“A perfect day doesn’t exist” Murphy called it.
Tell me about a perfect day that you’ve had recently. A day that you woke up without worrying that you’d miss the bus to get to work; a day that you didn’t need to struggle when thinking about what to get for lunch; a day you didn’t need to dread going into one meeting after the next. Rack your brains, think long and hard as you may, but this day doesn’t exist. It may never.
It is ordinary to have ordinary days, but it does not mean that the extraordinary cannot exist among the mediocre or the chaotic ones. Just like Murphy’s Law states, everything that can go wrong will go wrong, and life is as such, made up of the good and the bad. In Baek Sehee’s trending therapy memoir, I Want to Die but I Want to Eat Tteokpokki, she writes:
Light and darkness are part of the same thing. Happiness and unhappiness alternate throughout life, as in a dance. So long as I keep going and don’t give up, surely I will keep having moments of tears and laughter.
When negativity hits us like a train-wreck, our initial reaction may not always be the most forthcoming. It is natural to feel the urge to retaliate, it is the body’s natural fight or flight response and defense mechanism to protect oneself from hurt.
Beliefs like ‘the future are not going to be better, ‘the world is a harsh place, and ‘no one cares about me’ result in bursts of negative emotions. Instead of responding negatively, what if we looked at things from a different lens, from a more constructive perspective?
UNDERSTANDING NEGATIVE EMOTIONS & BELIEFS
You finally reach the office, drenched in sweat from running after missing a bus. All you want is to sit down and sip on an iced coffee, but your supervisor comes in at that moment and calls you in for a meeting. He rejects your proposed idea and you feel disappointed at yourself and wonder if you are not good enough for the job.
You are in the downward spiral of your negative thoughts: “I am going to be a failure, I am not worthy of this job.
But instead of letting the morning ruin the rest of your day, there is a way to turn things around.
Get to know the ABC Model
This model is used in cognitive behavioral therapy to help us gain awareness of our negative thoughts and feelings and then reshape them in a more positive way. Created by psychologist and researcher Dr. Albert Ellis, the letters refer to the different parts of the model that are linked in order.
We usually think that the Activating Event (A) will trigger our Consequent Emotions & Actions (C). However; it is actually the underlying Belief (B) of the situation that causes our response. It is Negative Beliefs that make you feel and behave poorly.
REFRAMING OUR NEGATIVE, LIMITING BELIEFS
Here are two types of beliefs you might experience, and how you can better manage them.
When we encounter a difficult task or an unpleasant situation, very often, we would find a source of blame and ask why this happened. In the case above, when feeling dejected that your ideas were not exemplified, you may push the blame to your supervisor and accuse him of favoriting other colleagues.
We tend to search for reasons to attribute the cause of the problems and sometimes, this may result in unhealthy associations.
A WHY Belief is how we explain things to ourselves when an event happens. The explanations we give make us feel and act in a certain way.
It is actually normal to feel sad or to think that “You are not good enough” whenever you face defeat.
However; if you keep thinking to yourself that “YOU are ALWAYS not good enough, in EVERYTHING that YOU do?” Then here’s how to reframe your Why Beliefs!
Give it a try to make it less permanent and less pervasive in your negative beliefs. You do NOT ALWAYS get rejected in every idea right?
“A WHAT-NEXT Belief is when we predict what will happen next after an event has happened.”
Firstly, let’s think of the best case scenario. With that picture in our minds, spend 5 minutes thinking about what can be the likely case scenario–the middle ground between the worst case scenario and the best case scenario.
Discuss with your friends or reflect by yourself on the positive and negative feelings that can result from the likely case scenario. So what if your idea gets rejected today, does not mean tomorrow you cannot fix and improve on it right?
This allows us to shift our What-Next Belief from Worst Case Scenario to Likely Case Scenario.
These are one of the practices to help you overcome your What-Next beliefs, change your mindset and be better every day. There are more tools that can equip you with skills to help you improve your daily well-being.
OUR NEGATIVE BELIEFS ARE NOT PERMANENT
We can start to distance ourselves from the problem and see things in the bigger picture. It is okay to ask why, but understanding that the problem is just a cog in a larger system would help an individual grow and thus develop a healthy growth mindset.
SUGGESTED TOOLS and PROGRAMME TO IMPROVE YOUR WELL-BEING
Let’s Unpack This card game / Well-being Journal / Well-being Circle Programme
Take charge of your day better. When you take time to reflect on how your day went, you are now equipped with the skills to tackle your own emotions, but do it at your own pace. Being aware that you can reframe your negative beliefs into positive ones when you ask yourself why and question your beliefs, you know that what comes next is not that terrible after all.