When Everything Turns to Crud

It went on for months. My streak of nothing going right, that is. If I touched it—didn’t matter what “it” was—things went wrong.

My mood darkened as the list of disappointments grew. Before long, I came to believe I deserved the misfortunes. Hello, downward spiral into a doom and gloom pity party.

Mom and I were hanging out one day when a little something went sideways. I lost it. A full-grown adult throwing a full-blown temper tantrum. The horrified look on my mom’s face and her helpless spluttering catapulted me into some weird dimension where I saw and heard myself in ugly action. I didn’t like what I saw or heard. The downward spiral had to stop.

Thoroughly embarrassed and horrified as well, I apologized to Mom and sought solace playing in the dirt. That’s how I describe tending my plants. As I pruned and weeded, I began reflecting on what had occurred and how I had reacted over the last several months. I needed to know where I lost the light and my smile.

My introspection continued over the next few weeks as I picked my way through thoughts, feelings, and actions. That was slow, mucky work. While I knew it was both a growth experience and a necessary exercise, studying myself wasn’t exactly pleasant. Probably because what I was discovering wasn’t flattering. I’d let my world get very small, room for only me:

  • My empathy had evaporated.
  • My vision of the world had narrowed.
  • My willingness to see the big picture had disappeared.
  • My hope had been replaced with despair.
  • My openness to both/and thinking had vanished.
  • I saw and expected the worst of people, things, and places.

If I’d met myself for the first time during my downward spiral, I wouldn’t have liked myself very much. I’d become a walking case of confirmation bias—I expected the worst and that’s what I got.

Of course, a series of things had gone wrong or not turned out in my favor. But, really, that’s life, isn’t it? When does everything go our way?

In retrospect, things really weren’t that bad. I spent those dark months ignoring everything right about my life.

My walk down introspection lane was uncomfortable and at times distressing, but I’m glad I did it. Being back in the light feels good, and I’m armed to stave off any future personal pity parties.

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