Living Above And Below The Line

When we are experiencing feelings of frustration, fear, anger, rage, resentment, sadness, hopelessness it can be difficult to move directly to being happy or feeling joyful.
Our friends and family try to console us by saying any of the following:
“Chin up. It’ll be okay.”
“There will be a better day.”
“Just focus on smiling.”
“You should be over it by now.”
“You must be pleased (insert your problem) is over.”
“You just need to move on.”
“Just get over it and live your life.”
“Let it go.”

These statements make us feel more isolated as they demonstrate others’ misunderstanding. This deepens our thoughts below the line. Many people make these statements because they think they are helping and sometimes they can, if you are ready to hear them. They are subtly asking you to move from frustration, fear, anger, rage, resentment, sadness, hopelessness directly to happiness and joy.

This is a near impossible act unless you have trained to do just that.

Our brains are a complex structure consisting of layers of memories and feelings. When we are feeling negative the layers of feelings below the line come to the fore. So when something like anger pops up, all the anger pathways spring into action and you automatically go to the behaviour you have spent years developing, staying angry, being frustrated, feeling sad, resentful, disappointed etc. Then, going from below the line to above the line seems like an impossible task.

It’s not a life sentence to live like this. There is hope.

The miraculous piece of equipment we have at our disposal everyday, the one that we use to better enjoy our lives and live above the line is not our phone. It’s our brain. That’s the good news.

Now, your brain probably just said to you, “Okay, what’s the bad news?,” or something similar. In fact, I don’t have bad news for you. But I do have useful information.

You can retrain your brain to develop new pathways to help you move up above the line when you are feeling frustration, fear, anger, rage, resentment, sadness or hopelessness. Unlike your friends and family, I am not going to suggest you go straight to happiness and joy as I know how difficult this task can be.

I am going to suggest you start to practice the little things each day that make you feel better and allow you to manage your feelings. I am suggesting that you aim for manage and or hope to get you above the line in the first instance. When we are managing or experiencing hope, ie coping, challenges become more palatable and we begin to feel like there is a solution on the horizon and that, “There will be a better day.”

The fastest way to create change in your life is to take small steps consistently, integrate your chosen change into your life as an everyday activity. Grand gestures and massive actions tend to be short lived and put us back into a loop of failure and disappointment.

Keep smiling and good luck.

– Sue


Leave a Reply