Saturday was a cluster. Jordan and I decided to spend the day working on random projects we had been putting off for months. We woke up at a decent hour, grabbed a quick breakfast at Pike Place Market and started on our “to do” lists.
I swore we had been cursed by an evil witch as nothing seemed to go as planned. Just as we arrived at destination B we realized one of us had left our keys at destination A. As soon as we arrived at destination C we panicked as Jordan pulled apart the car looking for his wallet only to determine it had been forgotten at destination B. Neither of us are normally super flighty people but on Saturday we couldn’t win.
When Jordan grew frustrated I attempted to maintain complete composure and when I grew weary he did his best not to fret. You can’t have two people breaking down in the Home Depot parking lot or it’s game over! Looking back I find the day pretty comical. It’s almost as if someone took our plans for Saturday and turned them upside down Doctor Strange kaleidoscope style. We spent more time driving back and forth, retracing our steps and undoing our mistakes than really accomplishing our goals. In the moment the situation was frustrating, when we hopped under the covers that night at Jordan’s mom’s we were physically and emotionally exhausted.
When we tried to recap the chaotic unfolding of the day I could tell Jordan was getting frustrated all over again. Wasted time and inefficiency are his two biggest pet peeves! I realized the only way I felt as if I could “hold the reins” on the situation while maintaining my sanity was by spinning a negative into a positive.
“Today is just one of many challenging days we will face and overcome together” I said, hoping Jordan couldn’t tell I was faking optimism and enthusiasm. As much as I could feel the cough syrupy sunshine in my voice I knew I had to end the day on a positive note. I knew I had to look for a silver lining or else I would wake up tomorrow still feeling bitter about one bad day.
Jordan did laugh at my positivity, not in a mean way but we could both sense my over eager enthusiasm. It was a fake it until you make it moment.
Spinning the negative into a positive is a life skill I’m working to develop. I once had a friend who broke her wrist in two places while snowboardin. It was during this same ski venture that Jordan and I were able to get to know eachother because she was spending time with ski patrol. After the fact she was so positive, I swear she was like sunshine personified.
“I think I had to break my wrist so you guys could meet and get to know eachother” she said smiling. As much as I would like to thinking Jordan and I would have found a way to get to know eachother outside of my friend’s pain I admired her ability to spin a negative into a positive, to channel pain into purpose.
I don’t believe everything happens for a reason. I don’t see any event in life as “meant to be”. The human ability to seek meaning in pain is a mental coping mechanism. While I don’t believe all bad things lead to good things I believe our ability to spin it that ways is a remarkable feature of the human brain.
I hate the saying “every minute spent being unhappy is a moment of happiness you’ll never get back” because I believe in experiencing the full range of emotions. Go ahead and spend a few days eating ice cream and crying when you get broken up with. Write overly dramatic journal entries when your bestie betrays you. Light a few candles and put on a mix of sad Taylor Swift songs when you fail a test or get fired. Experience the depth and breadth of emotions this crazy life has to offer. But have a little perspective, really feel what you want to feel don’t just over dramatize it.
Most of my days aren’t really bad days. I am so lucky to live a life that offers so much more happiness than sadness. For me, a big part of perspective is recognizing I am privileged enough to call a Saturday full of setbacks a bad day. With a world filled with war and famine and disease and death…a few extra trips to Home Depot is so SO trite.
My solution: Allow myself to feel frustrated, scream at the steering wheel for five seconds, take a deep breath, close my eyes and spin the negative into a positive. Not everyday will be as productive as I hope, but I find that looking for the positive allows me to regain my composure, put the key in the ignition and keep driving.
Do you have any secrets for spinning a negative into a positive?
Don’t forget to link up with Kristin and I for Tutu Tuesday!