Is there something you really dread doing that you end up doing anyway? Is there a task or activity that puts you in a bad mood and turns you into the person no one wants to be around? You're not alone.
I just returned from California a few weeks ago, and I'm already itching to go back soon. However, the one thing that wasn't exactly my favorite part of the trip was our two-hour bike ride across the Golden Gate Bridge.
Before we go any further, you should know that I really don't like bikes. I find them uncomfortable and far too much effort. I know, I know, I'm a weirdo. Even typing out those words sounds so silly seeing that I'm the queen of too much effort, and I spend 90 minutes in hot yoga classes, which most people would say are very uncomfortable. It confuses me too, my friend!
But I've tried, and I can't force myself to enjoy cycling. Might as well be honest about it, right?
After spending a few days in Carmel, my husband and I drove to San Francisco to explore the city. As an avid cyclist, top on my husband's list was riding bikes across the Golden Gate Bridge into gorgeous Sausalito.
About an hour before we were scheduled to rent the bikes, I told my husband that I didn't want to do it. I explained that I didn't have the right clothes and that it was really the last thing I wanted to do with the short amount of time we had there. I suggested that I drive across the bridge and meet him in Sausalito instead, but he didn't look impressed.
He was annoyed with me (rightly so) seeing that we had talked about doing this for months, and he had given me more than a few "outs" over the course of that time knowing my aversion to bikes.
As we discussed it outside of our Union Square hotel, he said he didn't want to spend the whole day without me and reminded me that it really would be a once-in-a-lifetime experience. He also told me he "knew I could do it" -- a phrase that I always find a little demeaning, but I knew he meant well.
So I agreed to go for him in my very tight and uncomfortable skinny jeans, new expensive Anthropologie poncho sweater, flip flops and a forced smile.
I'd love to tell you that the ride ended up being worth it, but due to my attitude, it wasn't fun.
As we peddled along the Bay and towards the bridge, I brought up the rear and had no intention of going faster than necessary. I sulked and made the whole experience much more difficult than it needed to be. Although the views were amazing and the ride was once-in-a-lifetime, I couldn't shake the feeling of negativity and wished I could be doing something else with that time.
Needless to say, I definitely was not living in the moment or practicing what I preach when it comes to positivity, and I couldn't seem to shake it.
So what does this have to do with you? Well, when we were on our bike ride (i.e. the longest two hours of my life) I found myself thinking of you, and wondering whether there's anything you dread or don't enjoy in your own life.
If you're anything like me, the issue with these situations is that it's tricky to put that positive spin on it or find solace in the fact that you're meant to be learning something when you feel so crappy. Rationally, you know that it's pointless to spend time and energy being upset, but sometimes, in that moment, it's difficult not to just want to sulk about it. And then, of course, you end up regretting the way you behaved or felt later on.
So let me ask, are you going through the motions for someone else or because you have to? Are you checked out and just pedaling around without really considering your actions? Are you only seeing the negative? Are you given "outs" that you decide not to take only to end up regretting it later on? Are you often a version of yourself that you don't really like?
If so, here are six questions to ask yourself when you're stuck in a less than ideal situation. I know it may be difficult, but try to give them a whirl in the moment.
- How is your attitude making the situation worse for you? What about for others?
- What positives can you find in what you're experiencing?
- Is life trying to teach you something?
- Is this temporary or once-in-a-lifetime? (If so, try to enjoy it. And if not, maybe you need to make a change.)
- Is there a deeper reason why you're not enjoying the experience?
- Is this something you should have declined in the first place? (If so, say "No" next time!)
So the next time you find yourself feeling grumpy, negative or being a party pooper, ask yourself those questions and work on being present, more positive or learning from the experience instead.
And remember, just like getting that once-in-a-lifetime view, there's always a bright side if you allow yourself to see it.