Do you ever wish you had a rewind button? Do you ever wish you could simply go back to the beginning of your day, to the moment you first opened your eyes, and start over? In the absence of a magical button, I recently faced this dilemma and I realized something: wishing only makes it harder.
Last week I had one of those mornings. Mondays are notoriously hard, but Sunday night I felt prepared to start my week and fell asleep without any concerns. Suddenly, my alarm clock was going off all too soon! I barely remembered silencing it before I fell back asleep, only to have hear my husband’s alarm go off a short time later. Already I was running late.
As I pulled myself out of bed, I went through the routine of my morning in my head and silently cursed myself for oversleeping. It was going to cost me. I was not going to have enough time to do everything I needed to do. Or was I? I tried to pick up the pace but eventually found myself standing in the living room immobilized. I was dressed for my morning workout, but it dawned on me that I didn’t have the time nor the focus to workout at that point given how much I was fretting. In that moment, I felt a wave of regret.
My morning workout is what really wakes me up. It’s the source of my energy that fuels me and rockets me through the day, at least until lunchtime. It’s what gives me the endorphin boost I need to keep moving. Not having the time to workout immediately put me in a sour mood. I thought about how the morning and possibly the rest of the day was shot. I immediately wished I could start over, and the fact that I couldn’t made me feel frustrated and trapped and then angry.
While anger may be helpful in some situations, it was not helpful to me in that moment as I locked myself in a pessimistic mindset. It started to overflow into my attitude towards my husband and the day’s outlook as my irritation escalated. I didn’t want to feel angry at the very start of my day and my week, especially over something so ludicrous! So why be angry then? I asked myself that question, and then I decided to let go.
Rather than holding on to my irritation at myself and at the day for already not turning out the way I had planned, I decided to let go and give myself a break. Rather than being angry, I decided to take it easy on myself and take my time through the rest of the day. There were no lives at stake. There was no reason to foster such negative thoughts and emotions. So I just let it go. I stopped making such a big deal out of it, and in that moment, I felt free and relaxed.
Yes, I still wished that my morning had gone more smoothly, but turning my thoughts around towards positive acceptance set the tone for the rest of my day. At work, my team meeting started with friction and a misunderstanding, but again I decided not to let the frustration and the wish that I had conducted the situation differently affect my overall attitude and the rest of my day. I made note of the experience, what I’d do differently next time, and then moved forward. After all, that’s the only direction we can go. We might as well go with intention.
When things aren’t going our way, we can wallow in pity and frustration that there is no magical rewind button, or we can accept the situation and move consciously though it, perhaps even learning something along the way or resolving a way to avoid similar situations in the future. We can sink into the negativity and let it define us, or we can recognize it, see it for what it is, and just roll our eyes at the setback as we move on. Accepting and even embracing a rough start to the day or a rough day as a whole is the best way for us to take control and move on with our lives in the most positive way.