5:53 AM 26th December 2021
"What If We Could Reframe Negative Feelings As An Opportunity To Make Way For Something New?”
In our picture-perfect digital world, the festive season can bring feelings of inadequacy. 40+ blogger Claire Marie shares how she got out of the negativity trap.
I love time alone and am always surprised to hear people say it’s something they dread rather than enjoy. Christmas in particular can leave many of us susceptible to loneliness or feelings of inadequacy for many reasons. Maybe our older children are building their own lives and spending more and more time away from us, a marriage or romantic relationship that no longer serves us has broken down or we’re worried we’ll never find our soulmate. The rose-tinted toxicity of social media doesn’t exactly help matters either!
Without social media, would we spend half as much time comparing ourselves to everyone else and questioning whether what we have – or don’t have – is 'enough’? Surely the first checkpoint if we're so easily knocked off balance should be looking within ourselves rather than at the highly-curated showreels of other people’s lives, yet when we get a spare ten minutes to rest, it’s intriguing that scrolling is the first thing we find ourselves doing. I’m as guilty of this as anyone else.
But what if we could reframe negative feelings as an opportunity to make way for something new? After all, being self-sufficient means we have a clean slate to pursue new opportunities and do fresh things with our lives that we couldn’t possibly have done when answerable to others. That’s a good thing, right?
I remember hitting a bit of a wall several years ago. What made it worse is that thanks to my incessant use of facebook, I saw everyone else around me getting on with the business of life; taking holidays, doing things, being in love, basically thriving. I didn’t like the negative, two-dimensional version of myself I’d slowly become and I wanted to feel happiness, excitement and fulfilment, but I didn’t know where to start. I didn’t even know what I wanted my life to be like, and eventually I realised that the first step was being able to identify exactly what made me excited and happy. Once I’d figured that out, I started to doggedly pursue it. Two of my big things were writing and running, and since that realisation, I’ve made leaps and bounds in both, which has meant this has been my most fulfilling year yet.
Of course while working towards what could be, we have to accept and embrace what is. This is another thing I had to re-teach myself as I’d fallen into some very negative habits. The best advice I was given was to start very, very small, so I stripped things back to below zero and tried to be grateful for anything above that, even if it didn’t feel genuine at first. Lovely cup of coffee first thing? I was grateful for that. A walk with my dog I enjoyed? I was grateful for that. Eventually I started to recognise just how much there was to be grateful for, much of which had been staring me in the face for a long time.
I’m looking forward to sharing more of my positive habits with you next time, but my point is that although it doesn’t always feel like it, we are in control of our lives. We get to choose who we surround ourselves with, and what we do. If happiness isn’t magically given to us on a plate, we have the power to create it for ourselves. There’s always something to get excited about, and if there isn’t, we can either find it or create it!
I hope you have a wonderful time this Christmas, whatever it looks like for you. And remember, nothing is as perfect as Facebook or Instagram would have you believe.
Who wants perfect anyway…?
Claire is on facebook and Instagram as @my40pluslife.me