Acknowledge undulation in your life

The two biggest lies we can tell ourselves are "Things will always be awesome forever" and "Things will always be awful forever". On the high of a great new thing or the low of depression it can be so easy to view the present feeling as the true nature of the world, rather than as the current weather.

By forgetting that these peaks and troughs are just that, exceptional highs and lows from our normal levels, we cut ourselves off from treasuring the best moments as truly precious and from taking hope in the worst moments that this too shall pass. Delusion and despair come when you lose track of the sweep of your life and of your capabilities to get through the full spectrum of your experiences.

As C.S. Lewis put it in The Screwtape Letters, "periods of emotional and bodily richness and liveliness will alternate with periods of numbness and poverty". Embrace this; there are valuable lessons to be learned in both states.

Extreme joy is a wonderful thing and well worth attempting to bring into your life more often, but its intensity can also leave you appreciating the quiet pleasures of your normal, middle-of-the-road days. Being extremely up also has a risk of shielding you from a realistic assessment of some problems and how you might perhaps be contributing to them. Deep gloom walls you off from daily satisfactions and from believing in your own worth and the skills you have which can elevate you out of the doldrums or improve your day-to-day life. But depression also is when your good habits have the greatest chance to show how fully you've brought them into your nature; when ya don't wanna do what's good for you, but you go ahead and do it anyway, that is when you show your greatest strength.

When you return to your default footing is when you have the greatest perspective and the greatest opportunity to contrast your perception while at the extremes with your present, more clear-headed view. Ordinary days offer you the most opportunity to identify the changes you want to make in your life and give you the most balanced set of your strengths to bring those changes into reality.

Return to the big picture often—journals or mood logs help build that bridge between the highs and lows—and keep reaffirming your happy dreams and your ability to make them come true!

Author: dinahsanders

Author. Discardian. Defender of life, liberty, & the pursuit of happiness. she/her

2 thoughts on “Acknowledge undulation in your life”

  1. I found this at a perfect time. Thank you! It’s been a difficult few years for me, these past months especially difficult. As I was taking out the trash and recycling this morning I was thinking about how I really need things to shift and not stay this way. Reading “this too shall pass” (such a common, simple and true phrase) was grounding. And “when ya don’t wanna do what’s good for you, but you go ahead and do it anyway, that is when you show your greatest strength” made me proud that I took out the recycling! A chore I hate! Go me! It really helped to be reminded that I have the capacity to get through this, one foot in front of the other, and the grace of small chores completed is something to be treasured. I’m about to start a big purge (it has to be big) in the next few weeks and I know your advice is going to help.
    P.S. We met once, on a plane, in 2007 or ’08, on the way to SXSW. (:

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  2. I am so glad to hear you’re keeping yourself moving through the gritty times on to happier ground. It’s super tough work; don’t stop acknowledging that you are achieving something hard as you get through it all.
    It always makes me smile to hear other people’s favorite and most loathed chores; they’re always different. I actually like taking out trash and recycling, but hate scrubbing the porcelain and vacuuming. 😀
    Yay, SXSW!
    (That phrase ‘this too shall pass’ made me have to go watch the video for Ok Go’s song of that name:

    )

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