Self Care (and other friggin platitudes)

Gratitude is an attitude.

Think happy thoughts.

The biggest adventure you can ever take is to live the life of your dreams.

Be healthy and take care of yourself, but be happy with the beautiful things that make you, you.

Happiness is a choice.

Optimism is a happiness magnet. If you stay positive, good things and good people will be drawn to you.

When it rains, look for rainbows. When it’s dark, look for stars.

The purpose of our lives is to be happy.

OMFG Enough Already!

These platitudes make me want to scream. They are not, to me, expressions of resilience and encouragement. Instead, they feel (for me and many others) more like expectations. What happens when we’re not happy? Nobody is happy all the time! For some of us, when we’re not happy that feeling is compounded by feelings of failing at “don’t worry, be happy” and that leads to despair and depression.

Look, in spite of how it might look, I am not actually a curmudgeon.

These “positive thinking” or “positive mental attitude” platitudes just don’t work for everyone. And all the positive mental attitude in the world is not going to work when the working world ignores you, when you get told no dozens or hundreds of time, when you get ghosted time and again, when you can’t even get that first interview.

That doesn’t mean, however, that you lack resilience and it doesn’t mean that you put out less effort than our friends who are all sunshine and unicorns.

Resilience Defined

Resilience is the capacity to bounce back, to recover quickly from adversity. It’s toughness and internal fortitude in the face of disparagement or disappointment. It is every single job-seeker out there.

Resilience doesn’t mean we are happy all the time. Most of the time, frankly, we’re frustrated.

So how do we convince ourselves to stand tall and keep on keeping on when it feels like everything is falling apart? Hooboy, I don’t have the answer for you. I barely have the answer for me.

I know that, for me, I feel better when I’m busy. Yeah, maybe it’s a distraction, but I try to keep it a healthy distraction by doing things that move my life in a forward motion toward better times. I give myself assignments (apply to 3 jobs today, rework my resume, learn a new skill, whatever). I meet new people and I write blog posts like this one.

I try to acknowledge the bad feelings without letting them overtake me. They’re not going to magically disappear so I guess I accept that they’re here and just breathe through them…like getting a tooth filled.

I do find that when I let my brain run amok in the bad feelings, I tend to get panic attacks. In those cases I do the 5-4-3-2-1 “trick”:

  • Name 5 things I see around me
  • Name 4 things I hear around me
  • Name 3 things I smell around me
  • Name 2 things I touch around me
  • Name 1 thing I can taste

This trick works surprisingly well for me. Maybe it can work for you. It doesn’t fix the problem, but it relieves the panic attack. I’ll take whatever bits of relief I can get. I guess that is resilience.

I’ll tell ya, resilience is overrated.

I’m Practical

I guess I’m just a practical person. I like solving problems. I like strategizing and creating plans. Don’t expect me to be sunshine and unicorns when the chips are down, though. Happy is not a goal. Joy is a goal. Accomplishment and satisfaction are goals. Perseverance – a goal.

I can live with all that.

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Pam is an experienced MSP-owner and IT consultant. Most recently she was a content writer, writing about IT admin life and tech. When not working, Pam spends her time with her dog, visiting her kids across the country, and being creative with yarn (though she's learning other crafts as well).

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