to smile even when inside we’re frowning, but I think the best we can do is try. Sometimes being aware is half the battle. 🙂

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2 thoughts on “Inward and Outward

  1. Hey Jackie!
    I, too, have always prided myself with my “objectiveness”; I’m always trying to think about why people are acting or look a certain way. Maybe they had a really bad day? Maybe their face just kind of naturally rests that way (mine sometimes does)?? Who can say, right?? Truth of the matter is, we’ll never really know what’s going on with someone unless they tell us. So I s’pose we should at least do them the courtesy of not making any rash assumptions. I get what you mean about the outward appearance, though!! Sometimes you think you’re putting up a good front, and then you go home and your friends were like “Dude, you looked like you were going to kill someone” or “I thought you were mad at me the whole time” or my absolute favorite “You look really tired today”.

    In in the end it doesn’t hurt to try and be self-aware during the low times. But at the same time we have to remember that it’s okay to validate your feelings and be sad/upset (something I tend to forget more often than I’d like to admit).

    Thanks for such an awesome post. I’m one of the few Loma Linda OT students that got linked to your blog by Sharon Pavlovich. I enjoy how insightful and real your various posts are. You have a way of saying things in a relatable way, and I look forward to keeping up with your blog in the near future.

    Stay cool! 🙂
    -Miriam Petersen

    1. Hi Miriam. Thanks so much for the awesome feedback 🙂 I think that’s a really great point that it’s ok to validate our feelings of being sad/upset. That’s something I forget quite often too! I beat myself up for feeling a certain way or being crabby when those are total normal human emotions. As nice as it would sometimes, we can’t all have just great days or be happy 24/7 🙂 Self-compassion is another one of the many things I’m still a work in progress on for sure. I’m so glad you’ve enjoyed reading my ramblings and appreciate you continuing to keep up with it. Have a great rest of your weekend!

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