“For the most sensitive among us the noise can be too much.”
I remember well when Phillip Seymour Hoffman died and Jim Carrey’s tweet swept around the world shooting arrows into people’s hearts. Mine was pierced. How could a succinct tweet of all things provide the lens through which I could finally understand my own psyche on a deeper level?
Yes. Yes. I’m not sure if I said this aloud as I read and re-read the tweet, but I certainly did in my head as my face grew warm and my shoulders dropped in relief like they do when you realize someone understands you.
Not many people like to be considered sensitive because more often than not, it carries a negative connotation. How many times have I heard people say to others, Don’t be so sensitive; lighten up.
The truth is, I am sensitive — to a lot of things.
Other people’s suffering /anger /
Injustice and cruelty
I am most sensitive to negativity.
In my daydreams I can be surrounded by pessimism and it bounces off me. I remain positive and upbeat and encourage others to see the bright side of things. In reality, when I’m surrounded by negativity and gloom — be it in people, the news, my Facebook feed, etc. — I absorb it like a sponge and sink, too sapped to fight. I end up sitting in that pool of pessimism, cursing and throwing rocks along with the haters.
Reading good books, time alone, church, and being around a few special people – virtually or in real life – are my buoys that lift me back up. I’m working toward giving up those things I clung to at the bottom for so long, thinking they were helping but were, in reality, keeping me weighed down. (Mom and I were discussing this recently which got me thinking about what I can do to change things.)
My friend Kim is a joy and gratitude junkie. She reads all the good books, shares what she gleans, and has been so encouraging to me even when I feel I’ve left her speechless at times. I’m not an overly sentimental person so I’ve been a little leery of the joy journal/gratitude journal thing. I know I’m thankful for everything everyone else is thankful for, so I envisioned my gratitude journal entries would be something like:
I’m rich by most of the world’s standards, and I’m thankful for everything I have.
I was looking too broadly at the challenge, and I figured out that if the battle for control over my thoughts happens daily at the micro level, then my points of gratitude and joy need to be on a micro level as well.
What little things brought me joy today? What small thing am I grateful for?
A few nights ago I visited a blog that I have followed intermittently for the past sixteen years or so, and was delighted to see what the writer calls her “joy grid.” I like it. A lot. And because I haven’t a creative bone in my brain, and I happened to have a bullet journal, I decided to clone her format. Over time I’ll tap into my own idea and not feel like a hack (I hope).
I often hear It’s the little things that bring us joy and laughter and deep gratitude to our days, so those are the things I chose to write down. I aim to write a few things down every day and post the page/s here once a week.
I suppose my objective is to have a record to come back to when I’m swatting away feelings of despair, when I feel depression trying to creep its way back to me. It’s a bad day, not a bad life, I frequently remind those close to me. This is a way for me to remind myself of that.