“Today I shall behave as if this is the day I will be remembered.”
Once again, Dr. Seuss reminds us of the finite nature of life with a powerful punch in the face.
If I’m being honest, only about a third of my week am I kicking ass. And that doesn’t factor in the weeks when I feel like I’m as useless as a screen door on a submarine.
On days like this morning, when I’m doing dishes and get pissed off that my wife left a tea bag in her mug, again, it has clearly slipped my mind that this could be the behavior I’m remembered for.
What a pathetic thing to be remembered for.
What the hell kind of energy am I putting into the world on a day like today?
I get it; we’re all entitled to feeling off, less than, and not at our best. But that’s sure as heck not an excuse to make other people miserable. My actions have consequences, and it’s on me to bring myself back into alignment.
These moments require me to pop my tiny pity party bubble, recognize that my wife isn’t really the problem, and own that I’m feeling off. Awareness isn’t about feeling guilt and shame; it’s about being present in your actions. It doesn’t mean I have to love it, but it is what it is.
If I can bring myself back into awareness, I have already overcome the biggest obstacle to making a change: recognizing that something is happening. I can stop projecting my emotions onto loved ones and complete strangers. By taking compassionate action, I can prevent today from turning into a dumpster fire.
The compassionate part is critical here. I’m mindful that I need to be conscious of where I am (not where I wish I was).
A great starting point is simply asking yourself, “What is the greatest expression of yourself that you can be today?”
There are many days when my greatest expression is simply being kind to others. That’s all I have in my tank. And even that can feel like a struggle when my daughter wakes up at 5 a.m., and I know I have three or four coaching calls that require immense mental energy.
So on those days, I have to ask myself: What are two behaviors I want to be conscious of today?
I’m clearly agitated if I’m fidgety, anxious, and snapping at others. That’s one behavior that never leads to me being kind. The other behavior I remain conscious of is frustration because that’s a telltale sign I’m moving into a state of feeling overwhelmed, which almost always manifests as anger for me (if I don’t catch it).
This isn’t a magic solution, but if it saves you from turning a bad day into a disaster of a day that ripples into your entire week, isn’t that pretty darn enchanting?
By identifying two behaviors I can remain conscious of, I can remember how to think when faced with challenges. This gives me an anchor to come back to.
Doing this makes us less likely to slip into unconscious patterns when challenged by certain circumstances.
The key is to rehearse the change you want to make before it happens. It’s not a question of if you will be pushed to your wit’s end; it’s a matter of when and how you will deal with these emotions.
How do you want to show up for other people today?
Make a commitment to embody kindness, gratitude, love, and appreciation—even if your own version of a teabag sets you off for a bit. Just recognize what happened, forgive yourself, and come back to your intention.
All of life is practice.
I want to bring up these emotional states even when every ounce of my body wants to let out a blood-curdling scream.
This is all part of the challenge, right?
And at the end of the day, you’re going to ask yourself, “How did I do?”
When did you go unconscious?
Tomorrow morning is a new day to try again.
Today I shall behave as if this is the day I will be remembered.
It’s the practice and repetition that causes the change.
You got this.