Simultaneous Ups And Downs In Our Lives

After one of our recent college visits, a student came up to share something intense that’d been going on in his life where he was looking for clarity. We spoke for 15 min, & that night I got a very rewarding text saying he was feeling “so much better.”


2 days later he texted me to tell me he was back to “not feeling great.” Something else, beyond what we’d spoken abt was still bothering him. He opened up abt it,  it was now clouding his ability to feel happy overall, clouding all the other things that WERE going “well.”


The convo brought the idea of a graphic like this one to mind. As humans we put things into buckets so we can better understand them & form opinions & even measure our feelings. Buckets include things like: our love relationships, fam, friends, job/career, health. Even w/in those buckets there are maaaany sub-buckets. Eg., under fam you have your parents, kids, siblings, in-laws, etc. Life is layered. It’s not simple. We try to make it so.


If you look at this chart, a very over-simplified view of our buckets, there are some bars/parts of our life that are up, some that are down. Maybe every so often the perfect storm happens & in all of the major buckets, our bars are high. But for most of us, most of the time, our charts look like this. Maybe we just got a great job but we had a tiff w a fam member. Maybe we just met a new & exciting love interest but we had a falling out w a close friend.


We’d all love for all the bars on our charts to all be up high. Unfortunately that’s rarely the case. So, we have 2 choices for how we can interpret them, both of which affect our emotional health: 1) some things are good, some aren’t, & until I’m able to feel “in a good place” abt most everything, it’s hard to be happy, or 2) some things are good, some aren’t – but I’m gonna appreciate what is good, accept what isn’t right now, & not let those things that are down, cloud my view on all the aspects of my life.


I wish “the perfect storm” happened more often. But the human condition looks more like this. Let’s work to appreciate the “highs” we do have.

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