Despite feeling that I’m overall in a better place than I was some years ago, despite feeling love from new sources in my life, there are times when I can’t shake feelings of fear and regret. I work hard to move towards making a better life for myself but when I feel so close to finally reaching that essential next step only to hit a bump and fall two steps behind, I feel lower than I possibly ever could. I do my best to shrug it off, put my chin up again, and keep going, but some days, it feels worse than others. I find myself doing what I should not do when feeling defeated, which is look back and think about what should have been. I should have gotten that job two years ago, I should have been able to move out back then and be the fierce and fully independent woman I should be. I’m somebody who tries to see positives in everything, but I’m also somebody who needs to see things happen in order to believe them. If I’m accustomed to facing the same results, then generally, I’m just going to assume the same thing will happen yet hang on to a glimmer of hope that something will change for the better. It’s a terrible attitude to have, but I fear that hoping too much for something good – only to be let down anyway – will hurt even more.
Last week was full of these awful days of feeling abysmal. Then one night after wiping away the last of my tears and doing my final Facebook news feed check, I came across this link on Huffington Post Women’s Facebook page: What to Do When You’re Feeling Defeated. It was as if little tiny creepy robot dudes in my iPhone had been spying on me and knew to present me with this to-do list. So I clicked, hoping to find some actionable and comforting advice from an Internet article.
Item number 2 particularly stuck out at me:
2. Celebrate Your Superpowers
What you’re feeling: You’ve accomplished zip. Everybody is out there becoming rich, famous, married, powerful. But not you, sister.
What to do about it: Check out Chino Otsuka’s images of her adult self Photoshopped into childhood photos. Then ask yourself: What would the 6-year-old you say about your current life? She’d probably think you are amazing, if only because you have a little fountain-soda-like device on your fridge door that shoots water and crushed ice right into your glass. Not to mention: You can bring home a puppy or kitten whenever you feel like it (including now).
As I drifted off to sleep that night, I began to feel slightly more at peace as the 1994 version of me resurfaced and spoke to my 2014 conscience. She was curious, inquisitive, and was so full of that innocence, wonder, and hope that we cherish in our children. She made me realize that when 25-year-old me thinks that everything is crumbling down to emptiness, life in the present shouldn’t be spent dwelling on what I don’t have [yet]: instead, I should be thankful for and treasure the things I do have and am able to do as a fully functioning adult.
So I brought back six-year-old me to catch her up on what 25-year-old me has been doing. (Sadly, I’m not as creative and fluent in photography and Photoshop as Ms. Otsuka. Seriously, how cool is her project?!)
Sometimes you just have to reconnect with your inner child to gain perspective and clarity in your life, and to be hopeful again.