That Good Ish.
If you’ve ever stepped in dog shit and discovered it because of the smell wafting up to greet your nostrils while sitting in class, your car, dinner, then you know it’s hard not to notice and think about the bottoms of your shoes. But do you ever think about your shoes when there isn’t shit on them?
There are so many “good vibes only” sentiments on social media accounts, posts, blogs, neon signs, that I can’t even good vibes anything without feeling like a cliche, BUT I did start a gratitude journal. I started it 5 days ago and quit 2 days ago. It’s not that I am not grateful, but it felt like a chore and idk how many times you’re allowed to be grateful for coffee in one day but I was pushing it. So, just to be clear, this is not a good vibes only post. My only goal here, or purpose, is to adjust the bar.
What bar? The expectations bar, how to notice that Good Ish—that “Good Shit” bar. We need to shift it. Or at least notice it.
I’ve been listening to Russell Brand’s book “Recovery: Freedom from our Addictions” on Audible (I have to rewind a lot because I get caught up in his accent, but it’s a great take on addiction and the 12-steps). I scrolled by a post from a pal that was reading it and I like her so I looked it up, and this is what caught my attention:
"This manual for self-realization comes not from a mountain but from the mud.... My qualification is not that I am better than you but I am worse." (Russell Brand)
Mud. Being worse. I know that shit. Refreshing AF to read those words. I know the mud and I also know the self-doubt of being a shithead but also feeling fraudulent for needing to appear put together for societal standards and you know, to hold down a job. But to just say, “hey, I kinda suck and that makes me the perfect person to tell you how to not suck” was just what I needed. I clicked, downloaded, and dove in.
Something Russell says in the book that resonated and I wonder all the time is “why do we think we deserve to be happy all the time?” And really, why? As a rule we notice things that go against the norm, that violate what we expect in that given circumstance. So, really awesome and really shitty are what we have. But when we are quiet and sit, for most people, the shitty stuff is what creeps in. There are like 2.5 days a year when you’re on cloud 9 and everything is all sunshine and sparkles when left to your own devices. But here’s the thing, we set our norms. It’s just an idea, a concept, inside our brains that we made (with the help of everything around us to form them) and WE CAN CHANGE THEM. That felt good.
Yes, you can rewire your brain to lower the damn bar, to sit your ass down and be like “ok self, let’s be real about baseline.” Baseline? Alive, safe, fed, basically google Maslow’s Hierarchy and everything on the bottom of the triangle is baseline. If those are being met? If you peep your eyes open in the morning? Shout out a holler, cuz damn, you made it to another day. You get more than that? Double Holla. Maybe even a Holla back. You will never have to say “I guess it was ok, nothing bad happened” to someone asking how your day was. You won’t have to guess, you will know. Today was a good day.
Is lowering the bar lowering your standards? Nope. It’s just increasing your chances of noticing good stuff. By having realistic expectations, you greatly increase your success rate. You do the same things, the same things happen, you might even step in a pile of poo, but you will feel completely different. It’s hard, but it’s simple.
Where is my bar at? 2019 has been a real kick in the pants. If you need me, I’ll be over here playing limbo with my bar. Nothing but up from here.