Storytime. The other day, some friends and I made some grand plans to take dinner to another friend who is going through a challenging time. I was to make dinner, one was to bring dessert, and the other was to bring a plant. We met up and agreed that I would take everything to our friend later that day. The dessert was a beautiful homemade peach pie. The plant was actually 3 little plants in a bronze planter. Both lovely. Both perfect.
As I was driving home, someone pulled out in front of me while driving down the hill. I had to slam hard on my breaks to avoid hitting this car. I looked down and the plant had fallen over and all the dirt had spilled out. It was ALL over my car….and it was all over the pie.
For your entertainment purposes, I will tell you that I pulled over on the freeway and, in vain, tried to take the dirt off of the pie. In my head, I knew there was no way the dirt was coming off as it was now nestled into the peachy goodness, but I felt that I HAD to make it go back to the way it was. No such luck. When I pulled into my driveway, I did the same. Again, in my head, I commented to myself how foolish I must be to still be trying to get dirt off of this pie instead of just realizing that the beautiful peach pie was no more. It was a dirty pie. Never to be the same again.
I started to say things in my head like, “this is a bad day!” and “if only I had put the pie and the plant in different places in the car.” I determined that it must be a bad day and began looking for other ways that it was, indeed, a bad day.
Ironically, my husband called my from work to tell me good news. But, it is a bad day! Good news on a bad day?
Funny how our brain works and creates, in a sense, mountains out of molehills. This is our chance for cognitive therapy. Change the message. Change the message. Change it over and over. The reality was, I had a bad moment. And, days are full of bad moments sometimes. However, the day also had plenty of moments. The brain tends to latch on to those negative moments and if this is what we practice, we will only see these bad moments. If we practice seeing the bad moments for what they are: simply bad moments, we can also see good moments as well. And usually each day has some good moments, some bad moments, and just some moments that are neither good nor bad.
If you are finding yourself having too many bad days, challenge yourself to identify moments: good, bad, and in between, and to focus on them as just moments. If it doesn’t happen right away, know that you are actually in the process of changing your brain and practice will get you some good results. When I finally realized that the dirty pie was just a moment, and that moment passed, I was able to recognize some very good moments of my day and it really wasn’t a bad day at all.