As the old adage goes, practice what you preach. Or, more aptly, practice what you earnestly suggest to others. Earlier this week I published a post promoting stress relief by listing out one’s problems and analyzing them one by one. Check it out if you haven’t read it yet. As fate would have it, some life situations arose to put me into a stressful mood of my own. It was the perfect time to personally test the words I had written.
The day seemed innocuous enough, just another day at the office with no particularly bad things occurring. Yet for some reason, I felt frustration growing throughout the day. By the time I arrived home, I was in an outright grouchy mood. It seemed so out of place. I have made significant strides in controlling anxiety and depression in the last few months since I began applying teachings I took from Brad Warner’s Hardcore Zen and Dale Carnegie’s How to Stop Worrying and Start Living, both of which have influenced this blog. Yet there I was, feeling as angry and resentful as I often did before I had resolved to make a change in life. This time I recognized it though, and decided I would take my own advice.
Before I did any journaling though, I had dinner. I needed to be sure I wasn’t hangry. Those “You’re not you when you’re hungry” Snickers commercials are more realistic than you’d think.
Blood Pressure-Raising Hate Bills
As you may have gathered from this blog or my Facebook page, I live in North Carolina. Unless you live under a rock or choose the serene existence of not paying attention to the news, the North Carolina legislature’s recent House Bill 2 has caused some controversy, to put it very lightly. I am a die-hard ally of the LGBT community, and this legislation made me feel very disappointed in my state and downhearted for my gay and trans friends. Irrational hate against trans people in comment sections only exacerbated this melancholy. Attempts to contact my local representatives remain unanswered. The Republicans in the legislature remain steadfast in their dedication to leave the bill in place, despite business threats and economic consequences. The whole thing makes one feel powerless and distressed for the future.
Then upon analysis, I decided nothing will be accomplished by bemoaning the situation. I can do my part, even if I can’t singlehandedly eradicate the hate machine in the legislature. I must continue to show love and compassion towards LGBT people, and hopefully set an example for those around me to follow. I must continue to attempt contacting my representatives. This is simple civil engagement after all. I will support businesses that oppose the law and avoid spending any of my money at businesses that support it. There’s enough darkness in the world, one must resolve to be a light. Nothing is solved by complaining. Situations are changed by action.
Web Developers, Web Developers Everywhere
As you may also have observed, I am employed as a web developer. I’m quite lucky to have a full time position in the field, since I am self taught in HTML and CSS and have only been in the field for just over a year. One must work for three to five years to rise above the status of “Entry Level.” I do the occasional freelance project on the side, but those are tough to come by. The web design field is incredibly competitive. This frustration was brought to the surface when I browsed a local classifieds Facebook group and saw a post requesting a quote to construct a local company’s web page. Despite only being posted a half hour prior, several agencies had already responded, people with years more experience and heftier portfolios and I. The frustration snowball grew.
When I journaled about it though, I decided that the competitiveness of the field does not reflect poorly on me. Even the very best like no one ever was was a beginner once. The best thing I can do is to continue to develop my skills, as well as learn new ones. I self taught myself the skills I used to get my job, and I can learn new ones to continue enhancing my status. Again, nothing is solved by complaining. Situations are changed by action.
Perils of Posting
To paraphrase Yahtzee of Zero Punctuation, creating content on the internet is like writing a message in a bottle then throwing it into a sea of bottles. This project is about two and a half months old at this point, with just over twenty posts. I’m working to build an audience, but that doesn’t happen overnight. In my already-irritable mood, I saw a Facebook post from a friend announcing she was accepted as a featured guest at a major con. I was of course happy for her, but there was also a seed of envy. That seed received a hefty serving of growth hormone later that day when I watched a video by prominent Pokemon YouTuber JWittz, announcing he had accepted a job at Twitch, something his prominence in the fandom certainly helped with. He deserves it of course, his content is great, but once again I felt envious. The green-eyed monster received one meal after another.
Once again though, just like with my qualms about my web development profession, I realized the success of others does not reflect poorly on me or this project. Those prominent content creators did not get to where they are in one day. I hope that one day this site can gain some prominence, so my mission of motivation can reach more people. It will require both hard work honing my craft and innovative promotion. There are things like cross promotion and guest posts to try, as well as smart use of social media. Nothing is solved by complaining. Situations are changed by action.
The Single Most Annoying Thing
And now we come to perhaps the most petty segment of my grumpy mood that day. I may make a post about this some day, but, I have struggled for a long time with relationship and codependency issues. There’s no need to go too deep into it now, but one of the catalysts for my renewed mission of self improvement (which includes this website) was the end of a toxic relationship that I feel I ‘lost’ myself in. I feel like I have made much success in building self confidence by my own life and hobbies, but yearning for companionship and resentment of being single still crops up now and then. This feeling was inflamed on this particular moody day by seeing a post of a couple’s cosplay. Normally I find these things adorable and it makes me happy to see people sharing their hobby with a significant other, but in my grumpy snowball, it added more to the pile.
Now despite the repeated times I’ve declared problems must be solved with action, this isn’t quite something that can be addressed directly. There is no ‘simple’ solution. It’s more abstract and indirect: One must live a fulfilling life, not for the purpose of attracting others, but so that one does not need the approval and attention of others to be happy. Basically, live a life others will want to be a part of. For me, that means continuing to follow my hobbies, helping others, and ultimately developing myself as a person.
A stumble, not a fall.
Does one day of feeling resentful and self pitying mean I have failed in my quest for self improvement and fulfillment? Of course not. Even the happiest or most confident people in the world cannot always go at 100%. After eating dinner and listing out my grievances, analyzing them, and theorizing solutions; I immediately began to feel better. I felt empowered to take my problems head on, and I have been addressing them in the days since. I am taking action so my worries do not consume me, and I intend to continue advancing and evolving with each just, just like a drill.
If you read my previous post and were unsure about how to implement this technique in your own life, I hope this post can help show you how. Please contact me if you decide to try it out and let me know how it worked out for you. I kept the worry from consuming me that day, and I sincerely believe this method can help you do the same.