Why you may not be feeling your best

I am generally a positive person. As a teenager, my daughter wrote in my Mother’s Day card (her gift was a book, The Pig of Happiness): ‘You remind me of the pig of happiness most of the time. Although your optimistic outlook on life can sometimes be a bit annoying, it usually cheers me up.’

We laugh about this message, now she is in her thirties. I am generally optimistic, but like all people, I have days when a little sadness descends and I question my self-worth. I am fortunate that these moments do not last long, unlike depression, which can be very debilitating. 

Those days when I don’t feel like the pig of happiness can usually be attributed to: 

Being tired

Feeling burnt out

Another person’s bad mood impacting on me

Thoughtless or hurtful remarks made by friends or acquaintances.

Being tired or burnt out is easy to fix when we are in control of our own time. It is not so easy for parents of young children, carers, and those working long hours in a demanding job. Recognising when we need some self-care is the first step to renewing our energy and lifting our mood. 

I have written previous posts on burn-out: Restore and Renew the Creative Spirit

And self-care: My D.I.Y. Spa Day

When someone we live with, or love, is unhappy or angry, we can absorb some of their mood. We might empathise becoming low ourselves or, when anger is released in a non-discriminatory way, react with anger. When this happens to me, I try to make time to do things that fill me with joy: walks by the sea, writing, meeting girlfriends for coffee, yoga, or spin. We can be kind, compassionate, and supportive, but it is important to show ourselves the same love as we do our loved one. 

Recently, I have become aware of how other people’s envy or discontent impact me. Like all traits, there are positive and negative sides. The positive: I always look for the best in people. I am forgiving and loyal. The negative: I am too trusting and do not always protect myself from people who do not wish me well.

My positive, joyful approach to life can make others feel envious. I must have something that they don’t – better health, more money, more opportunity. If I can achieve things they cannot, then I must have more than my share of good fortune, and it’s not fair.

Instead of nurturing their own light, they try to diminish mine. An example of this is a workshop I attended a year ago. We all talked about our experience of lockdown. It was a small group of participants and the intention was for us all to feel safe and supported as we reflected on the previous year and set our intentions for the next. When it was my turn, I spoke about the books I had published, and my podcast – how I had to learn new skills, my anxiety about marketing my books and uncertainty about the future.

A woman, unknown to me, said, ‘Do you know how that makes me feel? It makes me think you cannot possibly have achieved all of that. It makes me feel angry. Envious. Jealous. I’m just putting it out there, as others may feel the same.’

There was complete silence. The facilitator did not pick her up on her hurtful remark and we moved on to the next person. Although I was upset by her comment, I am also grateful. Not to that woman. She was unkind. But it reflected words and actions directed at me at other times in my life. Sadly, some people, particularly other women, focus on a person’s success as a measure of their failure, fuelling a hatred towards that person. 

Image by Jim Olah from Pixabay

Partners too, can resent it when we grow, fulfilling our dreams, as they might feel left behind and resentful. This is not my experience, but I have seen it happen.

When we recognise negative energy in another person, we can protect ourselves by understanding where it is coming from and not reacting.

However, it is not always easy to recognise. There have been a few occasions when I have been deceived into believing a person is my friend despite being disappointed repeatedly by their actions and words. Why do we do that? My mother would get frustrated with me when, as a teenager, I failed to see through the false friendship of a friend who repeatedly treated me with a lack of respect or consideration. In my case, I blamed myself and thought I wasn’t good enough. 

Often, memories from our formative years influence how we react to people who are false friends. For example, as a child, I desperately wanted my father’s approval. 

Friends or acquaintances may drop comments into a conversation intended to tip you off balance. I heard an interview with Catherine Cookson many years ago. She was surprised and hurt at the reaction of friends and neighbours when, after many years of struggling as an author, she had success. ‘I thought that they would be pleased for me,’ she said. 

There will always be people who want to dim our light. There will always be people who cast a shadow. Protect yourself by going inward. Remind yourself that you are loved. You are exactly where you need to be on your journey. You are enough. 

When Hamza Yassin won Strictly Come Dancing in 2022, he shared three life lessons. The first was:

Surround yourself with people whose eyes light up when you enter the room.

I am blessed to have many wonderful, loyal, kind, and supportive friends. 

We will all have days when we feel a little sad, or not at our best. Take time out to self-care. Be your own best-friend. Because you are precious. Never stop shining your beautiful light.

Image by Sarah Richter from Pixabay

9 thoughts on “Why you may not be feeling your best

  1. A truth rarely spoken Deborah! I have been on both sides of the coin, the envier and the envied! I think it is particularly difficult to deal with being envied if you are a people pleaser or if you have never felt envy and don’t understand what is annoying people! But as life goes on we learn that the solution is to be centred, accept ourselves and have compassion for others, but not to take on their rubbish. Appreciating your own life is the key to dealing with your own envy, I think. You are doing a great job, being successful as a writer and leading the way by sharing what you have learned and offering help and support to others. The envy- ers try to make you feel ashamed of your accomplishments, but you have nothing to be ashamed of. Keep up the good work, safe in the knowledge that it is appreciated. 💕💕

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you Julie for your kind words. I think all of us experience envy at some time, especially writers as we compare ourselves – never a good thing 😉. I hope I don’t put anyone down if I feel the little green monster paying a visit. Thanks for the reminder that we can experience both sides.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Lovely post, Deborah, and most thought-provoking. I’m sorry to hear about your experience in that workshop. How disappointing that the facilitator didn’t take a moment to explore that comment, as though oblivious to how something like that might have impacted on you. A phrase I came across recently but which has become my mantra recently is ‘comparison is the thief of joy’ and it really is. That works both ways, whether the person envying others or being envied by others. Somebody else’s success (or perceived success) does not define us and it’s such a shame people can’t be more supportive of others instead of lashing out at them. After all, they have no idea what journey that ‘successful’ person has been on or what is going on behind the scenes. Keep being you as you’re fabulous xx

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I think I can handle resentment from strangers. But when it comes from friends it’s sad. I had to let go of people in my life because their negativity was dragging me back down to where they preferred me to be; stuck and in need! My true friends have encouraged me and celebrated my achievements, even the simpler things like marriage, family, moving house. We build each other up.
    It’s true that we are better surrounding ourselves with the people who love and support us.
    Wonderful and meaningful post, Deborah.

    Liked by 1 person

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