Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it.
Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe 1749-1832
These words were written by an incredibly motivated man who seemed to re-invent himself throughout his life. Goethe, who studied law when young, was best known as a German poet, playwright and novelist. He seemed to have endless capacity to embrace newness, discovering the human intermaxillary bone whilst lecturing in anatomy for example and going on to study geology and botany amongst other sciences, whilst also producing plays, operettas and melodramas. When I am feeling stuck in my own life, frustrated by a lack of progress or accomplishment, then I often find energy in Goethe’s passion for living and have found that taking action of some sort, however simple, can really help to shift my energy into a better space.
As a therapist, I share this sentiment with many clients because I have evidence of it working for me! So if you are reading this, drawn in by the title and wondering what this article is about, then this information may appeal to you if you ever experience any of the following:
“Some days……I don’t know why, but I just can’t seem to get going”
“I feel heavy, down and slow sometimes and I can’t be bothered to do much”
“Good things always seem to happen to other people and not to me…”
“With new things I tend to think……I couldn’t do that…….I’m not that smart or clever or able….”
These thoughts come from minds that seem to lack motivation and self-belief.
In my professional and personal experience, I have come to the realisation that even the most successful amongst us, can struggle at times and feel demotivated. It seems to be part of the human condition to have “good and bad” days, the main problem being that neither are very predictable! An even greater problem is that on “bad” days people will typically cut out many activities that bring energy into their bodies and minds, so trapping themselves in the negative bubble they may have awoken with. The consequence of this, is that by the end of the day the person will probably feel even worse?! Maybe they will also be holding a few regrets. These negative mood states can drive us as people to do things that we wouldn’t on “good” days when we are feeling more in control. They influence us to:
EAT FOR DISTRACTION OR COMFORT……..SMOKE OR SMOKE MORE THAN NORMAL….. THINK INCREASNGLY NEGATIVE THOUGHTS………THINK YOURSELF OUT OF DOING SOMETHING YOU WERE PLANNING………SAY NO TO AN INVITATION……..CANCEL AN ARRANGEMENT………..GAMBLE AND MAYBE CHASE LOSSES AFTER LOSING…….DRINK OR DRINK MORE THAN NORMAL………TAKE MORE RISKS WITH DRUGS……HAVE SEX WITH A STRANGER……..SLEEP WITH SOMEONE FOR THE WRONG REASONS………
….and then feel “really bad” the next day when you wake up and remember…
Maybe this is resonating with you, the reader, a little? If so, it might be reassuring to know that many people respond to the mysterious ups and downs of life in this way, feeling sad and regretful with a sense of having let themselves down afterwards.
My aim in writing this article is to suggest that perhaps you accept that life is always going to be full of ups and downs and that it’s very important for YOU to know how YOU typically respond. If you are someone who tends to let go of the “good” when you are having a “bad day,” then perhaps the words of Goethe may be the fillip you need – “Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it…Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.”
Whatever you do when you are feeling “bad” is much better than doing “nothing.” On a “bad” day when we take action, however simple, we are opening our bodies and minds to potential energy that can shift a mood state, distract us and increase positive outlook. Therapy can help you learn to monitor yourself and tune in to the ways you tend to respond to life events so that you can increase the control you have over your personal “good and bad” days. On “bad” days we can feel a loss of connection with ourselves and I believe through taking action of some form we are able to find ourselves again and become re-energised.